Let’s Play Pocket Mirror- Sir TapTap YouTube Full Playthrough

Let’s Play Pocket Mirror is a full playthrough of a wonderful free RPG Maker horror game on YouTube. I can hardly recommend the game enough for it’s great writing, characters and art…and did I mention it’s free?!

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Are YouTube Shorts Worth Making? My Success With Shorts

YouTube Shorts were recently released publicly though still technically in Beta. The short-form looping videos are a very clear answer to TikTok (and the former Vine), providing very short videos of a minute or less to a vertical-only viewing experience designed just for Mobile, surfaced in a compact “watch a bunch at once” style experience.

If you haven’t messed with Shorts yet, the YouTube help article describes the technical aspects pretty well. I’ll focus more on how to use them and my experience with them and if they’re worth it. Note it’s very early stages so don’t draw too many conclusions, I’m still experimenting myself!

Have you started using YouTube Shorts? Share any tips or experiences in the comments below?

The YouTube Shorts Camera App

The Shorts Camera App seems to be the most direct answer to TikTok, including many features specifically for Shorts creation. However, it is only being tested in India for now, and users outside India will have to wait for the app to roll out worldwide.

YouTube Shorts Camera explanation

The features sound pretty good and will help notice users make Shorts without much/any editing work. The Shorts Camera is NOT required to upload shorts however, so you can upload them now even if you don’t have the app/live outside India.

Note that while the Shorts “experience” is only on Mobile, Shorts are still also a “normal” upload video that will appear like any other video to Desktop users. You get to have your cake and eat it too.

How To Make Your YouTube Video a Short

Even without the app, you can simply upload a vertically oriented (9:16 aspect ratio usually) video 60 seconds or less in length and include #Shorts in the description or title and the system will recognize it as a Short (though this doesn’t guarantee it will be featured as one).

Shorts are somewhat limited: Users can watch the Short, Comment, Like, Share, Subscribe, visit your channel or with a little effort, read the description. Many YouTube features like Chapters and even captions (!!) are currently unsupported, since when watching a Short from the Shorts slider, you get a different fullscreen interface instead of the usual watch page. No ads are shown in the Shorts experience, so a Shorts feature probably won’t raise your income directly—but subs are money too.

The lack of captions is particularly frustrating for accessibility reasons, plus many of us watching on phone leave our devices muted anyway. If your video completely depends on captions, I would bake them in for now. You also cannot tell what frame will be used as the “thumbnail” for Shorts—YouTube will use a frame from the video, not your normal thumbnail.

Expect inconsistency, new features for shorts etc, as the rollout is still technically a beta, so anything could change (or they could quietly nuke the project in a year as Google often does).

Where Do Users See Shorts?

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YouTube Community Posts Guide – Boost Engagement on YouTube

YouTube Community Posts aren’t a new feature, but I’ve noticed a lot more creators start to use them lately so I thought I’d write up a quick How-To. Community Posts are a great way to keep your audience engaged (and knowing you’re alive) even when you don’t have a new video to post yet!

We’ll run down the choices of posts and how to use them. Note to unlock the Community tab, you must have 1,000 subscribers. It effectively replaces the old “Discussions” tab with better features. If this How To helps, check out my other articles on YouTube!

Where Do YouTube Community Posts Appear?

youtube community posts in home feed

Posts appear in your Community tab on your Channel Page, but most importantly on YouTube Mobile, Posts appear intermixed with the subscriptions/recommendations feed on the front page! Yes, front page billing, though for now it seems to just be on mobile.

Note that Community Posts for recently watched channels can show up even if you don’t subscribe to the channel, so some non-subscribers may see a popular post of yours as well. You’re not guaranteed a slot by The Algorithm of course, which is why it pays to sprinkle your posts a couple times a week instead of just one.

Using YouTube Community Posts

The simplest Community Post is just raw text, which is great to give a heads-up to your followers about upcoming videos, ask questions, or just give a quick status update.

Note that only the first 4 lines of text on your post will show up before a Show More block, so be terse, punchy, or at least lead with a banger.

YouTube Video Posts

The most obvious kind of post, these let you share a video (yours or someone else’s) directly to your audience along with some text. This is a great way to promote quality, older videos that The Algorithm hasn’t graced lately.

youtube video post
You can announce scheduled Livestreams as well

As I note below, Video Posts appear to get circulated less than other post types—or at least, they seem to get a lot less engagement in my experience.

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YouTube’s Copyright Match Tool: What It Is & How To Use It

Today it looks like YouTube is rolling out the long-awaited Copyright Match tool, which will let normal Creators deal with video-stealers. In the past it’s mostly just been larger companies that have been privy to Content ID and other more exclusive tools.

youtube's description of the copyright match process. Create videos, copies of content will be automatically found, and youtube will allow you to act on them.
A basic rundown of the tool, via YouTube

The tool was announced a while ago but (at least for me) just released and was added to the YouTube Studio Beta, where it can be found in the new Copyright section.

