YouTube update: Welcome to the One Channel

Last month YouTube announced the launch of the One Channel – a step which presents increased art and design capabilities, video introductions and customised layouts to the humble channel format.

Last month YouTube announced the launch of the One Channel - a step which presents increased art and design capabilities, video introductions and customised layouts to the humble channel format.

The new format was initially trialled by a few select partner channels, with some welcoming the new channel design and some petitioning against it. But fast forward a few weeks and it's in open beta for all. So should you be switching?

Let's take a look at the benefits of the new functionality…

Introductory adverts

With 4 billion views a day, YouTube is unquestionably powerful - but only if you manage to find your niche and get cut through with its vast audience. The option to include an introductory video selling your brand to anyone who lands on your channel is one opportunity to do that. Keep it personal, light and engaging…remember on a platform that can see a funny cat video (almost) outperform everything else; viewers aren't in a buying headspace. Entertainment is key on YouTube, and if you can apply that to your brand then all the better.

Channel art

This feature allows channels to place a nice piece of custom banner art right at the top of your channel - so far, so good. The removal of custom backgrounds on partner channels? We're not so sure about that one. Many will have to weigh up the pros of the One Channel with the pain of removing a beloved custom background. That being said, big players with partnership agreements are likely to already have custom design functionality - but for those on basic channels it's another opportunity to shout out about who you are.

User experience

Perhaps the strongest addition the One Channel is the ability to introduce personalised streams of videos and playlists (your own videos or others) and tag videos to appear in groups based on priority. For more established channels this is a great opportunity to tailor content to suit audience preferences, driving more people straight into popular content when they land on your channel. And according to the nice people at YouTube, a switch to the One Channel means your content looks good on any device, whether it's mobile, tablet or desktop - bonus!

What we think

All in all the One Channel has an opportunity to make a big difference to user experience if used thoughtfully - but to really make the most of the platform (and you know what we're going to say) it's still all in the strength of the videos. YouTube is the world's second biggest search engine, so the majority of viewers are likely to land on videos directly rather than visit your channel. Remember to put just as much thought into your video content and subsequent optimisation (always use a custom thumbnail and annotate your videos to more content) as you do your channel design.

Will you be switching to the One Channel? We can help - get in touch.