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by Dean Marsden on 20th December 2011
Having been one of the last few in the office to be legitimately shown the new YouTube updates, I didn’t get straight into trying them out, so for many this blog post might feel like old news. However I thought I’d still put together a list of some features that I think are worth explaining further and how you can use them to improve your YouTube experience.
Let’s start with the updated visuals. This was one feature I think YouTube was due an update and after Cosmic Panda was introduced it was clear they were getting itchy feet when it came to the look of YouTube.
The new visuals were necessary for the new changes in functionality of the website, but more importantly it relates to Google’s new more corporate style design. The black, white, gray and red structured layout suggests a more grown up social network concept.
This leads us on to the biggest change, the social networking aspect. YouTube was not entirely thought of as a social network, it lacked the features other popular websites had. It is now much more social with this new update. Connecting your account to your Google plus and Facebook accounts is now heavily pushed. This will allow you to easily view uploads and comments made by your friends from those networks as well as your YouTube friends.
Below your connected account is quick access to the view your subscribed channels, so for marketers this is an excellent way to engage with your subscribers more. Currently, channels are displayed alphabetically so a trick to appear in this Home page list would be to have a channel name that begins with A, B, C or D, etc. A catchy logo/profile image would also help your channel stand out in the lists.
Following these are the promoted Trending and Popular video sections which featured heavily in the old design. Access to the categories is also in this list with a ‘see all’ link for a full list should you be someone who browses by channel type. Below that are six suggested channels based on your usage. This could again be another good way to gain more subscribers that would not have previously been aware of your channel. There are short-cut links on these buttons to allow for fast subscriptions, although be aware of a remove suggestion cross next to the side of it, I’d imagine once you are crossed out, you will not appear here again!
The central column is the biggest visual clue to YouTube’s intent to become more like a social network. It contains a stream of updates and new videos from your subscribed channels. This is an easy and quick way to view the latest updates. For content publishers it is now even more important and rewarding to deliver more videos and reply to comments so that your videos appear in this stream more often. I would also suggest that consideration for your video preview images should be made and they should be optimised accordingly in order to generate higher click through rates than the other videos in users streams. You will need to stand out from the noise.
The way you edit your YouTube channel has also changed slightly. Once you go to your channel, the first feature you see is your news feed. Here you can easily post updates and see your activity. As mentioned before, this is your chance to gain more exposure by being shown in other user’s streams every time you interact with your audience or post an update, so use this feature wisely.
On the right-hand side is where the new channel bio can be updated. You can now also add your Twitter account as well as your Google Plus and Facebook accounts to automatically post updates and see updates from your YouTube activity. Below that is the opportunity to add multiple links to external websites, where as previously one link was only allowed.
It’s now even simpler to change the look and layout of your YouTube channel, including your Avatar image and background colour or image. On the featured tab you can now set the layout of your channel to one of four different styles:
With these new layouts you can push your content to suit the type of publisher that you are.
YouTube has updated their help files for working with the new channels design if you are struggling to understand them. Here is the link: http://support.google.com/youtube/bin/static.py?hl=en-GB&page=guide.cs&guide=1734705&from=1734705&rd=1
Tell us what you think of the YouTube updates, like them or hate them? Spotted a cool new feature? Leave a comment below or connect with me on Twitter using the link below.