How to Add Chapters to YouTube Videos

by Matthias Funk | | Category: YouTube Marketing

What are YouTube chapters? How are they different from timestamps? How to add chapters to YouTube videos? If you are confused and want to learn how to use the new YouTube feature, then you should definitely check out this article!

What are YouTube chapters?

Chapters break up your YouTube video into sections, each with an individual preview. These chapters can help viewers by giving more info and context by allowing them to rewatch different parts of the video.

Video Chapters are automatically generated based on timestamps you enter in the video description and will show in the video progress bar (aka the “video scrubber bar”) below your video. In the following video Jan Fassbender explains the benefits of chapters and how to add them to your videos:

Open video player in lightbox

According to YouTube’s own official channel chapters can help audiences to better navigate within the videos:

”Chapters help viewers better navigate and enjoy your videos.” YouTube Creators

YouTube chapter markers are also visible on Google Search when using a mobile device. This helps viewers to skip chapters when they are on-the-go.

youtube chapters google serp

How do you create chapters in a YouTube video?

To turn on chapters for your video:

  1. Go to the video you want to edit.
  2. Select EDIT VIDEO under the video.
  3. In the “Description” box of the “Add details” page, add a list of timestamps and titles.
  4. Click “Save”.

Chapters will then show up alongside the scrubber bar as segments. You can do this while uploading your video or later when editing it. tubics’ YouTube SEO tool can also help you with this. It automatically checks on the proper formatting and gives you additional advice on what to optimize further regarding video title, description, and tags.

youtube timestamps best practices

To link to a specific part of a video, type the starting time in the following format:

m:ss - [Chapter Content]  for video lengths shorter than 10 minutes

mm:ss - [Chapter Content]  for video lengths between 10 and 59 minutes

hh:mm:ss - [Chapter Content] for videos longer than 1 hour

“Make sure the first timestamp listed in your video description starts at 0:00, and that your video has at least 3 timestamps or chapters, with each chapter being 10 seconds or longer.” YouTube Help

For spacing and separation of the timestamp, you can use dashes or just add a single space. Which one you use doesn’t really matter because YouTube will just take the text afterward.

When are changes updated?

Usually immediately after you made them. If they don’t update immediately, YouTube says that they will update in the next 24 hours. If they don’t, make sure you formatted your timestamps correctly.

Should all videos have chapter markers?

The answer is no! For certain types of videos, it simply doesn’t make sense to add chapters. If your video relates to the following content categories I’d rather advise against adding chapters:

  • Film & Animation
  • Music
  • Comedy
  • Entertainment

Chapters here can reduce watch time and audience retention and so let your video rank worse on search engines.

Categories like News & PoliticsHowto & StyleEducation and Science & Technology may on the other hand benefit through chapters since users might re-watch certain chapters.


youtube chapters


I mentioned earlier that longer videos can especially benefit from chapter markers. However, please always consider what’s best in your particular case. For example, you upload an interview and include some intriguing topics in the title (clickbaity in a way).


How to disable YouTube chapters?

Just change the first timestamp from 00:00 to something else. For example:

00:00 Intro ——> 00:03 Intro

Are chapters available in every country?

According to YouTube, yes, they are. They are available in every country and every language.

  • Warning! The chapter text will only be in the language of the creator. It won’t be translated.

What do you think of this function? Are you going to use the new chapter markers? Comment down below your thoughts 😃 .

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