YouTube terminology - DEFINITIVE glossary

The definitive YouTube creator dictionary.

Glossary Index:

YouTube terminology

A-roll

A-roll is the footage of the main storyline of a video.
The guy talking to the camera and explain to you how you can make a million dollars is A-roll.
In a news story, the host talks about a cat that is rescued out of a tree by the fire department, the A-Roll is the footage of the host talking about the fire department and the cat.
Using only A-roll can get boring to watch, therefore we use b-roll.

AMA

"Ask Me Anything".
A phenomenon where a YouTuber answers questions of viewers

AVD

"Average View Duration".
How long do viewers watch a video on average?
A longer view duration will mean a higher ranking by YouTube's algorithms.

B-roll

B-roll is the supporting footage for the a-roll and shows what it is the story is about.
B-roll is the footage that is ‘pasted’ over the A-roll.
B-roll can be anything visual: video footage, a photo, a graph, screenshot of a website or a newspaper.
In a video where a guys tells you how to make a million dollars, the B-roll is the footage that shows 100 dollar bills.
In a news story, the host talks about a cat that is rescued out of a tree by the fire department, the B-Roll is the footage of the fire department rescuing the cat.

BLOG

Short for "weblog", a website log.
Formerly a blog was a personal log, but over the years the term shifted more towards informational content on a website.

CPM

Cost Per Mile, in other words: the revenue (cost) per 1000 plays.
The CPM varies per niche, depending on what advertisers are willing to pay.

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CTA

"Call To Action".
A request for viewers to subscribe, download your ebook, click the like button, etc.

CTR

Click Through Rate in percentage.
The number of viewers that actually click on your video when they see the thumbnail.
YouTube says that half of the YouTube channels have a CTR of 2 - 10%.
(2% being bad, 10% being good)

Creative Commons

A Creative Commons license determines that someone can freely use copyrighted content under certain conditions. For more information see Creative Commons website.

DITL

"a Day In The Life of"
.Follow a YouTuber for a day in this video

DSLR

"Digital Single Lens Reflex", a digital evolution of the (analog) SLR photo camera where the photographer sees though the viewfinder the exact image of the photo due to the use of a mirror. The use of mirror technology is only useful for photography (not video)

GRWM

"Get Ready With Me".
A walkthrough of a YouTuber preparing for a certain task

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IRL

"In Real Life".
Often compared to the virtual life on YouTube, because this only represents a small portion of a persons life

NAS

"Network Attached Storage".
A device that is used over the network for extra storage.
A NAS has one or more hard disks or a SSDs in it.
More drives create redundancy for more reliability (also called RAID - Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disks).
If one drive fails, the other drive(s) can replicate or recover information to prevent data loss

OOTD

"Outfit Of The Day", clothing worn today

SEO

Search Engine Optimization.
The knowledge of optimizing content to be found by search engines like Google, Bing and YouTube.
Read YouTube SEO tips for more information on the topic.

USP

"Unique Selling Point".
Why should people consume your content or buy your product?
The thing(s) that make you (or your brand) unique compared to others.
"the cheapest phone" is a unique selling point.

UVR

"Unlisted Video Review".
As a creator you are asked to self certify your videos on ad eligibility.
You have to certify the video on strong language or sexuality for example.
If you are in doubt, you can ask for a human review by YouTube itself.
This video needs to be marked as unlisted instead of private.

VLOG

The video version of BLOG. VLOG refers to a personal video log of a YouTuber (video diary), a representation of a day (or week) of a certain individual.

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VPH

"Views Per Hour".
The amount of views in 1 hour that a video generates

YPP

"YouTube Partner Program".
You need to apply to the Partner Program to earn money with your YouTube channel.
You can check eligibility here

YT

Short for "YouTube"

YTA

Short "YouTube Analytics".
Refers to the part of YouTube Studio where you can view the statistics of your YouTube channel

YouTube Studio

The private administration panel for YouTube creators on YouTubes website.
Here you can upload videos, edit video details, see statistics of your videos and much more...

YouTuber

Most often YouTuber refers to the host of a YouTube channel

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ad

Short for "advertisement".
Generally referred to as the ads a shown before, during or after a video.
YouTube also shows text/image based ads in the recommend video section

audience retention

How much of your video do viewers watch? Expressed in a percentage.
If every viewer watches your video from beginning to the end, that is an audience retention of 100%.
If every viewer watches 2,5 minutes out of a 10 minute video, that is an audience retention of 25%.
An audience retention around 50% is regarded as a good video by the YouTube algorithm.
Read also my article how to improve audience retention on YouTube for more information on the topic.

avatar

The image that represents a YouTube channel.
Most YouTubers use a photo of their face or the logo of their company

branding watermark

Often referred to as branding by YouTube itself.
A watermark appears in a YouTube video on the bottom right corner.
When you click on a branding watermark you will subscribe to a channel.
This is the reason that a lot of watermarks read:"subscribe"

captions

Captions (or closed captions) are literal transcriptions of audible information in a video.
Captions also include audible information like a coughing sound or music, useful for viewers with a hearing disability.
"captions" or often referred to as "subtitles", although captions are broader than subtitles. Companies like Rev offer transcription services for YouTube creators.

channel art

Your avatar, the banner above your channel homepage and branding watermark are channel art.

channel authority

Your reputation on YouTube measured in total accumulated watch time minutes on your channel in total.
The more channel authority you have, the more likely you are to be ranked higher.

