Custom YouTube Thumbnails for All, Rewards, and More HUGE Features Coming to YouTube [Reel Web #46]

Custom YouTube Thumbnails for All, Rewards, and More HUGE Features Coming to YouTube [Reel Web #46]

This week on Reel Web, we take a look at a lot of real exciting changes and updates coming to YouTube, many of which were announced only at Vidcon last week.  We have been talking to a lot of YouTube people and we sat in on some of their sessions and managed to pick up some features and changes coming to YouTube that haven’t been announced to the public.

Associating Domains w/ YouTube Partner Channels & IRDB

First, if you’re wondering what IRDB is and do a Google search, be aware the first ten results you get have nothing do with it.  It stands for Internet Registry Data Base.  This is a recent change discussed last week, that if you are a partner, YouTube had mentioned there would be a change which allows you to link and authenticate your domain to your channel.  Just go to settings, on the left-hand click on associated domain, and enter domain.  There’s a verification method, but if you’re signed in to webmaster tools, it takes care of that.

Google understands a lot about your domain if your domain has been around for a while.  They want to take what they’ve learned and use them within YouTube.

YouTube to Allow ALL USERS to Upload Custom Thumbnails

In the next couple of months, if you’re monetized, which anyone can do, you’ll be able to upload custom thumbnails.  We don’t know how or when, but it is coming sooner than anticipated.  It will be interesting to see how they monitor and police that.

Bulk Annotations 

Thought We're not totally sure what this will be, they annouced that we'll have the ability to do "bulk annotations."  Apparently, this means that we'll have the ability to create pop-up description changes across all videos on a creator's channel.  Really, I have no idea what that could mean but Im hoping that this really will allow you to create default annotations for videos  so as to not have to manually add annotations that you would normally add to multiple videos. We'll let you know when we have a better understanding as to what this is but feel free to comment below if you have more information.

Playlist Changes

This cool change allows you to create playlist and specify start and end times within that video.  If you have a long video on your playlist and part of it is just people getting settled or whatever, and you want it to start at about 34 minutes, you can specify the actual point you want it to start.  You can imagine how this may also be used to create some interesting mashups with other videos.

Reward System—Giving Creators Gold

Custom YouTube Thumbnails for All, Rewards, and More HUGE Features Coming to YouTube [Reel Web #46]YouTube is working on reward systems for awarding creators.  We’re not too sure about the complete details of this new rewards program, but at this point, we know that anyone who has had over a million subs will get a big gold play button.  We assume that their play button will turn gold but what we do know is that that they will actually mail these creators a big gold-plated button.  That’s kind of like a movie star award.

Changing Channel Name Displayed

This change will allow you to change your displayed channel name through Google + to be your actual name or whatever your Google + name is.  It’s not open for brands or partners, but only to regular users.  YouTube got a lot of feedback from new users, because if you’re new, you can’t customize your name and stuff.  Somehow, now you’ll be able to can the name displayed on your video.  It won’t change your actual URL, but it will change how it is displayed across other places in YouTube.  Here's some additional information on how to do that.

Hush, Hush Home Changes

YouTube will be making changes to the home screen.  We wanted to talk to someone to get more information about these changes but, no one would talk publicly about them.  The best we understand is that one complaint is when you go to your homepage, it’s almost like a Twitter feed, it shows your most recent video from your most recent subscription.  If you want to see someone’s video, and are subscribed to someone who posts a lot of videos each day, the one you want to see will be difficult to find.  They’re trying to fix it.  We think it will have individual channels on left sidebar and give you a number of how many unread or unwatched videos there are.  The thumbnails are going to be much bigger.  It’s going to be look like Google +, with a very clean interface.

Private & Scheduled Upload Dates Fixed

This is already live and we’re very excited about it.  It used to be that when you would set a video to be public after initially setting it to private or scheduled,  the date shown would be for the day you uploaded it vs. the day that you made it public.  The problem with this is was that subscribers wouldnt always see the updates as they may have been treated as if they were made public on the date initially uploaded as opposed to when you wanted it available.  They've finally fixed this and now it shows the time you send it as the day you intended to and make it public.

YouTube Analytics Changes

  • One analytical change is that the algorithm changed to be more related to the time watch and how long people are getting into videos.  This means you’ll be able to see how long people watched your video from anywhere your video is played.
  • Second is Instant Audience Retention.  You used to have to wait for a couple of hundred thousand views, before you can find that out.  Now, they’re working on a way for it to show up instantly what the retention is.
  • There will also be a change in Annotation Reports.  Wouldn’t it be great to know if your subscribe annotation is working and people are clicking on it.  New stats are coming out about annotations that will be helpful.  Annotations that link to other videos, channels, and playlists are a factor in the algorithm.  Collecting data and giving it to us, but how will we use it.  Will we link to other videos if people aren’t clicking on it or clicking on it and watching it for a short time.
  • The last one is Improved Device Metrics.  You’ll have better analytics in regards to what people are viewing it on—tablet, mobile device, flat screen TV, etc.  You’ll have better metrics concerning how players react based on which device they’re watching your videos on.  That will be huge.

