Changes this Year to YouTube

January 30, 2012

Changes this Year to YouTube

As with many of the popular social media platforms, YouTube recently unveiled some changes and enhancements just in time for the New Year.  Of these changes, three in particular beg a bit more explanation as they may directly impact your online marketing strategy.  (If you’re not yet utilizing this powerful marketing tool, take a look at our recent article on How to Integrate Video into your Social Media Marketing.)  Let’s take a few moments to review these three changes.

New Home Page

The general layout of the YouTube home page has been given a facelift to make it more streamlined and modern.  If you’re familiar with the platform you’ve probably already noticed that things have been moved around and rearranged.  For instance, the “Subscription Feed” is now positioned in the center of the page instead of the previous layout, which featured the most popular or trending videos.

This new layout presents a more personalized experience for each user and is part of an overall effort to bring YouTube more in line with other social networking sites.  It also benefits smaller users by allowing them a better chance of creating and nurturing their brand without being overtaken by larger, more viral videos.  As your subscribers watch, comment on and rate your latest video, your content will then appear in the feed of the subscribers and followers of each of your viewers, creating a smaller yet much more relevant viral effect.

New Channel Page

While the layout of this feature has been changed, for the most part it still behaves the same as it did before.  The most important change to the channel page is the fact that YouTube is making more of an effort to feature channels on search results pages for related keywords.  This means that in order to get the best results, you will need to activate, update and optimize your new channel and focus on using your targeted keywords or phrases properly.

To optimize your channel page you’ll want to do several things.  First, set up your background image (or modify your existing one) to reflect your brand and the products or services you offer.  You can do this by simply clicking “Edit Channel” in the right-hand corner of the page.  Next, edit the details of your channel to ensure thatyour title, description and tags include your keyword phrase.  Be sure to choose aclear and concise title and include in your description exactly what value and benefits your audience will receive by watching your videos.

Next you’ll want to customizethe design and layout of your channel by choosing one of four available templatesand select a featured video that automatically plays whenever someone visits your channel. You have the option to choose one of your past videos or to use your most recent video.  The final step in optimizing your channel page involves adding links to your other websites, blogs or social media profiles to your YouTube channel.  Be sure to use compelling copy that highlights the benefits and creates a call to action to encourage your visitors to click on your other links.

New Analytics Feature

Perhaps the most beneficial change that’s been rolled out for the New Year is the introduction of YouTube Analytics, which replaced the former version known as YouTube Insight.  This informative feature provides detailed data about your videos, activity and visitors.  Learn about your audience’s viewing habits and how each video is performing to identify what’s working and what might need a bit of tweaking to get better results.

Two notable features of the new YouTube Analytics include the Audience Retention feature (formerly called “Hotspots”), which lets you see the exact moment that viewers rewind to review or stop watching your videos altogether to identify exactly what content is performing the best.  The other new feature, “Playback Locations”, lets you pinpoint where your videos are being viewed the most (like on mobile devices, for instance).  You can also see who is embedding your videos and which blogs or websites are driving traffic and giving your videos the most views.

Tips and Tricks

To get the most out of the new YouTube changes, there are a few things you can and should do.  First, be active and consistent.  Upload fresh, relevant content as often as possibly (at least once a week) and participate by responding to comments and sharing other videos you like.  Next, be sure that your videos produce a clear call to action.  The goal is to encourage people to comment, rate and share to get you as much exposure as possible.

You’ll also want to be sure to properly optimize your channel page with the goal of getting it ranked for your main keyword phrase.  The more optimized your page, the more likely you’ll get found.

For more helpful tips and tricks on how to maximize the use of YouTube in your online marketing strategy, check out our Secrets of YouTube Marketing.