The relevance of video and the overall requirement for human interaction grew hugely in 2020 and is showing no signs of slowing down. It's no secret that YouTube is extremely significant in these unusual times. YouTube has proven how strong the site still is, from live news updates to concerts in the comfort of your own living room. YouTube is more than a video platform - it's a place to connect, a place to discover (second largest search engine behind Google), and one of the most powerful marketing platforms, with two billion registered monthly users.
It's vital to make sure your YouTube channel is optimised in every way possible if you want it to expand. Label Worx has compiled this year's YouTube Best Practices to ensure you have all the tools you need for success!
First things first, you'll want to let your fans know that your channel is the official channel. You can do this by requesting your channel be upgraded to an Official Artist Channel (OAC). If you are not running an artist page but a label page or blog, for example, you can verify your channel.
Official Artist Channels are highlighted with the musical note symbol, whilst verified channels are highlighted with a tick symbol.
Official Artist Channel
If you're an artist on YouTube, your Official Artist Channel (OAC) brings together all your content from your different YouTube channels into one place. The channel automatically programs your music catalogue on two new shelves, including your music videos, songs and albums.
Getting your channel verified is for labels or non-artist channels. This verification badge indicates credibility. It tells the world that your YouTube channel is run by a real human being, an established creator, or an authenticated brand/organisation.
Your channel brand is the set of unique characteristics that separates your channel from the rest and communicates your key messages and content strategy. It's a good idea to make your branding: Clear and representative so that people who find your channel will instantly understand what your videos are all about.
Change your profile picture in YouTube Studio. Your profile picture is the image shown to viewers on your channel, videos and publicly attributable actions across YouTube. For your profile image, you can use the same logo or headshot you use on your other social media channels or website to maintain brand consistency.
Your banner image shows as a background at the top of your YouTube page and is a great way to compliment your current branding/visual style. Your channel banner will look different on different platforms, such as desktop, mobile and tv so design an image large enough for all. Ideally, you want the dimensions of 2560 x 1440 pixels with a safe zone of 1540 x 427 pixels, centred.
You can encourage viewers to subscribe to your channel by adding a video watermark to your video. When you add a video watermark, viewers can directly subscribe to your channel when using YouTube on a computer. The channel watermark is available in landscape view on computers and mobile devices (not clickable on mobile).
ABOUT YOUR CHANNEL
Your channel About tab is a simple, but vital section of your channel setup. Your fans will be looking here to find out about you as an artist/label/brand.
Channel Description & Biography
YouTube will use the channel description in the About tab to populate SEO. Making sure your description is detailed with all key terms (artist names, release titles and labels etc) is highly important as it could lead traffic to your channel.
You can highlight up to five site links on your channel homepage. Your links will show on your banner image and be viewable on a computer.
A custom URL is a shorter, easy-to-remember URL that you can share with your audience. These URLs can be based on your current Display name, YouTube username or Linked website name. Learn how to set up a custom URL for your channel.
Like your overall branding, the organisation and layout of your channel can add to solidifying your channel. There are a few ways that you can use your channel layout to your advantage.
You should really put thought into what you select as your channel trailer. You'll want to make a good first impression and hook in any potential new subscribers with a showcase of what your channel will be producing.
There are two types of Trailer; Subscribed, for returning and already subscribed users and Unsubscribed for new users.
Sections are a great way to organise and visually brand your channel and give fans a snapshot of what you are about. They can make the channel much easier to view and can be dynamically created from Playlists. You can add up to ten horizontal sections to your channel.
Playlists are a fantastic way to organise your videos and give your fans a snapshot of what your brand is all about. Playlists are collections of videos, which you can curate and then use that playlist as a Channel Section. The videos you select for playlists can be your own uploads or uploads from other channels, giving you huge creative potential. Playlists can also help in prompting viewers to watch multiple videos in a single session and you can direct fans to your playlists with Cards & End Screens.
An often overlooked aspect is how you finalise your videos and it's metadata. There are a few important areas you need to consider.
It's ideal to develop titles that truly describe what's in the content since they can make the difference between someone viewing and sharing your video or scrolling right past it. You can achieve this by using a creative title to pique people's interest or by teasing what's inside the material.
It's critical to appropriately describe your video so that people will want to watch it. You'll observe a decline in audience retention if viewers don't stick around because the video didn't meet their expectations, which could lead to your video being less likely to be suggested on YouTube.
- Keep titles concise (60 characters) with the most important information up front.
- Save episode numbers and branding towards the end.
- Check that your titles don’t get cut-off in suggested videos, search results, and mobile.
When composing a video description, start with the most interesting material or brief synopsis of the film before hitting the Show More button (within the first three lines or roughly 300 characters). You can add further information, such as the whole storey behind your film, where visitors click to see the full description. This is an excellent spot to include connections to your website and social media accounts to encourage visitors to learn more about your company, as well as links to other relevant videos and playlists.
Use the description to incorporate as many relevant keywords as possible in order to boost SEO while being natural and without seeming spammy. Keep an eye out for ‘keyword stuffing,' which is the practice of including any and all relevant keywords. It's frowned upon and can result in a YouTube ban.
Thumbnails are the first thing people see when they watch your video, therefore this is the best area to showcase your brand! The more appealing it appears, the more likely it is that people will click on it and watch it. Not to mention the fact that 90% of YouTube's best-performing videos feature personalised thumbnails! Make your thumbnail aesthetically appealing and expressive—including faces and additional text is a wonderful way to grab the attention of users.
Your custom thumbnail image should be as large as possible. It will be used as the preview image in the embedded player. We recommend that your custom thumbnails:
- have a resolution of 1,280 x 720 (with a minimum width of 640 pixels)
- be uploaded in image formats such as JPG, GIF or PNG
- remain under the 2 MB limit
- have a 16:9 aspect ratio, as it's the most used in YouTube players and previews.
Cards & End Screens
YouTube has great tools that allow you to build interactivity into your videos such as Cards and End Screens.
You can use cards and end screens to include a call to action in your videos, this may be anything from prompting them to subscribe to your channel to suggesting other popular videos within your network, promoting a partner channel, or even pushing them to an external site such as your Facebook page or website. Check out our full articles on this here:
Whether it's streaming a live event, hosting a workshop or teaching a masterclass, YouTube Live is a great way for creators to reach and engage with fans in real-time. We'll run through some of the best practices for YouTube Live, leaving you with all the information you might need to start your creative journey in the below article.
YouTube Shorts are vertical videos that last 60 seconds or less and is one of the fastest-growing formats on the site. Shorts make it possible for any creator to connect with billions of viewers to grow a new audience. YouTube's Shorts creation tools let you create Shorts by sampling music from official music videos or original audio from videos across YouTube. Get creative and use this feature to show your unique spin on the content you love to watch!
Shorts you make with sampled audio are attributed back to you, the source creator's original video. Tap sound to see a link to the source creator's original video and a page of all other Shorts using the same audio – a great opportunity for new viewers to discover your content.
From the Shorts player
To create a Short from the short video player using that Short's audio:
- Sign in to the YouTube app on mobile.
- Go to the Short that you'd like to sample.
- In the lower-right corner, tap sound to see other Shorts that used the same audio.
- Tap USE THIS SOUND to Create a Short.
From a video watch page
To create a Short from a watch page using that video's audio
- Sign in to the YouTube app on mobile.
- Go to the video that you'd like to sample.
- Under the video player, tap Create to Create a Short.