Screen Shot 2016-05-09 at 17.42.55

Every December, YouTube shares a list of the most popular videos of the year. This is where videos like the infamous “Gangnam Style” by PSY gain top honors, and we stop for a moment to think to ourselves, “Really?” But this year, the list features something that’s actually quite interesting. It wasn’t a video of a dog dressed in a spider costume terrorizing innocent bystanders, but rather a new set of metrics for determining popularity.

In past years, YouTube has ranked its yearly popularity list using the logical measure of worldwide views. This year, the rankings were determined by a compilation of views, shares, comments, likes, and other undisclosed measures that ultimately allowed lower view-count videos to be in contention to make the list, based on viewer engagement. The important takeaway for marketers is the fact that this concept of “engagement” is no longer as simple as eyes on a screen. YouTube is looking for videos that generate action from viewers in a specific range of time over a designated geographic scope with a minimum required amount of shares – so on and so forth.

We don’t know the exact algorithm YouTube uses to make its year-end list, but it’s probably safe to assume that rapid international sharing over multiple social networks is a positive thing. Although you may not be looking to make the year end list, it won’t be long before your clients adopt the same criteria. Don’t wait until next year’s list to take note.