After a particularly fraught week for the site, YouTube is hoping to get back on side with creators with the release of their Fan Finder feature. The site is offering creators the opportunity to produce Channel trailers as skippable TrueView ads which will appear across a range of videos. YouTube rolled out their Top Fan feature a while back which (whisper it) integrates very nicely with Google+ but this new initiative stays within the site and gives the chosen creators a chance to reach a wider, but carefully targeted audience. All users need to do is produce a promo, upload it to Fan Finder and YouTube will turn it into a TrueView video ad (if it's good enough? Not much info regarding a selection process).

YouTube's Top 5 Tips For Creating A Great Channel Promo Ad:

Keep your channel ad short and engaging: Introduce the viewer to your content; don’t assume they have heard of you or your channel before. Remember, your channel ad will run as a TrueView ad which the viewer can skip after 5 seconds, so get to the point.

Entertain the viewer: When in doubt “show” what your channel is about, don’t “tell”. If you have a comedy channel make sure your ad is funny, if you have a music channel make sure your ad has music. You get the drift.

Aim for a strong message: Keep your channel ad focused on your channel and why viewers should subscribe or check out your content.

Have a clear call to action: What do you want your viewers to do? This should be scripted and annotated in your channel ad. Don’t forget to explain what subscribe means (example: “Want to see more content? Subscribe here”).

Branding matters: Make sure your branding is clear and reiterated throughout the ad. You want viewers to remember your channel.

Fan Finder is free at the moment which of course gives YouTube access to lots of invaluable data as thousands sign up. It's still a fantastic opportunity for creators to grab a bit of free publicity though. Here's a couple of explainer videos about it all:

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  • Sandra Phinbow

    Im trying to add this i thought it would be a giggle for my son to do my make up for me, but I cant work out how to add it?

  • John Z Wetmore

    I just uploaded my first Fan Finder video. I will be very curious to look at the Analytics in a week or two to see how often it runs, and how many people stick with it past the 5-second mark. If it does well, I'll make a few more.

    • Carla Marshall

      Let us know the outcome!

      • John Z Wetmore

        After one month, my Fan Finder video has not had any views. I don't know if that is because YouTube doesn't like the video, or YouTube just can't find any matches for my channel, or YouTube doesn't have enough open slots for Fan Finder videos to play. I have ideas for additional Fan Finder videos, but I'm not going to produce them if they aren't going to be shown.