Since Twitter and Instagram helped popularize them, hashtags have been one of the consistent ways you’ve been able to navigate different platforms. But for as long as YouTube has been around, it’s never really made extensive use of them. That’s about to change. This week, Google completed the rollout of landing pages that organize videos using metadata tags.
You can find your way to them by clicking on any of the hashtags that a YouTuber appends to their videos. Typically, you’ll find these at the bottom of a video description, but some maverick creators will also put them at the top. Alternatively, you can also access the feature via URL (type www.youtube.com/hashtag/yourterm). A video on YouTube’s Creator Insider channel suggests it’s possible to search for the pages as well, but that’s the case just yet as a YouTube spokesperson told us that functionality is on its way over the coming days and weeks.
As TechCrunch points out, it doesn’t seem like there’s a clear logic to why YouTube is highlighting certain videos over others. With Instagram, for instance, sorting content by hashtag will usually highlight the most popular new photos and videos. That’s not the case with YouTube, where you’ll currently see a mix of new and older content side by side. Of course, that’s not necessarily a bad thing, but we did see that sometimes a single channel will dominate a page.
The update also changes how the platform handles hashtags in general. It used to be the case that when you tapped on a hashtag or searched for one, YouTube would also come back with related videos. That’s no longer the case. The platform will now instead only highlight content that has been explicitly tagged by its creator.
In practice, we found the pages highlighted videos that search did not. In that way, it’s an interesting way to discover new content, particularly if you feel like a traditional search isn’t bringing up anything new or noteworthy.