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channel header

This is a graphic that is displayed on the top of your channel homepage

channel homepage

Every channel has a home page.
When you click on a channel name (for example under a video on YouTube), you’ll be directed to the channel home page.
Here you can see the channel header, the community tab, video tab and the welcome video.

clickbait

A title, thumbnail or description that does not represent the content of a video very well, with the intention of driving more views.
YouTube buries clickbait videos directly by not ranking and suggesting them anymore.
The formula that YouTube uses for detecting clickbait:
clickbait = high CTR + low audience retention.
More about clickbait in this article

closed captions

"Closed Captions".
Captions that are "closed" by a black (or any other color) box background to improve readability

collab

Short for "collaboration".
Two or more individuals work together on a certain task or project.
In YouTube-land this is most likely another YouTuber or a brand/sponsor

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community tab

In the community tab you can post texts, pictures and polls that subscribers will see in their video feed.

evergreen videos

Evergreen videos a videos that a relevant and drive views for a long period (a couple or years).
Evergreen videos are the best way to grow your YouTube channel.

haul

Most common form is a clothing haul where a YouTuber tries on multiple outfits. Other hauls do also exist

influencer

A popular term for someone who has a large social media following (in the case of YouTube a large amount of subscribers)

long tail keywords

In SEO, long tail keywords vs short tail keywords determine how long your target keyword phrase is.
Long tail keyword phrases are less competitive and therefore easier to rank for.
"How to feed a cat" (short tail) is a competitive keyword phrase, "how to feed a siamese cat in the winter" (long tail) is more specific and therefore less competitive.

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recommended videos

Videos that the YouTube algorithm recommends.
This can be in the recommended section, but also at the end of a video or on the YouTube home page.

session watch time

The amount of time that viewers watch videos on YouTube before leaving the platform.
Since session watch time increases the time that viewers spend on the platform, this is a ranking factor for your channel.

short tail keywords

The opposite of long tail keywords. See long tail keywords for a comparison

sub for sub

channel owners agreeing to follow each other’s channel in order to grow.
Sub for sub will hurt the growth of a YouTube channel more than it gains.
Read never buy YouTube subscribers ofr more information

subtitles

Text shown on the bottom (or top) of a video to translate the spoken language in the native language of the viewer.
Subtitles are often confused with captions, which include also other audible information

tags

On the video details page (where you can input tile, description and upload a thumbnail), you can also input tags.
The relevancy of tags declined considerably over the last years.

thumbnail

the graphical ‘movie poster’ that represents your video.
You can upload a custom thumbnail for each video

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trending

What is popular/ what is a trend?
Which video content currently gets a lot of views

unboxing

open a box and show what is inside. Often combined with a review of a product to show the viewer the contents of the package of a (new) product

unweighted score

(ranking)
A unweighted score doesn’t take your viewing and search behavior in the past.
This is basically a representation of a new / clean YouTube account without any viewing history

video card

A video card in the YouTube jargon has nothing to do with your graphics card in your computer.
YouTube shows an ‘i’ icon at the top right corner of video.
In the video editor in YouTube Studio you can add text (called a card) that is showed when a video is playing.
Those cards can contain a link to a website, link to a video, a link to a playlist and a poll.

video content

content = video + title + thumbnail + description.
A lot of people think that content is only the video, but it is the combination of all those factors.

video impressions

How many times did YouTube show your video thumbnail (and title) to users of the platform?
The impressions can come from the YouTube home page, in the recommended section (on the right of your screen), at the end of a video, a video card or every other place on YouTube.

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viral

A YouTube video that is gets a lot of views in a short amount of time

vlogmas

A concatenation of VLOG and Christmas.
A lot of YouTubers Vlog around Christmas time (usually a daily VLOG), because there are generally more viewers on YouTube around that time of the year.

watch page

A page where you watch a YouTube video

watch time

The amount of minutes that a video is watched by a viewer.
If 1 viewer watches 6 minutes out of a 10 minute video, the watch time minutes for this video is 6 minutes.
If 1 viewer watches 2 minutes out of a 6 minute video, the watch time minutes for this video is 2 minutes.
The YouTube algorithm ranks videos based on accumulated watch time minutes on a channel called Channel Authority.

weighted score

(ranking)
A weighted score takes in account your viewing and search behavior in the past

youtube algorithm

The formula (computer code) that YouTube uses to decide which video it should serve to a viewer.
There are a couple of algorithms, for example:
The recommended section on a YouTube watch page, the search algorithm and the homepage algorithm.
An in-depth look at the YouTube algorithms in this article

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youtube homepage

The first page you see when you enter YouTube.com in your internet browser.