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Embed a YouTube Video Without Suggested Videos

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Embed a YouTube Video Without Suggested Videos

One of the great things about YouTube is the ability to embed videos on other sites.

Not only does it open up a whole new realm of possibilities for viewer retention if you choose to allow your videos to be embedded, but it will enable you to incorporate useful videos into your blogs and other content.

To do this, all you need to do is add “?rel=0” to the end of the URL in your embed code. As an example, here is the embed code that YouTube outputs for which we have added the argument and highlighted it so you can see where it needs to go;

<iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/PO9rEOcWo6M?rel=0” frameborder=”0″ allow=”accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture” allowfullscreen></iframe>

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In the past, YouTube has been very relaxed about how their content is shown, making for an excellent resource for those who need video content but can’t host it themselves.

Unfortunately, things are a little less relaxed these days.

One symptom of that is a change in YouTube’s attitude to displaying recommended videos on embedded videos.

Specifically; you used to be able to opt-out of having recommendations show up on embedded content, but that option has gone.

It used to be the case that you could click a checkbox when getting your embed link to let YouTube know you didn’t want recommendations popping up at the end, or, if you were pressed for time and knew your stuff, simply add a “rel=0” argument to the URL.

We’re sorry to say there is not presently a way around this change in YouTube’s thinking. But, as with many YouTube limitations, there are alternative approaches to consider, and information to unpack.

We can’t tell you how to embed a YouTube video without suggested videos popping up at the end, but we can help you understand why this is the case now, and how to make the most of a bad situation.

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Why Would You Want to Remove Recommended Videos From Embedded Content?

The primary reason you might want to prevent recommended videos from showing up on embedded videos is if you are making video content specifically as a companion to something external to YouTube.

This could be an accompanying video for a written tutorial, or a short clip from your phone of an event you have written about in your blog.

In cases like these, you might not want things popping up that could lead your viewers away from your site. Suppose you go to the trouble of creating a companion video for your blog post.

In that case, you almost certainly don’t want people clicking on an unrelated recommended video at the end and falling down the YouTube rabbit hole, losing interest in your content.

Retention is one of the most significant factors of success when making online content of any medium. A small number of people who view a lot of your content can be worth considerably more than a large number of people who only look at one thing and never come back.

Turning recommended videos off didn’t guarantee that your blog or site would retain viewers after the video was finished, but it at least removed the possibility of them being lured away by a keyboard playing cat!

Why Did YouTube Make This Change?

Though we’re confident we can accurately guess why YouTube decided to force recommended videos on embedded content, it’s worth mentioning that we are guessing. YouTube has its moments when it comes to transparency, but they don’t explain every action they take.

Ironically, the most likely reason they made the change to force recommended videos into embedded content is the very same reason we mentioned above for why someone might want to remove them; retention.

There are many metrics that YouTube consider important when judging the success of a video or channel, but retention is up there among the big ones. In other words, if a viewer arrives on YouTube, watches the first minute of a video, and leave the site never to return, YouTube probably isn’t going to recommend that video much in future.

YouTube wants people to stay on their platform because the longer people are on YouTube or watching YouTube videos, the more opportunity YouTube has to serve them ads and make money. If they allow you to disable recommended videos on embedded content, whether or not a viewer continues watching YouTube content is entirely out of YouTube’s hands, and they don’t like that. Sure, filling their screen with recommended videos doesn’t guarantee the viewer will stick around, but it does increase the chances. And at least YouTube got to try.

How to Embed a YouTube Video Without Suggested Videos

Not Fair?

The first reaction to learning YouTube has made this change is often that it isn’t fair for them to force you to show recommended content on your site in this way.

It’s worth remembering that YouTube is essentially providing a very expensive service for free. Very few free services come without compromise. For example, to watch a YouTube video, you have to accept that there will be ads. However, if you decide to pay for YouTube Premium, you will no longer receive ads, because YouTube is using your subscription fee instead of the ad revenue you might have generated.

It may not seem fair at first glance, but the unavoidable reality is that YouTube has to pay its bills like every other company, and this is just another way they ensure they can keep doing that without having to charge you to use their service.

It is also worth noting that, if YouTube were a subscription-only service, they would not need to do things like this. Granted they probably wouldn’t allow embedded videos at all, but they wouldn’t need to take steps to keep people on their platform for as long as possible. Consider Netflix, who are entirely subscription-based. They are getting paid whether you are on their service for five minutes of fifty hours. In fact, in that business model, it actually becomes beneficial to have users spend less time on their platform since they get paid the same subscription fee regardless but more watch time means more costs in bandwidth.

Silver Lining?