QUESTION:  Have any interesting ideas as to how you could use the new playlist feature?

View The Full Video Transcript:

This week in Reel Web we're going to talk about a lot of changes and updates that we have recently found out after hanging out with it's coming to YouTube, so we want to give you guys all of the lowdown of what's coming up this week on the Reel Web. Sunglasses Edition. Hey guys. Welcome to another episode of the Reel Web, where every week, we just highlight for you guys some of the online video news from the week before. This is Mark Robertson. Hello.

Hello. Hopefully, some of them know me.

This is the guy who runs and owns ReelSEO and the website and all the stuff that you guys watch. It's his brainchild and it's real exciting for me to have him on here with us, so together, we want to go through some of the news. We've been hanging out at VidCom for the past, well, couple of days. We've been talking to a lot of the people at YouTube and sitting in some of the YouTube sessions and picking up on some not yet announced news items, features and changes that are coming to YouTube that we want you guys to know about. We mentioned it last week, the IRDB thing, can you explain what that is? Mark got the lowdown on that.

Yeah, IRDB. If you do a search in Google, the first ten results have nothing to do with this, but it makes sense. I don't know why I didn't think of this. Internet Registry Data Base. Long story short, in the partner bulletin, as Tim covered last week, YouTube had mentioned that there was going to be an upcoming change, where you could, if you're a partner, link and authenticate your domain to your YouTube channel, and it said you need to something IRDB, but it turns out, that really has nothing to do with anything. If you're a partner, all you do is, you go to your settings and on the left side you'll see something. It's one of the last things like associated domain or something. You enter your domain and if there's a verification method, but if you sign on to Webmaster tools, it just automatically says, good to go. We tried last night. I put YouTube.com as my domain and of course it said, pending review, so

We're not sure that's your website. Cool. So guys, that's available for all partners now and it's supposed to do what for people's videos?

Google understands a bit about your web site, assuming your domain's been around for a while. They would realize that ReelSEO's about video and it's probably about video SEO and the thought is, or what they said is that they're going to take that learning – those learnings and use them within YouTube, so hopefully, that would mean that if we wrote, or we did a video called Video Marketing, I would think that would give us a bump, but there's really no solid indication of what it's going to do

Another cool thing that's coming up, that's – we're going to talk about it.

Pretty soon, in the next couple of months, they're going to be rolling out the ability for anybody that's monetized, which anyone can do, assuming your account's in good standing. They're going to let you upload custom thumbnails.

Everyone.

Mark:I'm curious as to how they're going to police that.

Maybe their content id is going to be scanned – I don't know, but -

Maybe they have like, flesh recognition.

We don't know exactly how that's going to happen – how that's going to roll out or when, but we do know it's coming and we think it's coming sooner that we anticipated. We also heard that bulk annotations are coming, where you can set – just like default annotations, you know, like recently set channels and channel default so you can set for your meta data, for your description tag, monetization yes or no, that kind of thing, and we talked about that like a week or two ago, but now, it looks like you can do the same thing with the annotations, which Mark's been excited about.

Yeah, I mean, we haven't seen exactly what that means, but my hope is like one of the things with Tim's videos, sometimes I do the annotations and I would love to have just invisible left and invisible right to go the last week's episode and this week's episode, but that takes a lot of time. If I could just say, hey, put this on all our videos and go to the most recent and this play list, etcetera, that would be great.

We use the same out show in all our videos, so all we'd have to do is go in and change the link to some different videos if we're doing that, but our subscription button is always in the same place and that would make it pretty easy. Another cool thing that's coming up is a change to play list and I think they've already publicly talked about this before, right?

It's actually live now and essentially what it does is, it allows you to create a play list where you can specifically start and end times of the videos within that play list, so you could do one to two minutes of this video and then and etcetera.

If you have a video is like – has some really good content in it, but if it's like a new person watching the play list and you don't want them necessarily to start at the beginning – say like you did a Google hangout. You have like an hour long hangout that just automatically got bumped to your YouTube channel, but you want that in there – in your hangout play list, you just want to start at like 34 minutes, because that's when the action started. The first half hour is just people like getting settled or whatever, and now when you put that in your play list, when people watch through the play list, it will start right at whatever, and end at whatever point you want them to. It's like pseudo-trimming your play list. Here's another update and this is another one of those head scratchers. It's like, that's cool – is the big gold play button.

