YouTube’s New One Channel: 4 Big Changes and What They Mean for Your Brand

By Jessica Newfield in Social Media on June 12th, 2013

Last week, YouTube rolled out its new “One Channel” design across all of the site’s user channels. But what do these changes actually mean, and how will they improve your brand’s YouTube presence? Here are four key changes introduced by YouTube’s One Channel and how to make the most of these features. 1 – A Channel trailer will make it easy to target new viewers and quickly introduce them to the type of content your channel provides.  Brands can now choose a specific trailer that will only appear to viewers who aren’t already subscribed to the channel.  Make sure to keep your trailer short and sweet while still providing a strong call to action to subscribe. 2 – Changes to Channel Art will give marketers a way to create consistency in their brand’s visual identity across devices. YouTube has provided easy guidelines (below) for brands to follow when selecting their images and incorporating text and links, ensuring that the most important information always appears regardless of the device being used. Just as Facebook made updates to its News Feed in March to capitalize on the visual nature of posts and ensure consistency with mobile, the improvements to Channel Art will allow brands to reinforce branding and offer a uniform visual experience across all social media platforms.

3 – YouTube’s new “Sections” will allow for improved organization of your videos and playlists and a more customized user experience.  Brands should use sections to showcase their best content and organize their videos and playlists by themes.  (You can add tags to assign videos to different sections; every time you upload a new video with that tag, it will be added to the appropriate section.)  Also remember that a section doesn’t have to be exclusively made up of your own content—incorporating videos from other users that relate to your content can be a great way to reach a wider audience. 4 – Optimize both your channel and video metadata in order to be found in YouTube search. YouTube will now use your channel name instead of your user name in searches and recommendations, so make sure you do some test searches of your channel name to review how your channel is being presented and make changes as needed.  Also ensure that your channel description is concise, as only the first 45 characters will appear next to your avatar across YouTube. Video metadata is also becoming increasingly important now that the feed is more prominent on channels, so remember to include core keywords first in titles and incorporate descriptions that include links and keywords. Ultimately, YouTube’s goal is not simply to gain one-off views of individual videos but to create an entire subscription base to help brands build a continuous conversation with their customers. Thus the changes made with One Channel focus on customization and optimization—two areas that are crucial to any social media marketing campaign. Further, YouTube has reported that those who opted in to the changes early have seen a 20% increase in channel visits, indicating the new design is being well-received. As of June 5, the One Channel design has been automatically applied to all YouTube channels. If you haven’t updated your brand’s channel yet, you should do so as soon as possible—otherwise it will end up looking like the generic gray header below. But beyond simply avoiding the lackluster automatic design, converting to One Channel will allow for an improved user experience through greater customization.

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