How Copyright Match Works

You’ll get an email when you have access to Copyright Match in the new Studio Beta dashboard. It’s not presently in the old Creator Studio.

You’ll be shown something like below, assuming you have any matches. It lists the videos, some metadata on them, and includes links to the video to see it. You should check the video manually to see the exact context it’s used in, though as you can see in the below images, my matches were all 100% direct rips with not so much as a commentary track or video edit of any kind.

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Announcing Spooktober on SirTapTap’s Youtube Channel!

It’s that Spooky time of the year again, so I hope you’ll join me on YouTube for a series of surreal RPG Maker Horror games this month! It’s what I call Spooktober!

Edit: 2018-10-15: Final half of Spooktober is finalized below!

The streams will feature more atmospheric, psychological horror and less of the jumpscare nonsense, so if you’re usually squeamish, it should still be pretty accessible!

Included are permalinks to each stream, press the Play button to see an option to get a reminder of when the stream goes live on YouTube!

Week 1 (October 6&7th)

Yume Nikki

Yume Nikki is a surreal classic of RPG Maker fame, more of a Walking Sim/Horror game than RPG. I played it before, along with it’s remake/sequel/something, Yume Nikki Dream Diary, but it’s fantastic and will be framing the rest of the games for the month!

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Tap Into YouTube: Launch Day Is Too Late For PR

As a reviewer if there’s one mistake I see in my inbox more often than any other, it’s developers reaching out to press on their game’s launch day. Sometimes, even up to a week after release.

I’m not entirely sure the general reason for this; whether it’s seen as not necessary to reach out first, or perhaps it’s some attempt at avoiding “embargo breakers”, but it’s probably the most easily corrected major mistake you can make in your game marketing.

Don’t break your game’s sales just because you didn’t want to send out some emails before launch.

Tap Into YouTube is a series on YouTube and Games PR, written from the perspective of a YouTube Content creator. That’s me!

It’s meant to help both devs and YouTubers serve their audience the best and work with each other productively.

What’s the big deal? Well…

Reviews Take Time

The biggest factor here is that if it takes me a week to write a review (not uncommon, especially for smaller shops or larger games), and you send me your game the day of release, you’re logically going to get reviews a week after release. And that’s at the earliest; you’re probably not at the top of my queue. Especially since you emailed me the day you launched your game!

“The amount of time it takes to review your game is significantly higher than the time it takes to play your game”

Gaming reviewers are infamously crunched for time and often forced to rush out reviews for games they haven’t finished, spend crazy hours to finish a game in time, or take other unfortunate steps that pretty universally result in both worse working conditions for the reviewer and a lower quality review.

To write a thorough review ideally the player will have to complete the game, or in some cases like Multiplayer or Roguelike titles, at least play far enough to feel a sense of reasonably complete understanding of the game. 

In addition to the game itself, budget in the time for writing, editing, replaying to verify certain details, checking out additional modes, and other features. After all that, the time it takes to review your game is significantly higher than the time it takes to play your game. Always keep this in mind.

If there’s one person you don’t want to rush, it’s your reviewer. When you’re rushed, every flaw is that much more grating. Every complexity is that much more unwelcome. Every high is that much more fleeting. By rushing reviewers it’s quite possible you’re harming your own review scores, let alone the number and timing of those reviews.

Scheduling Issues

Sort of a sub-point of point number one, but even if I can respond to your game in a snap as, say, a Livestreamer who plays through games blind for first-impressions streams, I still may be unable to play your game until a few days after launch. I might have previously announced plans, things I’ve been waiting months to do, I might be on vacation, heck, you might just happen to release on the day I’m not at work!

Your game is probably the only thing on your mind. It is not the only thing on the mind of everyone you’re emailing about your game. That’s one of the biggest things to realize when handling your PR and working with press; you know your game, we do not (yet). But meanwhile, we’re also juggling up to dozens of games, upcoming releases, sheduled content. The less time you give us, the less possibility there is for us to fit your game in with the rest. 

By giving reviewers a reasonable length of time they’ll not only be able to write a better review, but they’ll be able to work things into their schedule more easily. For example, I work a day job so if your game releases on Tuesday even if I have nothing to play but your game (this is never the case), the earliest you’re likely to see a video from me is the following weekend.

But Isn’t YouTube Different?

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YouTube’s “Not suitable for most advertisers”: How To Appeal Demonetized Videos

Has Youtube marked your seemingly squeaky-clean video as “Not suitable for most advertisers“? What’s that even mean? Well, here’s how to appeal your Demonetized YouTube videos and how to best avoid getting them flagged in the first place.

If you’re here, you’re probably already aware, but YouTube recently started flagging certain videos as “Not Suitable For Most Advertisers”. This process is entirely automatic and is a process run on all YouTube videos automatically akin to Content ID. Here I’ll share the best information I’ve found on how this process works and how to work with it.

Note that YouTube’s process for this is highly variable and opaque; I meant to publish this weeks ago but only recently am I confident that the methods outlined here actually seem to work. Expect variation in your specific circumstances.