Oh yeah, so we heard before we had actually seen this, we heard that anyone with over a million views is going to get a gold play button and we assume that meant that the button on their player is going to turn gold. I'll tell you about that in just a sec, but they also are working on reward systems for people that have, you know, 100,000 views and even lower and they didn't say what those are. The gold button is actually, literally a - I think it's metal. It's 24 caret gold, but it's a button about this big that they mail to you.

It's like a huge belt buckle, but like way too big for a big buckle, so that's kind of cool. It's like if you're a movie star, I guess you get certain awards and so this may be -

Sure. Sure.

That's kind of cool. Now, this one is significant and I don't think either of us honestly understand this one too much. As far as being able to change your channel name through Google Plus to now be your actual name or whatever you're Google Plus is.

It's not available to partners, it's just regular users, but I think it's – I think they probably got a lot of feedback because there's some confusion, if you're new and you set up a new YouTube account, you can't really customize your name and such and so, somehow they're going to allow you now to change the name that's displayed on your videos for your channel.

I think it includes like changing your name or it shows up in related posts and subscription boxes. Like maybe not like your actual URL, but how your name is displayed across other places in YouTube. If your channel name is like, Catlicker 69 and you're kind of like tired of that name and you wanted to have like your own name, like Tim Schmoyer or Mark Robertson or whatever, now you could display that. Instead of Catlicker 69, it could be – that was really random there.

I do know it doesn't change the URL right now, because that was one of the complaints I saw, so -

YouTube home page changes. Now, we wanted to actually talk to a YouTube person about this to get more information, but apparently, like none of them would talk publicly about anything. I guess they need to have press people with them or whatever, so we're just going to tell you the best we understand, the whole YouTube changing.

I think one of the complaints right now is that when you go to your home page of YouTube, the wall is just a – it's almost like a Twitter feed. It's the most recent video from your most recent subscription, and if you're – if I want to see Tim's videos, but I'm subscribed to somebody who puts up 50 videos a day, I'm going to have a really hard time finding them. I think they're trying to fix that. I don't really know what it's going to look like.

Yeah, I think part of it will have like individual channels down the left side bar, so and it will give you a little number of how many unread or unwatched videos there are and things like that. We knew that the thumbnails are going to be way bigger. It's going to look like Google Plus, very clean interface so -

Another update that's coming and it's already live and this is going to be very exciting for most of you and for us. It used to be that you would upload a video to YouTube, and maybe you wanted private for a little while because you want to do an annotation, you want to get your custom thumbnail up, you want to do all this stuff to it and maybe you want to set it public two days later. The problem was, it would be like at the bottom of everyone's subscription feed because it is put into people's sub-boxes based – or subscription feed based on upload date.

Yeah. They fixed it.

Yeah, so now what's it do?

It shows the right – the day that you set it from private to public, so that's all with that.

Yeah, so if you uploaded it like last week, and you set it private and then you made it public, like today, it actually shows up in people's subscription boxes for today, like at the top.

One thing to be careful about, because it's one person on my panel mentioned this, but if you have a bunch of old private videos that you know, you want to start monetizing, so you make them public, just realize that they're going to show up at the top of your feed to subscribers.

Making some updates to your Analytics in YouTube and they're very welcome, the ones I think, at least for me. The first one is, you guys know that the algorithm recently changed to be more related to the watched on videos, and how long people are getting into videos, but there was an indication of like – like are people watching your videos longer on YouTube.com or if it got embedded in a certain site, like on the people on that site – are they watching the whole thing? Now, it looks like you'll be able to see from everywhere, how long people from different referrals, places and other sites – how long they watched your videos.

Another one is Instant Audience Retention is now [09:17]. It used to be that you'd have to wait for like, a couple thousand, hundreds, whatever views and it would take forever and it would only update once in a while, but now, they're hoping like – we want people to see instantly what the retention is on their videos from like the very first viewer, which I think is going to be cool.

Also, they're updating Analytics to include annotation reports. I mean, wouldn't it be great to know if your subscribe annotation is actually effective or working. Are people clicking on it? They're having a lot more stats come out about annotations, which I think is going to be awesome and super helpful, especially if we don't know if our out or end sites are working and things like that.

Yeah, and what I find interesting about it is that, they said in the Creator Playbook, and we mentioned this last year, that annotations that link to other videos, channels and play lists are actually a factor in the algorithm and so, I'm kind of wondering you know, obviously they're collecting that data, now they're giving it to us, but you know, what can we learn from that? Maybe, do we need to link to different videos if we don't see people clicking on them, or are they then going to see that, you clicked on it and they also didn't watch it very long, so, you know, we'll be doing some testing obviously to see if we can get some insight on that.

Also, finally – and this one's kind of cool. Improve device metrics, which means that you will have better analytics that tells you, from people who are watching on a tablet versus a mobile device versus a console on a big screen TV versus YouTube desktop. You'll have better metrics concerning how the players interact with your video content based on which device they are watching your videos on. I think that is going to be huge. There are a lot of changes and things happening at YouTube and we would love to hear from you in the comments below, which one of these you think, are going to be the most significant for us as creators and as marketers? Which ones are you going to be using the most and be more useful for you?

