YouTube Is Rolling Out Video Chapters to Desktop and Mobile

Joanna Estrada
May 29, 2020

YouTube is making it easier to navigate longer videos with its new "chapters" feature, the video streaming site announced.

YouTube is rolling out video chapters on both the desktop website, and mobile app for the platform. The video preview that pops up when you're scrubbing along also shows the chapter title so you can easily identify where you are in the video. Chapters are optional and will only appear if a video creator chooses to include them. Normally, the seek will automatically snap to the beginning of a chapter.

YouTube said the feature gained a lot of positive feedback during testing, but it has tweaked the product a bit based on its earlier experimentation. Creators simply need to list at least three timestamps they want broken up into specific chapters in the description of their video in chunks of at least 10 seconds long starting with 0:00. That means in a video with a lot of chapters, you may see more on desktop than on mobile devices, and more appear when you're full screen on your phone than when you're viewing the video in the smaller, portrait player.

YouTube adds chapters to make video navigation easier
YouTube Is Rolling Out Video Chapters to Desktop and Mobile

If you hovered over the timeline of certain YouTuber's videos, you'd see the timeline was split up into sections.

If you're a creator and you want chapters on your videos, you will have to do some manual tinkering around. On the flip side, it could decrease total watch times, as viewers only watch particular sections of videos instead of the video's full content. YouTube will use this metadata to create chapters and segment your video accordingly.

I watch YouTube videos in two distinct ways: If it's a song I like or creator I enjoy, I'll watch the whole thing; but if I was searching for a tutorial or more info about a topic, I usually just fast-forward or skip through it to get to the parts that matter.

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