YouTube is a huge medium for engagement, and it’s one of the most popular sites on the entire Internet. When you are sharing your videos, you probably want as much engagement as possible. One way to do this is to timestamp YouTube segments, and you’ll see that engagement increase. Read on for all the why’s, how-to’s, do’s, and don’t’s.
What Does it Mean to Timestamp YouTube videos?
A timestamp on a YouTube video is a link that makes the video skimmable. A user can quickly find and click on the exact moment of content they want. People don’t have to wait for the video to run its whole course when there’s a timestamp. This article shares a great example:
A timestamp is a link to a part of a YouTube video. So rather than waiting for a complete video to run from zero seconds to the point you are referring to, this enables you to directly link to any second of the video. What’s more you can even reference in minutes and hours where necessary.
Lets for example say you wanted to know …”How to log into WordPress”. So you put this into Google search on your mobile device. A video is presented. It’s a 20 minute video that answers your problem along with tips and intro etc. But you spent 5 minutes searching through the video to just find the 3 second part of the video to answer your question! How much better it would have been, if the search results took you straight to that part of the video that gives you a clear answer. That’s where the timestamp link provides a much better user experience.
Think of another scenario. You are getting started or advancing in your yoga practice. You want to focus on handstands with your favorite instructor. You know there are some great videos that she has produced, but do you have the time or need to skim through them all? With a timestamp, you don’t have to. You can search and find the exact thing you need.
Let’s flip it around…let’s say you are that yoga instructor. When you timestamp your videos, your followers can find just what they’re looking for. They may be already following your practice, love your style, and want you to be the one teaching them handstand techniques. Instead of finding another video, they can stick with you and focus on just what they want. This is great for your engagement, your followers, and your channel.
Rev.com shares that timestamps can help improve the retention of viewers; they’ll stick with you rather than search elsewhere. By adding a timestamp, you can improve retention by directing users to the most relevant portion of your video from the outset. It also maintains attention, especially in longer videos.
How to Timestamp YouTube Videos
Now that you know why you should timestamp YouTube videos, let’s talk about how to timestamp them. Remember, a timestamp is going to link a specific moment in your video so your audience can find it quickly.
Rev.com tells us there are three main ways that you can timestamp YouTube videos.
The first way is to manually append to a URL. Add the timestamp code to the end of your video URL for a specific video time. For YouTube URLs that already have a question mark, you need to use &t= to indicate the timestamp. For URLs that do not include a question mark, you need to add that question mark in and use ?t= to indicate the timestamp. In this way, you can specify certain time segments, like seconds, minutes, or hours.
Another way is with the YouTube share feature. You’ll use YouTube’s embedded share tool here. Once you pinpoint the exact spot you want to stamp, stop the video and click the share icon. When you click the “start at“ box in the pop-up, you can adjust the time if you want. Next, just copy the new URL or share the timestamped video to wherever you want it to go.
The third method is to edit the video description. Here, you are going to write your timestamps in the description of the video. You’ll simply write the precise time into your description, maybe sharing a bit of specific information. This is a great way to add chapters to your video and help users navigate to the portions they are most interested in.
Here are a few technicalities to remember when you timestamp YouTube videos for your audience.
- Use the colon (:) between the hours, minutes, and seconds to make sure you have the right format for YouTube.
- Use the timestamp just as it appears. If you adjust it, you could get broken links and this will turn off your audience.
- Give it a practice run first. Check to make sure that your timestamps work before sharing with your audience.
- You can also timestamp YouTube comments. This is more for your audience, but it’s a cool feature to be aware of it.
More Ways to Increase Your Audience Engagement
Timestamps are a great way to increase your user engagement, increase your SEO, and have your content shared, but this isn’t the only way. Check out these other great ideas:
This allows your audience to share your work in written form. A transcription is your video in written form. Your audience can use a transcript to quote what you say, share on their own social media, or follow up on something that caught their interest. Timestamps embedded in transcripts will also help refer to specific parts of the video. If you’d like help here, our amazing transcription pros can lend a hand.
Engage with your audience
This one kind of goes back to YouTube 101, but it’s a crucial one. Engage, engage, engage. Talk to your audience as if they are there. No matter your content, you can engage. Think about the unboxers and the gadget review guys; they are speaking directly to the audience. They share emotions, thoughts, and insights. They open up the playing field for engagement. This goes hand in hand with content; your content should be something worth engaging about.
Encourage sharing and commenting
You’ve seen it in videos, that call out to comment and share. You know when Cole Labrant points somewhere on his screen for his viewers to share or comment. He draws in his audience and encourages their comments, feedback, and of course, sharing. He also does a call out of viewers. This kind of goes more with engaging, but it encourages that dialogue that you’re looking for to get your audience to comment. Then respond to those comments!
Have a great intro and outro
These two things provide great bookends for your video content. The intro provides the things like brand recall, information, and audience retention. The outro forms a cohesive ending that is consistent with your other videos. Often YouTubers have a signing-off catch phrase, a piece of music, or a rolling credit they use. Your outro can also include that all-important call to action or direct viewers to more of your content.
Back to Timestamps, What are Chapters?
Video chapters are a new feature on YouTube that has made the use of timestamps much more user-friendly. New in 2020, the chapters feature lets you separate your video into “chapters’ with timestamps. Some of the keys are that the first chapter must start at 0:00 and all the following timestamps must come after one another in chronological order. At least three letters must explain the timestamp, kind of like chapter titles, eh? These can come before or after the actual timestamp number but must be on the same line.
All of this enhances the user experience, maintains viewership, and helps the creator of the content make it more shareable. With the popularity of YouTube, all of this is good stuff.
So How Popular is YouTube?
We want to share a few statistics from Hootsuite to help you see how important it is to do things right on YouTube. It’s a huge platform that can open your brand up to a wide audience as well as your success.
- In the U.S. alone, YouTube will make 5.56 billion dollars in advertising revenue in 2021
- 50.9% of B2B decision-makers use YouTube to research purchases which makes it the most-used social platform for this purpose.
- 72% of people in the US used YouTube for their exercise platform in 2020. Remember that one, yoga instructors.
- With 40 million active gaming channels on YouTube, people watched over 100 billion hours of gaming.
- YouTube is the second most popular and most used social media platform, only behind Facebook.
- People watch over a billion hours of YouTube content every day. If that one doesn’t get you, we’re not sure what will. That number is huge and probably will continue to grow.
It’s crucial to make great content to post on YouTube. If you are putting in the effort to study up on statistics and timestamp YouTube content, make the effort to create exceptional content. If you’d like some help with this, our Bunny video and editor pros are top-notch. We can edit your video and help you get going. Check us out at Bunny Studio to see how we can help. We can even help with your YouTube transcription to share your content even more.
The Big Takeaway
YouTube is a powerhouse. There’s no denying that. Sure, 2020 brought a lot of new viewers with people learning how to cut hair, get fit, cook, knit, make that sourdough bread. But it also showed that you can find anything on YouTube, so go ahead and create that perfect content and be one of the many YouTubers sharing their skills.
Remember, though, it’s not just the content. It’s the delivery and the mechanics behind it, too, like timestamp YouTube content to make it easier for your viewer. Create great intros and outros and engage with your audience. Don’t think your content isn’t worthy; there’s an audience for everything.
In the words of YouTube megastar, gamer, and the guy with the most subscribers on YouTube, PewDiePie says, Life is too short to focus on the things you hate, focus on what you love instead.