Tell us below if you got any ideas on how to use this new play list feature because, I'm sure there's some real interesting creative ideas that can be done. You could do this in YouTube Video Editor, but not with someone else's video, so, you know. It'd be interesting to see what you could do with that.

Yeah. Cool. Well, thanks for hanging out with us guys. Click subscribe, if this is your first time here. We'd love to have you join us for these videos and creator's videos and all the awesome stuff we're doing for you guys every single week, so subscribe and we will see you guys again next week for another ReelSEO Reel Web video thing that we do. Thanks for hanging out guys and welcome to the beach. Bye.

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About the Author -
Tim Schmoyer is the host of ReelSEO's Creator's Tip and the author of "30 Days to a Better YouTube Channel". You can see some of his personal videos on his Family Vlog Channel. View All Posts By -

What do you think? ▼
  • Carla Marshall

    Hugely exciting news about the update to GA regarding annotations and device metrics - it's going to give us so much more  information to feed back into VSEO campaigns. Yay for custom thumbnails too.

  • http://www.videoleadsonline.com/ videoleadsonline

    I use the new playlist trim feature to help make Hangouts more digestible! I have experimented with this and YES we can have the same video in a PL multiple times... Cool Beans!That means We can have (for example) 1 PL that shows 3 different segments of the same video. So you can basically say to the viewer, watch the highlights of this crazy long video here in this Playlist instead of watching the whole thing. Then if the viewer gets hooked, they can just watch the entire video start to finish.I love the summary of all the new stuff, good Job Guys! Can I go with you next year?

    • http://www.reelseo.com/ reelseo

      videoleadsonline That would be great to have you join us next year.  DEFINITELY

  • Rune Flækøy

    A gold button i have made. http://www.norwaynationalnews.com/goldbutton1.png

  • Rune Flækøy

    A gold button i have made. http://www.norwaynationalnews.com/goldbutton1.png

  • http://www.wordandmouth.com/ DaveThackeray

    This article blew me away because I genuinely had no concept of any of these great enhancements until now. Keep rocking out this great content, folks!

  • Carla Marshall

    Hugely exciting news about the update to GA regarding annotations and device metrics - it's going to give us so much more  information to feed back into VSEO campaigns. Yay for custom thumbnails too.

  • http://www.videoleadsonline.com/ videoleadsonline

    I use the new playlist trim feature to help make Hangouts more digestible! I have experimented with this and YES we can have the same video in a PL multiple times... Cool Beans!That means We can have (for example) 1 PL that shows 3 different segments of the same video. So you can basically say to the viewer, watch the highlights of this crazy long video here in this Playlist instead of watching the whole thing. Then if the viewer gets hooked, they can just watch the entire video start to finish.I love the summary of all the new stuff, good Job Guys! Can I go with you next year?

    • http://www.reelseo.com/ reelseo

      videoleadsonline That would be great to have you join us next year.  DEFINITELY

  • Rune Flækøy

    A gold button i have made. http://www.norwaynationalnews.com/goldbutton1.png

  • Rune Flækøy

    A gold button i have made. http://www.norwaynationalnews.com/goldbutton1.png

  • http://www.wordandmouth.com/ DaveThackeray

    This article blew me away because I genuinely had no concept of any of these great enhancements until now. Keep rocking out this great content, folks!

  • JeremyVest

    Just noticed that we now have the custom thumbnail option this morning.

    • http://www.videoleadsonline.com/ videoleadsonline

      JeremyVest I'm not seeing it yet... how are you seeing it show up.. when you upload a new video? When you edit an older video?Is it an ability to "upload" a new video or maybe just choose from more choices of thumbnail images... which one is it?

    • http://www.reelseo.com/ reelseo

      JeremyVest Ohh, can you send screenshots so we can write something up?

      • JeremyVest

        reelseo  videoleadsonline  At this time it just allows you to select an image. Here is a screenshot. http://t.co/C1KLrCsV

        • JeremyVest

          reelseo  videoleadsonline Sorry guys, we just became a partner today and did not realize it. 

  • MattWilcko

    Great to hear the custom thumbs are coming back? Any word on criteria? 100,000 views, etc? If anyone else recently got custom thumbs, can you share your total channel views, etc?

  • Kyle Clouse

    Looking forward to being able to select the custom thumbnails.

  • maxtrack

    I just noticed the custom thumbnail option is now active on my channel.  Hmmmm, what should I do with that?  I am very interested to know if anyone has any information on what appears to be the random flagging of "talking head" videos regarding potential "commercial rights" violations. I have a few videos where there is only the video I shot and my voice over which were flagged. How does one prove the content is your own when the content is completely your own creation?