Practical Ecommerce

Understanding YouTube’s New Redesign

The major social networks are all in redesign mode. Facebook is rolling out “Timelines,” a more picturesque version of user Profiles. Twitter has completed a major redesign, which I covered last week in “Understanding Twitter’s New Redesign.” And now YouTube is changing its appearance and navigation, presumably to make the site more useful for both users and video creators.

One of the issues faced by both groups is that the huge amount of video content on the site made navigating through it a challenge. The design is now simplified, focused on helping users “discover a broader range of entertainment,” says YouTube.

“We’ve given YouTube a refresh. When you login, you’ll be greeted with recent activity from your subscriptions. You can also browse and add new Channels to your homepage. Connect with Google+ and Facebook to share your favorites with friends,” states the site.

This article outlines the new features, emphasizing how merchants can use them to increase YouTube’s effectiveness as a marketing channel.

Changes at a Glance

The changes cover three main YouTube areas: home page, Channels, and overall site design.

New Home Page

The home page has undergone a complete redesign. On the left-hand side users can create their own, personalized YouTube Channel line-up. They can also browse recommended channels, customize their home page feed, and link to social networks like Facebook and Google+.

Simpler, Customizable Channels

Discussing changes to Channels is what I’ll stress for this article — in the section below.

New Overall Design

Google opted for a cleaner, simpler design complemented by a gray background, larger video thumbnails and a more streamlined watch page.

Channel Redesign

If you are a registered YouTube user, you can have a Channel. Think of it as YouTube’s version of a Facebook Page. YouTube has drastically simplified the look and feel to not only make the job of uploading and featuring videos much easier, but to provide a better experience to subscribers.

Even if you already have a Channel, it’s worth your while to visit the site to ensure you take advantage of what the redesign has to offer. Once you have logged in, click the “Edit Channel” button, which is located on the right-hand side of the header area on your Channel page. This governs the overall look of the Channel, as well as the information presented on it.

Start by clicking the Edit Channel button.

Start by clicking the Edit Channel button.

As part of the simplification process, settings appear under three tabs: “Appearance,” “Info and Settings,” and “Featured.”

Appearance

This is where you change or upload an avatar and set the Channel background image and colors. I recommend taking this step to improve branding. The best way is by uploading a custom graphic with your logo, website color scheme and other pertinent information as needed. Consider using your logo as the avatar.

Info and Settings

Use the “Default Tab” drop-down menu to choose the tab people see first: Featured, Videos, or Feed. Another option — a check box — allows subscribed users to always land on the Feed tab first so they see the latest content.

Featured

This tab allows you to edit the Channel layout using one of four templates: “Creator,” “Blogger,” “Network,” or “Everything.”

YouTube offers four Channel layout templates.

YouTube offers four Channel layout templates.

  • Creator. This includes a featured video from a playlist with a group of featured playlists underneath it.

  • Blogger. This template mimics the look of a blog with videos listed in reverse chronological order.

  • Network. This includes a featured video from a playlist with a group of featured channels and is only used when merchants have multiple YouTube channels.

  • Everything. This includes a featured video along with both playlists and channels.

Once a template has been chosen, select a video to feature. Follow these two steps to add a featured video.

  • Step one: From the Channel home page, click the “Add a featured video” button.

Select a featured video by clicking the Add Featured video button.

Select a featured video by clicking the Add Featured video button.

  • Step two: When clicked, the “Add a featured video” button changes to a dialog box that allows you to choose a video from a drop down list. Once you’ve selected one, click the “Apply” button.

Featured video dialog box appears once Add Featured video button is clicked.

Featured video dialog box appears once Add Featured video button is clicked.

Select a featured video from the drop down list.

Select a featured video from the drop down list.

Channel Feed

“Channel Feed” is where the action takes place. Users can click on the Feed to see what’s new and allows Channel administrators to showcase the latest activity. This feature is YouTube’s version of a Facebook status update or a Twitter tweet.

The Channel Feed is where subscribers can view the latest activity.

The Channel Feed is where subscribers can view the latest activity.

