YouTube recently announced changes to their channel layout, putting an emphasis on the importance of the subscriber and on creating and cultivating a community of brand enthusiasts through engaging content. Through the new channel layout, brands can create different experiences to subscribers and non-subscribers, helping to retain and engage existing subscribers and help convert non-subscribers.
The new layout change will be made available on March 7th; however most brands won’t be required to adopt the new layout until mid-June.
Within the new layout, YouTube has eliminated the customizable background and replaced it with Content Art—a photo banner that automatically resizes depending on browser size and the device used. The Channel Art does not have to be an image; it may also contain an unlimited amount of text with a call to action.
YouTube has also eliminated the image mapping function and replaced it with the ability to add links that show up as icons on your Channel Art. You can list up to four verified sites, which can vary from a brand’s Facebook page to a brand’s website.
For non-subscribers, a brand’s landing page features a Channel Trailer that automatically begins when a visitor lands on the brand channel. The Channel Trailer takes up prime real estate on the homepage of the channel, making it an important asset that brands can use to give a brief description about their channel, promote specific campaign videos or engaging content.
YouTube has added a Guide, which lives on the left hand side of every YouTube page and is comprised of every user’s subscribed Channels. Through the use of the Guide, YouTube has made it easier for subscribers to navigate back to a specific Channel with just one click and optimizes navigation so that users are one click away from the YouTube content they care about the most.
Curating Content with Sections
In addition to the Channel Trailer, YouTube gives brands greater control over how content is displayed by enabling them to create custom experiences through the use of Sections. Sections can contain a playlist, videos or both.
Creating a Community through Tabs
Instead of landing on a brand’s channel to consume only videos, YouTube has added a tab functionality that enables users to interact with the channel on various levels. The five different tabs that live on a brand’s YouTube channel are: Overview (Home), Videos, Discussion, About and Custom. Brands are able to enable or disable the Discussion and Custom tab.
The Overview or Home tab is where the Channel Trailer lives for non-subscribers and where Sections live.
The Videos tab displays all of a brand’s video content.
The Discussion tab is where YouTube emphasizes the community aspect of the new platform, allowing users to comment directly on the Channel in addition to commenting on specific videos.
The About tab informs visitors about the brand, what their YouTube channel offers, and their other online platforms. The About tab is also where the Feature Channels list lives in addition to living on the right hand side of the page.
The Custom tab, which has its own unique URL, is the only part of the new YouTube design that can be targeted based on IP addresses. Using this IP address targeting capability, the Custom tab is extremely useful for brands that want to create a Global YouTube Channel where they can target country specific content. Note: The Custom tab is only available once a YouTube rep has verified your brand.
Why It Matters
- YouTube is moving away from being a video-only platform and is turning into a dynamic, highly visual environment for users to engage with brands.
- The new features (sections, trailers, etc.) emphasize the importance of rich content to recruit new subscribers.
- By making this shift, YouTube is emphasizing the importance of a brand channel subscribers and on creating and cultivating a community of brand enthusiasts through engaging content. It is no longer a video repository and instead a true social media platform.
- The new Channel layout reflects YouTube’s recognition of the importance of maintaining a consistent experience across the multiple devices site visitors are using to consume content on YouTube, from mobile devices to TVs.
Contributors: Charlotte Runco, Celia von Bernuth, Stephanie Finn, Analise Siciliano