social media toolsAre you thinking about doing more with YouTube?

In December of 2011, YouTube unveiled their latest design and navigational changes to the world.

Although it was met with unbridled criticism from a virtual mob of YouTube fanatics, these changes are here to stay.

Embrace YouTube’s recent makeover and their vision for the future of online entertainment. Change is good, right?

This article will only cover the three major changes that may affect your online strategy. If you want to stay on top of your video marketing game in 2012, these are the only three changes that you need to focus on.

Ready? Here we go!

#1: New YouTube Home Page

YouTube's new home page

YouTube's new home page offers a new Subscription Feed function.

YouTube has changed their design to follow a much more clean and modern look.

A quick peek at the home page will reveal that quite a bit of rearranging has been done. Instead of showcasing the most popular and trending videos on the website, YouTube has now prominently positioned a “Subscription Feed” smack-dab in the middle of the page.

Note: You must be logged in to see this properly.

This “Subscription Feed” (which bears an uncanny resemblance to Facebook’s Live Feed), now features the latest video content and updates from your subscribers.

In an effort to provide a better, more relevant user experience for viewers, YouTube is behaving more like a social-networking site than ever before. But what does this mean for you?

Until now, the “cute baby” and “shockingly embarrassing caught-on-tape” videos have dominated YouTube with millions of views from your bored co-workers looking for a quick distraction from their day. Most of us have discredited YouTube as a legitimate traffic source or brand-builder for our businesses because let’s face it, creating randomly hilarious videos probably isn’t your forte! And that’s OK, because things are changing…

This “Subscription Feed” gives the smaller guy who doesn’t have “crazy-viral” content a fighting chance for more exposure.

As your viewers watch, rate and comment on your latest video, exposure for your content will spread to the followers and subscribers of each of your viewers through YouTube’s feed, creating a smaller yet more relevant viral effect.

youtube subscriptions

Building your subscriber base is even more imperative than ever before!

To take advantage of the Subscription Feed, here is what I recommend:

  •  Be active daily and consistently: Make sure to upload fresh content to YouTube weekly and follow up as many times as possible to comment, share and promote other videos that you enjoy watching. The more activity you have on YouTube, the more exposure you can get.
  • Get your audience to take action: Using a call to action, get your viewers to subscribe, rate, comment and share each of your videos. The more activity and interaction that takes place on each of your videos, the more potential exposure you get on the home page of YouTube.

I don’t expect your 3-minute, content-rich video on how to get more leads in your business to suddenly go viral and compete with the likes of “Rebecca Black” & “Charlie Bit My Finger.” I do however see a mini-viral effect take place! Your videos have the potential of being shared and seen by more targeted viewers (quality views over quantity!).

#2: New YouTube Channel Page

The new channel layout may look different, but it still behaves relatively the same. However, as YouTube moves in the direction of becoming more “channel-centric,” it is imperative that you activate, update and optimize your new channel as quickly as possible for the best results.

In fact, YouTube is already making more of an effort to feature channels on search results pages for related keywords. Focus on using your main keyword phrase properly in your channel, and you can get found even quicker!

youtube keywords

Optimize your channel with your main keyword phrase for more exposure!

Here is your action list for proper channel page optimization:

Step 1: Set up background image.

Depending on how your channel’s background image was designed before the big change, you may need to modify and upload a new image. The best background images reflect your brand and the services you provide through pictures and text on the far left-hand side of your background image.

To begin the editing process, simply click the “Edit Channel” button on the top right-hand corner of your channel page.

Step 2: Edit your channel details.

The next step is to make sure the title, description and tags for your channel are properly filled out using your main keyword phrase. (Note: Some users have experienced losing all the content they used in their previous channel description after making the switch. Don’t assume your description is still intact.)

Your title should be clear, concise and benefit-driven. Your description should detail exactly what type of value and benefits your audience will get when they watch your videos. And you can finish this by adding a bunch of your relevant keyword phrases (in quotation marks) in the Tags section.

youtube channel info

Properly fill out your channel info and include your keyword phrase.

Step 3: Activate the “Blogger Template.”

The new channel page offers the choice to customize the design and layout of your channel with one of four templates. I recommend using the “Blogger” layout. It can be selected with the click of a button!

youtube layout

Select the layout that best suits your needs!

Step 4: Edit your featured video.

Similar to the old channel design, you’ll want to have a featured video that auto-plays when people view your channel. You can choose from any of your past videos or select the option to use your most recent video (recommended).

youtube featured video

Remember to properly add your "featured video."

Step 5: Add your links.

The new channel design makes it fairly easy to add website, blog and social profile links to drive traffic to your other web properties. Make sure to take the time to add and edit this information and use compelling benefit-driven copy to encourage your visitors to click over to your website!

youtube links

Include links to your website, blog and social networking profiles.

