Ever since launching in 2005, YouTube has changed the media landscape forever.
What started as a video-dating website (no, I’m not kidding, you can Google it) is now the biggest video-sharing platform in the world, providing millions of content creators a free space to share their knowledge and creativity.
You can share just about any video on YouTube, from music videos to educational content, lectures, tutorials, vlogs, movies, shows, vines, and whatnot. It comes as no surprise that many people have made a career out of posting content on YouTube.
One of the best things about the platform is that it’s continually developing itself and adding new features to accommodate the needs of modern YouTubers and influencers.
One of the best features it has added in recent years is a chapter-wise division of a video, which enhances user experience and video navigation tremendously.
If you’re unfamiliar with the latest add-on, read on to learn everything about it and how to leverage it to boost engagement with your audience.
What Makes YouTube So Popular?
It wasn’t until 2006 that the platform surpassed 25 million available videos and became the most popular video-sharing app.
Fast forward to today, YouTube is a giant in the video content space and receives investments from top spenders for influencer marketing.
Numerous individuals and brands now leverage the high viewership of the platform to market their products and service and boost engagement of their brands.
One of the main reasons why YouTube has become a public favorite is because of the way it nurtures a near-personal relationship with viewers, something that photos or articles may have yet to be able to achieve as effectively.
It also brings in heavy traffic and high conversion rates for brands, encouraging more and more people to start a channel.
The unique reach of YouTube has made it the go-to destination for brands and individuals to showcase their skills, products, or services to the world and create content to expand viewership for years now.
Witnessing its rising popularity, YouTube has managed to stay ahead of the curve and added various useful features to make content marketing easier for users while increasing engagement.
In 2020, YouTube allowed creators to divide their video content into different chapters, making it much more convenient for the viewers to navigate the videos.
Because of this feature, viewers now easily re-watch different portions of the video without going through the hassle of forwarding and rewinding to the part.
Benefits of Adding Chapters to Your YouTube Videos
Why should you add chapters to your YouTube video anyway? The content remains the same after all, right? Here’s the deal.
Video chapters offer content creators several benefits, but the two primary benefits are, without a doubt, improved user experience and increased visibility. Let’s understand them better.
#1. Improved User Experience 👤
YouTube chapters make it easier for viewers to find exactly the part they want to watch, enabling enhanced video navigation.
You can divide your content into different chapters through video chapters, giving them a unique label and a keyword-rich description. This way, your viewers can hop into that specific part of the video they are looking for without having to watch the entire thing.
For example, you’re watching a two-hour-long concert by The Weeknd, but you’re forwarding and rewinding back and forth to the part where he sings “Blinding Lights.” Sounds tiring, right?
With video chapters, you can jump directly to the specific part of the song you’re looking for without wasting a second in “finding” the correct timestamp.
This goes for all the video content on YouTube, including lectures, tutorials, demonstrations, movies, and more. This feature has made YouTube way more user-friendly.
If you optimize your YouTube video using keywords that are descriptive, highly searched for, and clear while also adding a transcript for the video, you can improve the reach of your videos through chapters and drive more traffic to your channel.
Adding chapters with clear-cut and search-engine-optimized descriptions can help give your long videos a comprehensive structure. It makes it easy for the viewers to navigate and for Google to understand and rank your video on the search engine.
This way, you also add value to your YouTube video from an SEO standpoint.
Now that you know how beneficial chapters are for your videos, let’s learn how you can add them.
You can add chapters to your YouTube videos in two simple ways:
Here’s a rundown of both methods. You can choose the method that’s more convenient for you.
Adding Chapters Automatically
YouTube has an incredible feature that can add chapters to your videos automatically. This is especially useful when you don’t want to list the timestamps manually.
In this case, YouTube will skim and analyze your videos and divide them into different chapters based on their understanding. Here are the steps for it:
Step 1: Click on Manage Videos and open one of your videos on the channel.
Step 2: Scroll down and click on Show More.
Step 3: Enable Automatic Chapters.
You’ll notice the chapters have been added to your video. If you want to add chapters to all of the videos on your channel in just one click, you can do that by clicking Manage Videos > Settings > Upload Defaults > Advanced Settings.
You should see a page like this.
Make sure the box next to Allow automatic chapters and key moments is ticked, and that’s it.
Automatic chapters are convenient, but they’re a pure hit-and-miss strategy and may or may not work for your video. However, once YouTube splits the video into chapters, you can edit them by manually adding the timestamps if you feel the automatic feature didn’t do an accurate job.
While this is a quicker way out, I suggest you do the work manually to give your viewers the best possible experience.
Adding Chapters Manually
To manually add chapters to your YouTube videos, you first need to create timestamps for each part of the video you want to highlight. Go through your video once, twice, or several times and note down the timestamp of when each new section starts.
For example, you want to create 4 chapters of your 10-minute-long tutorial video. The first chapter should start at 0:00. List the timestamps for the successive chapters, along with their respective titles. The second chapter could begin at 3:01, the third at 6:27, and the last at 9:56.
Once you’ve decided on the timestamps, open your video, and in the description box, enter the timestamps in this format:
Once you add chapters to your YouTube video, you’ll notice that the video has been visibly divided into several sections.
Just below the progress bar, you’d see the title of the current chapter.
Moreover, by clicking on the tab that says “View Chapter,” viewers can go to the complete list of all the chapters and click on whichever chapter they want to watch.
Each chapter has a unique title, making it easier to understand what the video would entail without skimming through it. Obviously, the video can be split into even more chapters, depending on the nature of the video you’re uploading.
Impact of Video Chapters on Your Engagement
Think of video chapters as a “table of content” but for videos. Won’t this make it easier for your viewers to jump to a specific chapter?
Let’s say they don’t want to watch the intro of the video and dive right into the meat of the matter. They can simply click on “Second Section” or whatever you name the chapter to get to the point.
This saves them a lot of time forwarding the video to the point from where they really want to watch it.
As a result of making your videos more “digestible,” viewers will stick around for a longer duration since they aren’t dropping out of your video after seeing the mammoth length of it.
This has a direct relation to enhanced user experience and engagement.
YouTube chapters have revolutionized how we interact with YouTube videos because we no longer have to skim mindlessly through long videos to find the section we’re looking for.
It’s an obvious (yet genius) idea to try and pounce on this feature to boost engagement in all your YouTube videos. The best part? It’s super easy to implement it right now.
Next, check out the best YouTube tools to grow your audience, revenue, and more.
Adnan is a BMS graduate and a senior writer for Geekflare who loves breaking down complex topics into easy-to-understand pieces. He has also written for sites like Sparkian and Techkle. Besides work, you can find him on the football turf or… read more
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