The Next Era of YouTube: OneChannel

It’s been two months since the launch of YouTube OneChannel, and like many new social media channel rollouts, users and brands are still on the fence about the new layout. YouTube describes its updated site interface “as a way for creators to become even more connected with users through customizable channels that seamlessly integrate across all platforms and touch points.”

 

The Changes

Less is more ? and that’s exactly what the new YouTube design boasts. The streamlined design will help to create a more personalized channel where videos now take center stage. Say goodbye to custom backgrounds and hello to “channel art,” robust recommendations, video “trailers,” paid subscriptions, custom sections and social tie-ins.

One of the major changes is that the YouTube navigation options (guide feature) are now sticky, meaning it’s accessible as you browse throughout YouTube, as well as all devices. This guide feature now offers content recommendations (“what to watch”), personal subscriptions, video activity/interactions, viewing history and option to save videos for later viewing.

Another perk is the “Welcome” video trailer that only plays for non-subscribers, thus giving potential subscribers a “sneak peak” and a more personalized pitch of why the video is valuable, etc. Additionally, you can now segment videos into Sections by creating custom playlists and categories, making it even easier for users to navigate through content. These can also be created dynamically based on keywords or tags. Smart categorization keeps channels fresh and relevant by giving priority to certain videos, as well as highlighting videos for specific audience targets.

 

What This Means for Brands

YouTube’s personalized channels mean higher engagement levels for brands through longer periods of time spent by users on the site. The addition of paid subscriptions will help extend video views by encouraging users to spend more time on a brand’s channel ? YouTube’s vision is channel-based browsing rather than video-based browsing. It’s yet to be determined if users will adapt to paid channels on YouTube and consider the platform viable competition to other paid models like Netflix or Hulu.

With more intuitive recommendations, users will now be able to view more content tailored to their interests based on their subscriptions, viewing history and videos that their friends/followed brands interact with. There is more of a reason to subscribe to channels and interact with videos now: it gives the platform more information about you, so it can better understand the content you want.

The new design layout and features are a way for YouTube to shift from a site where users quickly search for a video to a site that fosters long-term subscribers who view more personalized and targeted content. It will be interesting to see how brands take advantage of these features in the coming months.

 

Brands that have taken the plunge:

Old Spice 

Google

The Ellen Show

TED Talks