Most marketers will never take the 4.3 minutes to make these minor adjustments to their channel. Take this opportunity to optimize your channel page properly and focus on getting it ranked for your main keyword phrase!

#3: YouTube Analytics

My personal favorite change in YouTube’s most recent overhaul has been their introduction of YouTube Analytics. Previously called YouTube Insight, this extremely detailed and informative feature allows you to learn more about your audience, your videos and your activity on YouTube. In other words, you get to totally geek out!

Each statistic tells a story about the viewing habits of your audience. With proper deduction skills, you can effectively identify problems with your videos and make the necessary changes to improve your results.

Most of the features in YouTube Analytics have remained the same; however, there are two features that I would like to call special attention to:

1: Audience retention

Previously labeled as “Hotspots,” this improved function allows you to see just how engaging (or unengaging!) your videos really are. Identify the exact moments that are causing your viewers to run for the hills or making them perform a “digital double-take,” rewinding your video and begging you for more! Want to see more results with your videos? This function tells you exactly what you need to do!

youtube analytics

Two exciting features to play with inside YouTube Analytics.

2: Playback locations

This new function allows you to see exactly where your videos are being watched. As mobile devices become predominant in our lives, you’ll notice a greater percentage of playback locations coming from “mobile.” This feature will also allow you to see exactly who is embedding your videos and which blogs/websites are giving you views! Find out what is working and you can do more of the same!

Why Change Is Good

Even though this round of changes was met with harsh criticism from the YouTube community, it’s our duty as business owners to embrace the change and understand YouTube’s ultimate vision.

As the third-largest website in the world with an audience that rivals any major television network, YouTube is an absolute powerhouse! It has big plans for blurring the line of offline television and online entertainment, and we can expect YouTube to continue to evolve and morph into something new and different.

What do you think? Do you understand the rules of YouTube’s game? Embrace the change and you can see results for a long time to come! Leave your questions and comments in the box below.

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  • James,
    Great summary of the changes. I am enjoying using the analytics feature with my new clients. I had a discussion last week about how to use these for video optimization for a video training company.

    Happy 2012 and thanks for yet another great video post!


  • SocialMediaChimps

    Thanks for sharing. I think this is a move in the right direction for YouTube. Looking forward to exploring the new social and subscription feeds.

  • Thanks for all the tips on making the most of YouTube! Really, really great features there. I just created a channel last week and was pleasantly surprised by the capabilities. Although I can’t compare it to the “old” YouTube, I’m impressed with the social nature of it. Thanks again!

  • The new look on YouTube, is defiantly impressive, and a step toward for business to take advantage an optimise their profiles. As we move into 2012 Videos will be playing a big part in building your brand, and more and more business will be jumping on.

  • I will tweet this article as I believe youtube can help many Businesses. I appreciated the information. The analytics have improved.

  • Jeff Gross

    I think the new changes are indeed refreshing. It sometime look that it is difficult to understand as we have been using the old format for quite few years. But over all any thing that you access regularly and when it changes for good, makes the usage more interesting!

  • When adding my “website, blog and social profile links ” to my YouTube channel, I noticed that it will only let me link to my personal Facebook account — not giving me the option to link my fan page. Unless i’m overseeing something, this is a huge flaw. Great article, though. Thanks! 

  • Marlar6

    I had the same problem with linking my FB – I want to link to my business FB page, not my personal profile. Also, do you have any examples of great backgrounds that show off brands?

  • Asdf

    You can only connect personal pages to the new YouTube channel editor, someone didn’t do their research for this article

  • Nice summary of the changes James – and I hope YouTube sees the light and allows the connection to FB business pages!

  • LoriatYCC

    I am trying to figure out how to ‘add my links’ to my youtube channel – Any help?  I have set facebook and twitter up but how do I get them and my website and other links to show on the channel page.

  • Regarding Step 5: Add your links – I tried doing this however cannot find where it will allow me to add my blog, or other links.  Can someone help?

  • If only Youtube had revamped their customer services too! We haven’t been able to log into our channel (which is a business channel) as the password doesn’t seem to work anymore and there is no way of contacting Youtube to ask them to sort it out. Only a forum which is useless. We’d be happy to pay them for customer service so we can revamp our channel but we can’t get any help! Thanks for a great article by the way!

  • Thanks for the article. I love YouTube Channels for Business.

    I’ve created over 15 YouTube Channels and look to triple that in the new year. I think the new changes will only help business owners and as long as they can continue to create relevant video content they will have success.

