“Creators testing YouTube’s multi-language audio feature saw over 15 percent of their watch time coming from views in the video's non-primary language.” — YouTube Official Blog

Papercup understands that creators will be able to see exactly which audio track generates that watch time as soon as Monday, when YouTube is expected to roll out multi-language audio analytics.

YouTube is officially rolling out its multi-language audio tracks feature to global creators and media companies distributing content on the video sharing platform. The new feature allows video owners to add multiple audio tracks to a single video, meaning they can upload dubbed audio so global audiences can watch videos in their chosen language.

Now everyone is thinking about how the feature will impact revenue and how the analytics will evolve to support the optimization of content. Here we tackle some of the most pressing YouTube multi-language monetization questions.

Will multi-language audio increase monetization potential on the platform?

Multi-language audio is likely to have a big impact on RPM (revenue per mille, or the money earned by creators or distributors for every 1000 ad views, after YouTube takes its share of revenue). It’s very likely that audiences watching videos in their native language will be engaged for longer — and the longer the watch time per view, the greater the ad exposure. Mid-roll ads (ads served as a break in the content, as opposed to pre-roll ads which play before the start) for example, are only eligible for videos in excess of  eight minutes. But a highly engaged audience offsets the investment cost of producing long form video to unlock mid-roll ads.  

The multi-language feature will not push up CPMs (cost per mille, or the cost advertisers will pay per 1000 ad impressions before YouTube takes its share of revenue). CPMs are set based on what advertisers are willing to pay for visibility among certain demographics, in certain territories, at certain times as influenced by wider economic events and circumstances, for example in summer and around cultural festivals. 

We’re already seeing the impact of the feature release on individual creators’ ability to monetize: with YouTube reporting that a significant portion of watch time, 15%, is coming from videos watched in their non-primary language. YouTube also says that in January alone, viewers watched over 2 million hours of dubbed videos daily on its platform.

Once the algorithm sees traction of dubbed content, that content gets recommended to viewers watching in that language, boosting the performance of the related language audio track.

What are the other advantages of YouTube’s multi-language audio tracks feature?

Prior to multi-language audio tracks, it was standard practice to create a whole new channel for dubbed content, as we did for Fremantle, to avoid audiences being served content in languages they don’t speak. The resource required to maintain multiple channels was prohibitive in lots of ways: a separate channel on which to moderate content, create thumbnails and translate titles and descriptions. 

Theoretically, the multi-language audio feature does away with the associated costs of running multiple channels. There will be significantly less channel management for the languages gathered on a main channel, which over time will increase overall profit.

How do analytics work with multi-language audio?

One of the benefits of having single language channels is clearly defined audiences that can be easily analyzed — both in terms of content strategy and optimization (adapting to what is and isn’t working) and the relevant placement of ads. However, the drawback of organizing channels in this way is that it splits audiences by language, which also limits the video’s potential views and therefore monetization potential. 

Papercup understands that we can expect the first pass at dubbed audio track analytics as early as next week, with potentially more refinement in the months to come.

Why would a media organization with a successful, main single-language channel (usually in English) utilize the multi-language audio feature?

Such companies may be reluctant to implement multi-audio, especially if they already have strong international reach on their main channel and their goal is growth over optimizing the experience for audiences engaging with existing content. 

However, it’s very likely that that international reach is from an English-speaking audience. The advantage of multi-language audio is that the feature multiplies views on a video by the number of languages available. Maximizing overall views on a single video by pushing it out to more markets increases its chances of reaching higher RPMs. CPMs do vary by country – so it’s worth prioritizing dubbing for countries with higher CPMs and higher numbers of YouTube users that mainly watch content in their own language — like Germany and France.

There are very few downsides to enabling the multi-language feature, especially if content has wide appeal, for example on talent shows, news, factual, auto or interiors content. There is the cost of dubbing, but this will be offset by an increase in views and watch time. The more engagement a video gets from new audiences, the more that type of content is recommended, and so on. 

For media companies with international franchises, will multi-language audio cannibalize content?

This is unlikely. Take German viewers, for instance: they can both be interested in viewing globally relevant content on a media companies’ main channel, as well as watching more culturally relevant content on a dedicated channel. This is also true of international audiences visiting a dedicated German channel. 

How to transition from multiple language channels to one?

One of the most important things to do is to dub the video back catalog and not just the new ones, so viewers from around the world don’t run out of content to consume. Not doing this will hurt session time and negatively impact recommendations. When discussing  the transition from multiple channels to one, one of YouTube’s most successful creators, Mr. Beast said, “It was pretty simple really: we made the announcement that we’d be moving to the main channel then slowly started deleting videos on the languages channels.” Companies and creators would be forgiven for thinking the process is more complicated than it is, but with AI dubbing taking care of localization, the logistics are pretty simple. 

What is the cost of dubbing for multi-language audio?

The cost of dubbing varies by dubbing provider, but using Papercup’s AI dubbing platform dramatically reduces the cost because AI does the heavy lifting. Papercup’s AI new multi-audio dubbing platform is self-service. Here’s how it works:

  • Upload videos to the platform
  • The AI platform generates new language tracks the same length as the original 
  • A team of professional translators verify the quality
  • Upload the new language tracks to YouTube

Start dubbing your videos for YouTube’s multi-language feature now and massively increase your reach.