YouTube wants viewers to help find popular videos in new experiment


  • YouTube launches a Hype option for viewers to boost video rankings on the Explore page.
  • Limited availability in Brazil, Turkey, and Taiwan for eligible users to participate in an experiment.
  • Hype votes aim to support small creators and potentially combat fake view count inflation to get more engagement on the platform.

May and June have been busy months for the best entertainment and content streaming services. Netflix is busy mulling an ad-supported free tier and the addition of an HDR toggle to its Android app, while Google’s YouTube is busy combating cheap Premium subscriptions and running several experiments in quick succession, showcasing what the future of the service might look like for viewers. Now the service has announced the commencement of another experiment where viewers can hype videos to help boost their rankings.


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YouTube’s flurry of experiments focus mostly on the user experience on the Android app, and usually don’t influence the content recommendation algorithm. Viewers’ watch history and patterns have a direct impact on the recommendations they receive, but videos that strike a chord with larger audiences automatically show up on the categorized Trending pages in the app, or on the Explore page, where you discover popular new content.

In a new experiment announced for a handful of eligible users, YouTube has introduced a new Hype option which bears semblance to the Link option already available for videos (via 9to5Google). Viewers with access to the feature will see a Hype button appear underneath videos, which would boost the content’s rankings on the Explore page.

Availability is limited at present

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Source: YouTube

For now, this test is available to viewers in Brazil, Turkey, and Taiwan, and they can vote on content posted by a few YouTube Partner Program creators with less than 500,000 subscribers each. Although plans for wider availability are unknown, YouTube clarifies that the Hype system won’t outright overrule the default algorithm because viewers can only Hype a video posted in the last seven days.

Moreover, the impact of the hype votes will only help the video rank higher and reach more eyeballs on the Explore page, independent of the categorized Trending section, where the algorithm shows top videos at any time. So, it appears YouTube wants us viewers to help smaller creators rank higher in the Explore page. With users themselves hyping videos, YouTube could also combat shady tricks to inflate view counts artificially and enhance Explore page rankings.

Broadly, small creators getting this boost in viewership from the Hypes could help YouTube with creator retention amidst omnipresent ad blocking and content piracy. However, pushback from established content houses could follow a wider rollout, especially because it could make the Likes feature redundant.

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YouTube wants viewers to help find popular videos in new experiment


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