  • James Wedmore

    Make sure you are logged in and you are on your channel page (and you have made the switch to the new YT design)  then there is an “EDIT” button at the top right of your channel, that should do it 🙂

  • James Wedmore

    Oh ya!  Good call!

  • James Wedmore

    Ya this is a bummer, however you can add it as a WEBSITE LINK below

  • Thanks James.  I will try that.  I purchased Video Traffic Academy a few days ago.  I’m looking forward to learning more about video.

  • I’m on the Edit my channel area now.  I see Appearance, Info and Settings and Featured Tab.  Neither one of those allow me to add my blog link.  My website link does appear however.

  • Hey James – awesome article. I’m in the YT camp for 2012, too. You might want to adjust this statement under point #1  “This “Subscription Feed” (which bears an uncanny resemblance to Facebook’s Live Feed), now features the latest video content and updates from **your subscribers**.” As it is actually the people *You* are Subscribed to — not the people who are your subscribers. Just a funny wording I think. 

    One of my clients has recently re-committed to YouTube with FAB results. We are all very excited about what we can do with it in 2012. Great article!

  • whoa – 15 Channels? I can’t even imagine trying to keep all those Channels going with new video content. Are you the owner of all of those – or just helping other businesses create their own?

  • Ha! No I don’t own 15 just created the video content for business owners.
    I love video storytelling.

  • shirleywilsonsocial

    Thanks James — you are a wealth of information and I appreciate the great summary. Succeeding with video is definitely on the New Year Resolution list! 

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  • Audrey

    Hey Julia, Awhile back YouTube switched any old YouTube logins to the Google account linked with the channel. I’d try using the password for that Google account, as the old login is now void.

  • Thanks James, you are the YouTube Guru. I really appreciate your You Tube articles.

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  • Micki

    I had a hard time finding where to add this too.  On your Channel’s page you should have your video playing and right next to it on the right (on mine it’s under an ad) there’s the name of your channel and then an Edit button to the right of that with your description underneath.  Click on that Edit button and then you can add links or connect to your personal FB (oh great) or your twitter.  Hope that helps!

  • Hi James! It is really great summary of YouTube Changes. I am really appreciating you for sharing this post. Keep updating about new changes. I like your way of presentation.

  • James, thank you for this post.

    Have you any comments on the SEO effectiveness of including a ‘closed captions’ file with the video?

    I edited Google’s own error-strewn transcript (.cbv file), uploaded it and now have fairly accurate ‘closed captions’ on three new videos. This benefits those of my viewers who are ‘English as Second language’ speakers (I’m based in Japan).

    However, aside from the viewer benefit, I’m also curious on how/if G will use the transcript to help rank the video for various related search terms.

  • Innovation is very important to be successful in your business market. if you are not innovative and  can not bring change in your product according to customer requirement then it will be useless for you to stay for long in market. Youtube is working and innovating things in its features that is really helpful to increase traffic and also focusing on need of its users. I mean the changes are not so much difficult to understand and every user can understand its new features easily. 

  • James Wedmore

    YES!!  Upload a .txt transcript to EVERY one of your videos, it will INDEX every single word of each of your videos!!!  I talk about this in another SME article, but it’s really easy to do!  Upload as a .txt file with the transcript option (from Edit Close Captioning)

  • Interesting review on youtube’s changes. I have already figured out some of the changes but I did not know how properly use them. Let’s try the new innovations and how it works. Best regards and thanks for sharing! 

  • James Wedmore

    Thanks Phyllis, I am a dopey “iNtuitive” on the Myers Briggs scale so I gloss over little details like that, but yes you are absolutely correct, the word I meant was “your SUBSCRIPTIONS”  ..not subscribers!  🙂

    Excited to see what you have in store with YOUR video marketing in 2012!!!!!!  🙂

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  • One of the greatest post I’ve read in quite a while James, really insightful. That’s about what I needed to face the new youtube and empower my channel.

  • Thanks for sharing this…a great summary to refer clients to. 

  • U Iserloh

    How do I link up to my Facebook PAGE? When you connect your Facebook account, it seems to only allow you to hook your personal page.

  • Sinuous Vestige

         The main reason why everyone gets up in arms about changes is because they don’t realize they are changing it for businesses who do pay for ads, promoted videos, and spots at the top of search results. If any changes occur, it’s because businesses want it to be better for them to reach out to get new customers. But like everything, they’ll settle once they get use to it, just like FaceBook. As a starting business, I can see how this is a great change for me and enjoy the greater benefits I get to other clients and personnel.

  • Do you have any resources for background image templates?

  • Tiffanysunday1

    James, great summary and information.

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  • Hi Gisele, we are a very good resource for what you are looking for!

