Why You Should be Using YouTube Video Chapters

Are you using timestamps to create video chapters? If not, YouTube just upgraded the feature so you may want to start.

YouTube’s chapter tool just got a shiny new upgrade. The video-segmenting feature, which allows users to click a timestamp and jump to any point in a video, now comes with a scrolling chapter list. This interactive panel is large, highly browseable, and appears on the right side of a YouTube video.

When you activate the feature, it looks something like this:

Months ago, we explained the benefits of timestamps and how to add them to the description of your YouTube videos.

We also praised their ability to segment multi-layered topics, which helps your audience digest ‘how-to’ content or in-depth reviews. But a lesser-known benefit is how these timestamps can push your video to the top of Google search results. That’s an invaluable resource for growing on YouTube because seriously - who doesn’t want more views from the world’s largest search engine?

Every creator, especially those on YouTube’s competitive platform, deserves a slice of the SEO, video-segmenting pie. To claim yours, just keep reading.

How to Access the YouTube Chapters Upgrade

At first glance, you may overlook the new chapter upgrade because the tool is slightly hidden. To make sure you don’t miss it, follow these steps:

1. Find a YouTube video displaying chapters on its timeline. If you can't find one, just watch the video below. It’s our tutorial about how to access the video chapters upgrade, which of course, has several chapters to experiment with:

2. Click play, then navigate to a chapter by clicking any position on the video timeline. When you have one selected, the name of the chapter should appear below the video’s progress bar, as shown below.

3. Next to the chapter title, you should see a right-facing arrow. Click it to expand a large panel that lets you browse/select all the chapters in a video.

The good thing about this feature is that it’s completely retroactive. If you create timestamps for your existing videos, you'll start to see those upgraded video chapters appear.

On the YouTube mobile app, you get the same functionality. Simply tap on a chapter within the video player, and it will show a list of every chapter associated with the video.

YouTube Video Chapters: Do They Decrease Channel Watch Time?

When we talk about video chapters, we try to emphasize how valuable they are for introducing viewers to your content. Instead of pressing play on a video and wondering what it entails, your audience can essentially view an outline.

However, our viewers - the vidIQ community - always ask the same controversial question about video chapters. They want to know how video chapters affect a channel’s Watch Time. After all, encouraging viewers to skip around to different points in a video cant be good for retention, can it?

Our answer to that question is simple: Don’t spend too much time worrying about the numbers. Overall, video chapters are a small part of your YouTube channel’s success. They won’t make or break the journey, and the feature provides value for your viewers.

As an example, take a look at one of our top-performing tutorials, “How to Delete YouTube Videos.” This video has more than half a million views, and it has several video chapters throughout. To have reached such a high number, we’re not sacrificing as many views or Watch Time as one might think.

And remember, if your video segment gets recommended on Google search, that’s another reason to keep using video chapters. Those Googe displays consume a lot of real estate on a mobile screen, giving your video a better chance of being clicked on.

Want to Make More Money on YouTube?

If you want to take your YouTube channel to the next level and get more views on YouTube then make sure to download vidIQ. Join over 1 million other users and use vidIQ to help you research YouTube, analyze videos, audit your own channel, and take actionable steps. Click here to install now!

And if you’re really serious about growing your channel, sign up for exclusive access to the vidIQ Academy and learn how to launch a successful YouTube channel in just 30 days.