Compared to YouTube’s earlier years, videos on the website are now relatively longer – most likely because of the increase of traffic over the years, the need to increase watch time, and the need to capture the viewers’ attention.
However, catching and keeping your viewers’ attention seems to get more difficult as time goes by. As such, video elements such as YouTube timestamps have become essential to ensure the video’s message resonates with the viewer.
Advantages of Adding YouTube Timestamps
A YouTube timestamp is a link that sends you to a specific part of the video. You can usually see this under the comment section on a YouTube video, or once in a while, in the actual video description. Timestamps might seem so insignificant compared to other elements of a YouTube video, however, this can help both you and your audience in various ways.
For users with limited time on their hands, this is extremely helpful since they no longer have to watch the whole video just to look at the part they want to see. Moreover, timestamps can also be used as a guide or reference that directs viewers to the most relevant portions of the video. For students, researchers, journalists, and more, this is an invaluable feature.
If you’re a content creator who’s involved in entertainment and other related niches, a timestamp can give your audience a reason to tune in to your videos. Use YouTube timestamps to entice them and keep them interested in the content you have to offer. Use timestamps to direct them towards an important section such as giveaways, games, tutorials, or more.
And of course, not only does YouTube timestamps ensure an improved viewer experience and strategy but it also provides SEO benefits. When a user clicks on a timestamp, it is registered as another page view. The more views a video gets, the higher it ranks in search results.
How to Add YouTube Timestamps to Your Videos
1.) Manually Attach it to the URL
It is now possible to send a video to someone and have it directly play a specific part. All you have to do is manually add the timestamp code to the end of the video’s URL. If the YouTube video’s URL includes a question mark, use “&t=” then specify the time. On the other hand, if the video’s URL does not have a question mark, attach the code “?t=” at the end.
Remember to specify the time in this order = Hours, Minutes, and Seconds.
Thirty seconds would be indicated as “&t=30s” or “?t=30s”.
Five minutes and fifteen seconds would be indicated as “&t=5m15s” or “?t=5m15s”.
Two hours, five minutes, and thirty seconds would be indicated as “&t=2h5m30s” or “?t=2h5m30s”.
Here is a sample of what it would look like in the URL:
Time-stamped URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yRRJBbzVfY4&t=30s
2.) Use the embed tool
If you don’t want to do this manually, click the video’s share tool as it will also allow the user to add a timestamp when sharing the video on multiple social media platforms. Simply go to the specific part of the video you want it to start then click pause before using the share tool. In the window that pulls up, tick the box beside “Start at”. You may also adjust the time specified if necessary.
All that’s left is copying the provided link or sharing the video directly to your chosen platform.
3.) Include Timestamps in the Video Description
To summarize the content and navigate your viewers to the sections of their interest, you can add timestamps to your video description. List down the specific parts with their corresponding timestamps as well as a short description. Make sure to separate the seconds, minutes, and hours with a colon. This method allows you to be more precise and segment the whole video into chapters.
As you can see, adding timestamps will upgrade your video content by increasing watch time and audience retention. Aside from enhancing the viewer experience, it boosts your video SEO as well.