  • Always great info & content from you guys! 🙂 We love providing your content via links to our list…

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  • Chery Schmidt

    Great Post I learned a few things that I didn’t know Thanks for sharing I’ll be back for more information 🙂 To Your Ultimate Success

  • I agree with you, James. The new look is really fresh and clean. It’s definitely sleeker and refreshing compared to the old design. And,the introduction of analytics is definitely a great thing. 

  • Julia Madden

    I have a couple of YouTube channels…one in the “old” style, the other in the “new” style. My preference is for the old style, and many colleagues agree with me.

  • On the one hand, very cool that YouTube is showing Channels in the search results alongside single videos.  This means that the people will need to focus more energy on developing their channel, which relates to your first point about being more active on YouTube, updating your channel more often.

    On the other hand, unlike #1 showing channels in the search results should hurt the little guy because bigger names with more established brands/channels will take up some of the search results spots.

    Thanks for sharing!

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  • Petra

    So much great info especially for someone like me who is really green when it comes to YouTube. Thanks for sharing!

  • James
    Thanks for the brief but detailed over view I think linking to a fan page will eventually happen and when it does that will bring a whole new set of viewers into your world.I love this stuff…

    Thank you

  • James
    Thank you
    Your overview was brief yet very well written.Everything that is important is covered.I Love this stuff,Fan Pages and You Tube will eventually connect.

    Thank you

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  • Laura Vincent

    Thank you for this – will be updating my YouTube channel right away. Took a while to get used to the changes but I’m in love with their new insights!

  • Great post, just mentioned it on my Blog: 

  • Thanks for a great summary. Well, I might not be the majority, but I do like the new YouTube look. It’s much modern and I like all the new features. The analytics is amazing, but the feed on the home page is awesome. I think it all excellently fits into the Google + search that Google just announced. Great article.

    P.S.: I didn’t like the look for the first 60 minutes. Then I got used to it and find it better. I like changes.

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  • dianehochman

    I have to admit I was not happy when it all changed but now I see why it’s a good thing!

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  • Blue

    Not liking the changes at all, and fail to see how this is a good thing for those on YT who are there for artistic expression and channel design individuality.  The personalized element is obliterated, and the friend connection is seriously challenged.  Some evolved change is expected, though this new design is horrendous and does not express the true spirit of what YT is to most users. 

  • Blues

    Sorry James and Daniel, I disagree.  The *sleeker* new design is nothing more than a cold sterile generic crock.  It’s unpleasing to the eye and is void of any artistic expression, which is vitally important to a vast number of YT users.  It’s too bad that the average YT video maker is being forced to give up the ability to use creativity to personalize their channel.  Why not allow for the choice to opt in or out of the new *design*… 

  • video1ba

     Great and Optimistic evaluation. Thanks!  Only that no one relates specificly to one major change – anyone that reach your channel will stay there only for one featured item. Otherwise he or she will be thrown back to the cold water of the Global Ocean of mixed content gain. I guess good sweemers will survive better

  • I am just a user of you tube not a business, but as most users I HATE the new channel design. I am NOT going to support, subscribe or watch videos of businesses who support this awful new design that ruins our viewing experience. If the businesses like it – fine, make it optional. I am NOT a business, but I am someone who watches videos and your ads, and my opinion as a customer should count too.

  • zetter06

    goed en leuk

  • Brooke

    I agree. The addition of the Facebook fan page would be a welcome change. I speant a long time trying to do this. 

    Question: Can I only link my website, blog, and social media profile if I activate the blogger template?

  • Paulo R. Mendes

    “The new design is impressive”?!? for God’s sake, are you all crazy? where is the freedom for the user express your creativity? were is the freedom of speech for the users of YouTube? who gave to those… individuals on YouTube the right of force us to accept this “new impresive design”? we, the users of YouTube are not fanatics! we only want to see our rights been respected, nothing more!

  • DrHoldowicz

    I was originally attracted to YouTube  in 2007… then Google got hold of it, and now in March 2012 we see their ultimate aims..  I am now looking for alternatives to YouTube – hence stumbling on this article.- because I find the ‘ new ‘ format frustrating, difficult, bland and repulsive – I am not attracted to other channels any more – there is nothing there now – nothing to keep me there long enough for me to check out videos – it is like wrapping books in plain brown covers, or foods in plain generic boxes – every YT channel now looks exactly the same – the old formats let the casual visitor check out favorites easily, instantly see comments, view backgrounds and icons and information – now it is all hidden – if it is there at all.. I believe businesses are kidding themselves if they think this Google-imposed garbage will attract consumers…

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  • Glimmer

    If you’re annoyed by getting redirected everytime you click on a video in a channel instead of the old behaviour: I have found a cool extension for Chrome, which let’s you stay on the channel while scrolling throug the videos…

    It can be found under

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