Adding Youtube chapters to make longer videos easier to play

im smiley youtube (1)

If you too have already had to wait endless seconds before getting to the more “interesting” part on a longer video on Youtube, the new YouTube feature is bound to please you.

In order to facilitate the navigation of its users directly within the videos, to move from one part to another more interesting part for example, YouTube is currently trying a new feature. This results in the addition of chapters which is currently only available in a selection of videos. The test is carried out both on the web platform and also mobile with IOS and Android. The confinement that has affected the quality of its dissemination seems to give more motivation to the platform to continue to develop novelties.

The new feature uses TimeStamps that creators apply to their videos, allowing viewers to easily jump forward to a specific section of the video.

A test launched in early April 

So far some content creators create summaries in the description of their videos, but very soon, viewers will be able to access very simply the different chapters of a video, directly in the progress bar integrated in the player of the video. As Android Police points out, it was in early April that this new feature was spotted for the first time. It should be emphasized that this feature is as useful for the creator of the video as for the viewer. The first will be able to emit different ideas or evoke topics in his video while the second will have a benchmark and can save time. The launch of this new feature was announced via the platform’s twitter account :

‘’0:00 We heard you and added Video Chapters.
0:30 You liked it.
1:00 Now it’s official: Video Chapters are here to stay.
1:30 Creators, try Chapters by adding timestamps starting at 0:00 to your video description. Viewers, scrub to find exactly what you’re looking for.
2:00 Enjoy!

— YouTube (@YouTube) May 28, 2020

im smiley youtube
im smiley youtube

The chapters integrated directly by Youtube could be very useful

The different parts of the videos with a time indicator is regularly indicated by some Youtube channel owners. So this new feature of YouTube, once the test is completed if it is deployed on a large scale could save time to these owners all the more that it would be enough that they enter the different times to delimit the chapters.

In contrast, some creators do not consider it useful to indicate chapters to their videos, so it is up to subscribers to take care of them in the comments. In this case, the feature would unfortunately be useless, since at the moment, YouTube has not planned to create chapters in the videos itself : too bad then. However, for sometimes longer videos, this new feature remains a great thing.

The introduction of 3 minimum chapters per Youtube video

The addition of the chapters within the videos must be done manually by the author of the video on the platform if he wishes.

But for a video to benefit from the chapter system it is necessary for the author to enter at least 3 chapters with a minimum duration of 10 seconds while indicating a title as well as information on the content of the chapters.

The goal is to allow viewers to find with more ease the extract (s) that could interest them.

A feature tailored for mobiles

A sound effect is played between each chapter on the mobile version of youtube, in order to notify users that they are starting a new chapter. All the chapters can be accessed on the Timeline, just swipe up when playing video content. Thus the user can easily navigate from one chapter to another within a long video to access the chapter he would most like to watch.

The goal: increase user engagement on longer videos

The goal of YouTube through this new feature is to significantly boost the engagement of users of its platform towards longer content. However this is not without risk. Yes ! It should be emphasized, the implementation of the chapters could drastically reduce the total viewing time (watchtime) since it should be noted that users of the platform will now only view the chapters that interest them the most and no longer the entire video.

All this is fine, but how to activate this new feature, you certainly ask yourself. So rest assured, we will not finish without giving you the answer.


Enable Youtube video chapters

To enable chapters in a video, follow these steps :

  1. Connect to YouTube ;
  2. Go to the video to edit ;
  3. Select Edit Video under video ;
  4. In the “Description” Field on the “Add details” page, add the list of timestamps and chapter titles.

To enable chapters, you need to make sure that the first timestamp in your list is ‘00 :00’. You must specify at least three timestamps and list them in chronological order. While knowing that the minimum duration of a chapter is 10 seconds.

Add chapters to the progress bar

In addition to viewers, we also thought about video creators. If you are one, we show you how to add chapters to your video. On your desktop browser, hover with your mouse over the video progress bar. You will see pauses between each chapter, and you will be able to read the chapter title by launching on a specific segment.
On iOS and Android, tap once on the video to set up the progress bar to show breaks in the timeline between chapters. Hold your finger on a segment to see the chapter title, or drag it over the bar to see that part of the video.
When you highlight a new chapter, you will feel a slight vibration. However, chapters will only appear on the YouTube video if you add them manually when you upload your videos.
There’s also a trick you can use to automatically generate chapters for videos that don’t have one : just visit the Chrome browser extension “Video Chapters for YouTube”.
While it’s not as stylish as when it’s yourself, creator of the video adding your own chapters, it will at least give you a way to jump through the video which is better than randomly clicking on the progress bar.
If you are still tempted to make yourself a little more useful, you can use the Chrome extension “TimeTags for YouTube” to create timestamps for any video you watch.