Creating a channel on YouTube is quite easy. But if you want it to represent your business there are some points you have to think about. First of all choose the right name for your channel. Most suitable is the name of your business or brand. Before starting to upload videos you should consider what design and content your channel should have.
The icon is the key feature of the channel. It not only serves as "station logo", but is visible in different sizes next to your videos, comments and Google+ profile. Therefore, it should look good in a small as well as a large size. The display of the icon varies on the different devices. On Android devices, for instance, it appears as a rounded image instead of a square.
YouTube recommends the following specifications for icons:
- Resolution: 800 x 800px (image renders at 98 x 98px)
- Format: jpg, gif (no animations), bmp, png
- max. size: 2 MB
Besides the icon the channel art plays a major role in brand recognition. The used background color and font adjustments should match the corporate design of the business or brand. While designing the channel art keep in mind that it will, like the icon, look different on the various devices (desktop, mobile phone, tablet). YouTube recommends a minimum resolution of 2.560 x 1.440px for your channel art. The „safe area", where text and logos are not cut off, is 1.546 x 423px.
- Resolution: 2.560 x 1.440px
- Format: jpg, gif, bmp, png
Image guideline for the different devices:
- Desktop: 1.546 x 423px ("safe area" for text and logos), can be expanded to 2.560 x 423px (depending on the viewer's browser size)
- TV: 2.560 x 1.440px
- Mobile devices/tablets: 1.546 x 423px
The following image illustrates how YouTube crops the channel art on the various devices.
In the About section you will find the channel description. With up to 1.000 characters you can describe the purpose of your channel, set a channel country and add up to 5 links to your social media channels and website. The favicons to the social media networks are displayed as an overlay on your channel art. More links can be added but will only appear in the channel description. YouTube enables you to customize the name of each link (how it will appear on your channel).
YouTube enables you to upload a short trailer to introduce yourself to first-time visitors. This video is only visible for non-subscribers. However, the trailer is not shown in apps. If the visitor is already a subscriber he will see „featured videos“ instead. The purpose of the channel trailer is mainly to provide a short preview of the content of your channel and gain more subscribers. It should be short, informative and catch the attention of your audience in the first few seconds. Next to the trailer the title and meta data are displayed. The description should not exceed 144 and the title 45 characters (including blanks) otherwise it will be cut off. If you use music or sounds for your videos make sure it is copyright free material. YouTube offers free music and sound effects in its audio library (https://www.youtube.com/audiolibrary/music).
The aim of a thumbnail is to stand out with an eye-catching image in the multitude of videos. It usually contains a logo and/or a short descriptive text to show what the audience can expect from the video. To enable the upload of custom thumbnails and the before mentioned features your YouTube channel has to be activated. According to YouTube more than half of the views come from mobile devices. Therefore, the image should be uploaded in high-resolution and a large, legible font. Through a thumbnail the user knows at one glance what it is about. The image should represent the actual content of the video. Misleading thumbnails can cause a high drop off rate and dislikes.
Custom thumbnails should fulfill the following criteria:
- Resolution (max.): 1.280 x 720px (minimum width 640px)
- Format: jpg, gif, bmp, png
- 16:9 ratio
- max. 2 MB
If you intend to produce videos with similar content or series you can mark them with a consistent label. Thereby it is easier for your viewers to navigate and find the right video. Create playlists for your audience. Viewers are more likely to watch more of your videos if they are in a playlist. When marking your series favor the left side of the picture since the right side will be covered by the playlist overlay.
This is where you should put the essential information about the video. This includes not only the title and description but also tags, categories, thumbnail and subtitles. This data should help your viewers to discover your videos. Misleading metadata, keyword stuffing and an attempt to game discovery algorithms will lead to a removal of your video and YouTube will issue a warning against your account. Therefore, when creating the metadata there are few points to consider.
The video title should be succinct, express the essential content and, at best, contain a keyword. It should draw viewers attention and curiosity as well as provide a context for the content of the video. A misleading title can cause a decline in views and a growing number of negative feedback. Place important information at the beginning of the video title and less important things, like the number of the episode, at the end. The length of the title should not exceed 60 characters or it will be cut off. Generally you should prefer short titles, for example:
- „Branding your YouTube channel“
- „How do I customize my YouTube channel“
- „YouTube Branding for Dummies | Part 1“
If you have found the right title check how it appears in search results, on mobile devices and on desktop.
The description explains the intention of the video. You can add links to your website or social media channels. Some channels even add a hashtag which can help to find videos. In our example one could use #branding.
Keywords and tags are also part of the metadata. You can create individual tags and keywords for each video. To identify popular keywords use Google Trends. Think about which words users are more likely to use for their search.
You can embed a watermark in videos. It will appear in the bottom right corner of each of your videos. The watermark allows your audience to subscribe to your channel without stopping or leaving the video. This will only work while viewing on desktops or laptops and not mobile devices. Use a transparent image with few or only one color. It should be noted that Android and iOS devices show watermarks only in landscape mode. On other smartphones, tablets and TVs they are not shown.
Successful channel branding is just the beginning. Only regular uploads can obtain a growing range. In addition, you can reach a wider audience through further optimization of your videos, cards and links.