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How to Add Chapters to Your YouTube Videos (and Why)

YouTube creators can do many things to their videos. They can even create chapters and label them. However, what do you need to do to add chapters to a YouTube video, and why should you do it?

To add chapters to YouTube videos, log into the YouTube account and click on “edit video”. Then, go to the description page and find the timestamps with the times and descriptions. Find the very beginning of the timestamps, and type 0:00 into the chapter description, then click Save.

There are many related questions that you may have about adding chapters and why these chapters need or should be added in future videos, and even with videos from the past. These questions will be answered below.

Step-By-Step Chapter Making Process

  1. Log into your YouTube account
  2. Click Edit Video
  3. Go to the Description page
  4. Find or create timestamps
  5. Add 0:00 and the description at the beginning of the timestamps
  6. Click Save

Timestamps are an important part of making chapters. They tell the viewer when a certain topic is introduced and have a small description of what is being discussed in that particular part of the video. This is imperative when creating chapters. If the timestamps are not present, the chapters will not appear.

Once the process is completed and you take a look at how the new and improved video looks, don’t freak out if the chapters aren’t seen on the video yet. There will be times, more often than not, when the chapters are seen immediately after saving the changes to the video. If it doesn’t appear immediately, wait and see the next day. The chapters can take up to twenty-four hours to be put in place. (Source)

For a more detailed description of how to create chapters for a YouTube video, watch the following video.

Why and What to Do if Chapters are Not Seen

However, there are instances when the chapters can’t be seen after twenty-four hours because of certain requirements or conditions that were not met.

Chapters may not be showing up because of a simple mistake such as not adding a 0:00 timestamp. Typing 0:00 is one thing, but it also needs a description. The first chapter description is often “Intro.” Don’t forget the short chapter description. Another simple reason is putting a period between the zeros, and not a colon. (Source)

Another reason could be that there are not enough, or there are too many chapters. If there are fewer than three chapters in the video, the chapters will not appear. This is because the video is very short and there’s not much content to mention. If there are more than fifty chapters, the chapters will not show up either. Although, there probably shouldn’t be a video so long enough that fifty chapters are needed.

The chapters could also not work because there are one or more chapters that are less than ten seconds. The reason being is that if there is a topic that can be covered in ten seconds, it’s not very thorough, and people want thorough content and not something that will be lightly skimmed over because that is a waste of time. (Source)

One more common mistake that happens is that the timestamps are not in order. Instead, they are spread throughout the description box. Two things can help you resolve this: one is to double-check the timestamps and make sure that they are in order. The second is to make sure that all the timestamps are grouped together in one block.

Some other useful suggestions and tips to look for when chapters are not appearing are the following:

  • Active Copyright strikes
    • If there are active copyright strikes, the chapter feature will be restricted.
  • Less than 1K subscribers
  • May be inappropriate content in the video
  • Clickable links in the chapter
    • Add the links after the timecodes, otherwise the chapters will not appear

Why Chapters Should be Added

Chapters should be added to most YouTube videos for a variety of reasons. One is that the viewers will have a better user experience, and that is the goal for most YouTubers or anybody who works on the internet with blogs, articles, and websites. The chapters provide an easy go-to for viewers to jump to certain content they want to watch.

The timestamps are usually below the video and are very good ways to get to a certain part easier. However, the catch is that the viewer has to scroll down below the video, find which particular content they want to watch, and then scroll back up and find the exact time they want to watch.

With Chapters, all the viewer has to do is hover above the timeframe of the video with their mouse and see the time, chapters, and description, and click on it easily.

Chapters should be added to YouTube videos because they increase the video’s visibility on the internet. For example, if a person were to search on Google about how to play the guitar, not only will articles and blogs will pop up, but also videos. And Google will also pinpoint key elements from the video that would most likely help in this person’s search. (Source)

Chapters are also a good idea because not only does it make it easier for the viewer to find what they’re looking for, but it also makes the video a lot more organized and well-put-together, and it could help the creators as well to keep similar topics together.

There are some instances when chapters don’t have to be added to videos. Some examples of these types of videos that shouldn’t have chapters are:

  • Music
  • Film/Animation
  • Video is extremely short (Two minutes or less).

The chapters would be slightly useless in these cases, because if there were chapters in these videos, such as film, it might just spoil the film, and the formatting might not look as decent as other videos, like How-to videos. Also, it might just be because the video is too short, or it’s not needed.

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