So, you can’t disable recommended videos in your embedded content, but you might not be forced to accept that YouTube is going to serve up other YouTuber’s content on your website.

We mentioned above that the way you would have removed recommended videos in the past was to either check the option when you get your embed link or add an argument to the URL. Well, that argument still has a purpose. Now, if a video has the “rel=0” argument, the recommendations shown will only be from the same channel as the video that is being embedded. It may not be perfect, but at least your viewers will be getting lured away by more of your content.

To do this, all you need to do is add “?rel=0” to the end of the URL in your embed code. As an example, here is the embed code that YouTube outputs for which we have added the argument and highlighted it so you can see where it needs to go;

<iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/PO9rEOcWo6M?rel=0” frameborder=”0″ allow=”accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture” allowfullscreen></iframe>

There is no option for this in the settings you are presented with when you click to embed the video, so you will have to add the code manually. You will also need to be sharing a video from a channel with at least one other video for this to work—YouTube can’t recommend other videos from the same channel if there aren’t any!

It’s also worth noting that the above method only applies to situations where you are inputting the full embed code. If you are using a platform like WordPress, the embed code that is part of the platform may not recognise arguments or may overwrite your arguments with its own.

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Are There Alternatives?

Unfortunately, not if you want to use YouTube to embed your videos. You could use other platforms, such as Vimeo, or DailyMotion, but those platforms have their own foibles to deal with, and this is a YouTube blog, so we’ll leave that to someone else. You could always host the videos yourself, but this can be a very costly road to go down, especially if you expect to get a lot of traffic.

Video hosting requires a lot of bandwidth, not to mention storage, hence why YouTube is so keen to squeeze the most revenue from each viewer. If you are dealing with a one or two videos on a low traffic site, you might be able to get away with hosting the videos yourself. If you have plenty of traffic on your site, however, hosting your own videos could very quickly land you with a huge bill from going over the bandwidth allowance that your web host provides.

The best option, in our opinion, is to use the method outlined above to ensure any recommended content is from your channel, and make the most engaging content you can. If everything goes to plan, your viewers won’t disappear off into YouTube Land because your content will have held their attention. And if they do, they’ll be disappearing off to another of your videos.

One final thought on alternatives; consider how important it is that your post exists outside of YouTube. If it is relatively short, consider putting it in the video description rather than an external post. This eliminates the problem of rogue YouTube suggestions at the end of the video, and it could help with the SEO of your video!

When are Embedded YouTube Videos Useful?

If you’re sitting there wondering why anyone might want embedded videos on their site, first off; kudos for reading this far into the post! There are plenty of situations where embedded videos are useful, and we’re going to give you a few examples. Before we do that, we’ll say that the reason for embedded videos is nearly always the same; companion content.

It may be that the page you are embedding the video on is the companion, rather than the video itself (example below), but this is nearly always the fundamental reason you would do this.

Video Alternatives

The first and most obvious situation where an embedded video would be used is when the video and the written content on the page it is being embedded are the same content in different mediums.

The video would usually come with a caption informing the reader that there is a video version of the post if they prefer, with a similar note about the written version in the description of the video on YouTube.

Additional Content

Videos can also be used to provide additional detail or context to an article. For example, if you were writing a post about camping in the woods, you might embed a video on how to build a campfire, rather than write a whole section about it in the post itself.

This is particularly useful for reducing the amount of text your post needs to get your information across while not reducing the amount of information you are conveying.

Video Breakdowns

Though the video is being embedded in your post, there is no rule that states that the video has to be secondary content. The text could be supplementary to the video, such as expanding on things said in the video. It could even be a breakdown of the video, such as a deep dive on a newly released movie trailer.

Demonstrations

Typically more common on business websites than blogs, demonstration videos can help to show a reader what the text on the page is talking about. For example, a business that sells high-tech computer-controlled heavy machinery might embed a video showing that machinery in action.

Final Thoughts

We don’t like not being able to answer the question being posed at the top of the post. Unfortunately, when it comes to how to embed a YouTube video without suggested videos rearing their head at the end, there is no solution to get around it, only alternatives and compromises.

As with all immovable obstacles in life, this should be seen as an opportunity to grow and improve in other areas. Make your content more engaging so that people are less likely to click off to another video at the end. Make more content for your channel so you can at least take advantage of the ability to limit the suggested videos to your own content.

Any excuse to improve your content should be seen as a good thing.

By Alan Spicer - YouTube Certified Expert

UK Based - YouTube Certified Expert Alan Spicer is a YouTube and Social Media consultant with over 15 years of knowledge within web design, community building, content creation and YouTube channel building.

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