Tap Into YouTube is a series of articles from the perspective of a gaming YouTuber, covering both the use of YouTube and how to effectively work with YouTubers to promote your game.

What Does “Not Suitable For Most Advertisers” Mean?

When you get the yellow dollar sign symbol a video is “demonetized” or in youtube’s vernacular “Not Suitable For Most Advertisers”. Despite some conspiracy theories this does not mean YouTube is “skimming” your ad money; when demonetizing videos no ads are shown, meaning YouTube gets no ad money either. YouTube gets no inherent benefit from a demonetized video.

Despite the “limited or no” advertising, as far as I can tell no or effectively no advertisers actually put videos on “unsuitable” videos. You should consider a flagged video effectively demonetized entirely. It’s possible this will change in the future if advertisers choose to opt in to this class of video.

Find Demonetized Videos

If you had a backlog of videos before the “Not suitable for most advertisers” stuff started, you might have videos demonetized without knowing. There is a search filter you can use to find them immediately; this is where you’ll want to start your quest to re-monetize as many as you can. 

However, I’ve noticed that in some rare cases videos (unlisted ones in my case) did not show in that search filter, and recently re-monetized videos may still show in that view until monetization is turned off then back on for that video.

Demonetized Youtube Videos
The infamous Yellow Dollar Sign icon is the telltale sign you’ve been Demonetized

How To Get a Video Re-Monetized

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Alex Mauer Debacle: The DMCA Abuse That Is (and Isn’t) Possible on Youtube

So YouTube has a DMCA problem. We all knew this, since the DMCA itself sucks and YouTube doesn’t have the best track record regarding copyright. But what do you need to know if you’re affected? What’s the long and short of it?

Editor’s Note: I don’t have an editor.

Sir TapTap’s Note: If I did have an editor, they’d probably note that I’ve already written an extensive timeline on the Alex Mauer DMCA Debacle here, so if you don’t know what that is or wish to learn more, start there. This article is mostly about YouTube’s process and it’s problems and solutions, not the Alex case itself.

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Comparing Review Key Distribution Sites for Youtubers

So you’re a Youtuber, or maybe a Streamer. Maybe you have a website. Or maybe you’re whatever the hell we call a ‘Content Creator’. And if you’re one of those game-talker-abouter-things, whatever you choose to call them, you’re probably going to want review access to games. Steam keys, PSN codes, itch.io download links, whatever works.

Corrections: 2017-04-07 – It turns out Terminals does now have the coverage-checking feature I initially found it lacking.

Fortunately in the last couple years, a number of services have popped up to make this easier than manually dredging through the internet looking for contact details, searching PR databases, and waiting breathlessly for replies (please breathe; email is not a consistent delivery mechanism).

The main ones that I have found and use are Keymailer, Terminals.io, and Distribute(), and here I’m going to explain and compare all of them. Note I’m talking explicitly from the content creator side of things here, I don’t have the developer-side experience to comment significantly on the other side of things.

As a note, all services mentioned in this article are in Alpha/Beta. This whole developer <-> content creator thing is so new that even the world “content creator” is controversial at best, and more importantly all of these sites (and all of the developers, and all of the PR people, and all of us content creators) are still working out the kinks here.

All these services have had multiple issues I’ve watched get fixed over the last year, and all of them still have some growing to do. Most started out only supporting Steam keys but now all include the most popular consoles, for example. But are they worth using? Let’s find out.

Tap Into YouTube is a series of articles from the perspective of a gaming YouTuber, covering both the use of YouTube and how to effectively work with YouTubers to promote your game.

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How To Make Sure Your Indie Game Is Safe From Content ID

Why Check For Content ID?

Content ID is a headache for every YouTuber. If you want your game to go down smoothly on YouTube, you probably want to make sure you’re not accidentally setting up YouTubers to find out all their videos will get claimed.

Content ID can do the following:

  • Block a video in some countries
  • Block a video in all countries, effectively censoring it completely
  • Display ads on a video intended to be ad free
  • Block videos from being displayed on platforms that don’t/can’t show ads
  • Take some or all of the ad revenue a non-ad-free video would get
  • Mute some or all of the video

Content ID can also harmlessly track video views and stuff, and I believe uploaders aren’t even notified of this sort of matching. It’s not what I’ll be discussing today as it’s benign best I can tell.

Also note there’s no “only match people who upload the whole, naked soundtrack” option. If a song in the game is included and matched, Let’s Plays, streams etc. will be matched all the same as a pure rip of the full OST, Content ID is not a gentle beast.

If you want to ensure your game is safe from the Content ID monster, there’s a quick test you can do to save YouTubers some headaches (and yourself some headaches if they come asking what the deal is). Also, if you didn’t upload content to Content ID but someone else did, that means every video for your game could get Content ID’d, ticking off the YouTuber and sending money to someone who isn’t you, while the YouTuber will probably blame you assuming you did it. So yeah, you don’t want that. Some game devs have even had their own trailers Content ID’d by outside parties. Fun stuff.

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