Channel Discovery and Design for Brands: The YouTube Advertiser Playbook – Part 5

Channel Discovery and Design for Brands: The YouTube Advertiser Playbook   Part 5

The Advertiser Playbook isn't much different from the Creator Playbook as it gets into this section, but for brands, it might be more important to have a nice channel layout that attracts the eye.  For those of you who'd like to take a look back at the Creator Playbook's thoughts on channels, here is our coverage of it.  It's up for some debate as to how important your channel is, though.  I think brands can benefit from a well-designed channel, but under the current format it's a bit of a mess.  Channels are great to house all your videos as your own with your branding, but YouTube tries everything to get a user off your channel.

Channel Discovery

Channel Discovery and Design for Brands: The YouTube Advertiser Playbook   Part 5

Channel discovery is a lot like video discovery and its metadata, only you're being a lot broader in the language you use to describe what you're about, with some specifics to your brand.  Here are the things you need to basically need to follow when creating the channel.

  • Update Your Channel Title

If you're a well-known brand, then using just your brand name will likely suffice.  If you're not a well-known brand, finding a channel name that combines your name with what you do will work better.  Sometimes, with a little creativity, a brand can describe exactly what they are about through a well-worded channel title, and if it's something that is highly-searched, it can benefit that way.  Still, the lesser-known brands will probably benefit from a combo.

  • Write A Channel Description

What are you about, where are you located, where can people contact you?  E-mail, phone numbers, websites, social networks.  This is who you are and how people can buy your product.

  • Add Channel Tags

Metadata for your channel.  Tags describe what your channel is about in a mixture of broad and specific terms.  The tags should not describe specific videos, but terms specific to your product, or your campaign slogans.

  • Add A Link To Your Website

Have an easy way for people to click directly over to your website once you've sold them with your tasty video content.

Channel Design

Channel Discovery and Design for Brands: The YouTube Advertiser Playbook   Part 5

Your channel design is how you personalize your brand on YouTube as something that looks uniquely your own, which is why it's such a letdown that YouTube doesn't let you stay on the channel once you find a video you like.  Sure, there's a "back" button that lets you go back when you're done, but that's kind of unprofessional.  Still, it's good to have one that looks nice and inviting.

  • Update Your Logo

Every channel has a thumbnail that tells the user what you are.  Find the image that represents your brand, your logo, and make that the image that shows up in search when people come looking for you.

Here's what the Playbook says about changing your logo:

To update your logo, go to Edit Channel, click the Appearance tab, and under the Avatar heading choose Select file.  Then pick an image from your computer.

It's under the Appearance tab that you can change almost any part of your layout.

  • Change the Background

You can change the color, or choose a background image, to create a poppin' background.  To change a color, go to Appearance > Choose A Color (under Background), then select a color and click Accept.  To use an image, go to Appearance > Choose File (under Background) and then select an image from your computer.

It's probably best to just use your logo, or at least the colors your brand represents, when making this background.  You aren't a brand for nothing.  Pick what suits your brand and your product/message best.  Obviously, with images, you can't use something in which someone else holds the rights.

  • Choose A Featured Format

The featured format allows you to highlight a specific video, probably your latest, as the video that plays automatically when someone arrives to your channel, by enabling the Featured Tab (Edit Channel > Featured Tab > Enable Featured Tab).

Then you can choose a format for the way the videos are laid out:

  1. Creator: A featured video from a playlist with a group of featured playlists
  2. Blogger: A reverse chronological vlogroll of a featured playlist or your recent activity
  3. Network: A featured video from a playlist with a group of featured channels
  4. Everything: A featured video from a playlist with a group of featured playlists and channels

Then you can choose your default tab.  Many use the "Featured" tab so that the featured video plays when people come to the channel, but you can also pick the "Feed" tab as the default, which shows all of your activity: new uploads, comments, and so forth will be the first thing people see.  There's also a "Videos" tab that displays all of your uploads.

A Well-Designed Channel Has Some Benefits, Now YouTube Has to Make A Change

Go to any channel on YouTube, and you'll see all of that brand/creator's videos, and that's awesome. That gives a certain authorship to the videos you want to watch. The problem is, I can't stay on a channel once I see a video I want to watch. Click on any video or playlist in a channel layout and it does not play in the convenient player at the top of the screen (that's reserved for the featured or latest video). It goes to the basic white, unbranded YouTube page after a click. That's something that needs work.  Still, channel design is important in the "ownership" of videos, and branding, so it shouldn't be taken altogether lightly.


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Posted in Youtube Marketing
About the Author -
Chris Atkinson joined ReelSEO in 2011. He is a longtime film and television reviewer, and has almost two decades of experience in the theater industry. He also writes on his personal blog - http://nymoviereviews.com. View All Posts By -

What do you think? ▼
  • John Bond

    I hope youtube is reading this.  YT destroyed channels that looked like college dorms in favor of grey lifeless overcrowded prison cells that boot you out as fast as you get in.I've been calling for youtube to give us tools to create awesome destination youtube channels.  I use to love surfing channels, chatting, and making friends – no longer.  YT is destroying it's social network in favor of becoming a professional internet cable channel funding its own content to compete with us original partners and then favoring them in search.  The current unfair trend – favoring and pushing longer videos over shorter videos in search and in featured status.  Let the market decide – youtube is killing the golden goose by unfairly favoring, pushing, content made by its new LA funded Networks.  What they should do is make a stable and fair platform and let the viewer market decide what they want to watch, listen to its partners and optimize what we want rather than dictating change.  This reminds me of how ebay went from free market auctions to over regulated, big company liquidation sale.  Most of its sellers moved from ebay to Amazon.

  • John Bond

    I hope youtube is reading this.  YT destroyed channels that looked like college dorms in favor of grey lifeless overcrowded prison cells that boot you out as fast as you get in.I've been calling for youtube to give us tools to create awesome destination youtube channels.  I use to love surfing channels, chatting, and making friends – no longer.  YT is destroying it's social network in favor of becoming a professional internet cable channel funding its own content to compete with us original partners and then favoring them in search.  The current unfair trend – favoring and pushing longer videos over shorter videos in search and in featured status.  Let the market decide – youtube is killing the golden goose by unfairly favoring, pushing, content made by its new LA funded Networks.  What they should do is make a stable and fair platform and let the viewer market decide what they want to watch, listen to its partners and optimize what we want rather than dictating change.  This reminds me of how ebay went from free market auctions to over regulated, big company liquidation sale.  Most of its sellers moved from ebay to Amazon.

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