YouTube describes the Feed as your Channel’s “distribution center.” Any content shared here — uploads, comments, favorites, likes, playlists — will be posted to your feed and seen by your subscribers on their individual Channel home pages.

I recommend posting items to your feed regularly. This keeps your Channel content fresh, maintaining more top-of-mind awareness with subscribers.

This does not constitute all the changes to YouTube. If you click the “Settings” link located as part of a drop down menu under your account name in the upper right-hand corner, you will see four other sections: “Video Manager,” “Video Editor,” “Subscriptions,” and “Analytics.”

Select "Settings" from the drop down menu.

Select "Settings" from the drop down menu.

Video Manager

In the past, uploading and organizing videos has been arduous. I always had difficulty locating the “Upload” button, for example. The new Video Manager is a self-contained dashboard that simplifies this process.

The new Video Manager is a self-contained dashboard for uploading and organizing videos.

The new Video Manager is a self-contained dashboard for uploading and organizing videos.

The Upload Button

Click “Upload” to start uploading a video. The arrow on the right side of the button provides upload options, such as recording video directly from a web cam.

Click the Upload button to start uploading videos.

Click the Upload button to start uploading videos.

Your Videos

Tabs on the left-hand side of the page allow you to access Uploads, Playlists, History, Favorites, and Likes.

Thumbnail Info

The thumbnail of videos will contain different information about your video, like its uploading and processing status.

Icons

A list of icons located to the right of video thumbnails indicate different information — such as view count and upload progress — about the videos.

Video Editor

The Video Editor allows you to preview videos before selecting them for editing by clicking on the center of the video thumbnail image. To edit a selected video, click the “+” sign located on the left.

After clicking the plus sign, the video will appear in “Storyboard.” Videos can also be dragged and dropped into the area.

Video editing is made easier through the use of the new Video Editor dashboard.

Video editing is made easier through the use of the new Video Editor dashboard.

Subscriptions

This section shows you channels to which you have subscribed and makes recommendations for others to consider.

With the new design, subscriptions are more prominent. “YouTube users have long been able to subscribe to individual creators’ videos, but a subscription has meant little more than a shout-out that they like the videos,” says a New York Times blog post. “Now, a subscription will mean that a person has chosen to watch that channel regularly and will see the content often because a user’s top 10 channels always show up on the homepage.”

For merchants, this could come as both as a blessing and a curse. It means that, though current subscribers are much more likely to see your content than in the past, the burden is on retailers to grow their subscriber count. But, with more subscribers comes increased numbers of video views and impressions.

Analytics

YouTube has also improved its analytics dashboard to focus on five areas: “Performance” (views and subscribers), “Engagement” (likes, dislikes, comments, shares,), “Top 10” viewed videos, “Demographics” (location, gender), and “Discover” (top traffic sources, and top playback locations such as YouTube, mobile devices or other channels).

Conclusion

By simplifying layouts and housing video uploads and editing into administrative dashboard arrangements, YouTube makes the site easier to use. Plus, the added emphasis on subscriptions means that merchants stand a better chance of gaining top-of-mind awareness with customers and prospects.

Paul Chaney

Paul Chaney

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Comments ( 2 )

  1. PeachStatePam May 20, 2013 Reply

    I hope you can help me please! Your article was very good, however, I still cannot find an "upload" button that allows me to upload a video. Instead of the window that used to allow me to browse my computer and find the video the only things that show when I click on "upload" are "Dashboard, Video Manager and Analytics".

    I looked at the picture you have on this article and see that it shows Video Manager on the Upload page with an upload button above that. I don’t have that. Mine only says Dashboard and again, the only upload button I can find gives me those 3 drop down buttons. Can you help please? I have videos I want to upload. Thank you very much!

  2. Paul Chaney May 22, 2013 Reply

    YouTube has changed things around quite dramatically since this piece was written. The latest version shows the upload button located just to the right of the search bar. From what I can tell, it’s stationary there and consistent throughout. Let’s hope YouTube keeps it that way. I always thought it was a bit ridiculous that, depending on where you were on the site, that you had to go on a hunt for the button.