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YouTube: Best Practices


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From Official Artist Channels to thumbnails and brand identity, learn how to best utilize YouTube for your music.

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YouTube: Best Practices

  1. 1. 1 YouTube: Best Practices
  2. 2. 2 Is your channel an Official Artist Channel or verified? If an artist, the channel must be an OAC; if a label, the channel must be verified. • An OAC brings together your content & subscriber count from your different YouTube channels (such as an official channel, Vevo and a Topic channel) into one place. The channel automatically programs your music catalog on two new shelves, including your music videos, songs & albums to ensure your fans have one place to see all of your content. Read our best practices on OACs. • To upgrade your channel to an OAC, please contact your label manager. For more information, review our blog post on OACs. • Once your account reaches 100K subscribers, you will be able to request your channel to be verified. • If already verified, you can feature other owned channels in the “featured” tab on your channel. This can be done through editing your channel tabs in the creator studio. * images courtesy of Radial by The Orchard, Ozuna, and Epidemik
  3. 3. 3 Is your channel brand identity cohesive? Is your avatar/icon and banner clear, consistent and visible in all resolutions and sizes? 3 Your avatar/icon should be similar to what is used on other platforms, as well as match your channel banner. 800 X 800 px is the recommended sizing. Banner art best practices: we recommend sizing the image to 2560 x 1440 px. Note: this is your biggest opportunity for promotion, so be sure to add tour dates or upcoming releases and keep it updated. Are social channels, merch, streaming services, and new releases linked in your banner? We recommend adding social and streaming links to the banner so fans have easy access to your other platforms. To do this, click the edit icon under the “links” section and then select “+add.” Five URLs can be showcased, but add all links. * image courtesy of Ozuna
  4. 4. 4 Is the “About” section filled out? • We recommend including keywords, links (socials, tour dates, streaming services, video credits), a biography and a programming schedule so viewers know when to expect video uploads. • Some examples: Trap Nation, Martin Garrix, Comedy Central, Vox, Lil Wayne. * image courtesy of Nina Nesbitt
  5. 5. Is the “Browse Feature” enabled on your channel to customize the layout? Customizing your channel allows you to decide what the viewer sees & aids in how they navigate it. Putting priority or recent content is best. To do this, simply click “customize channel” under your creator studio. • Add a channel trailer, this offers viewers a preview of your channel so they are more inclined to subscribe (think of it as a movie trailer) and it will not have an ad in front the content. Edit this under the “home” tab & choose one for new viewers and one for returning viewers. • Add playlist shelves. It’s important to rotate playlist videos to ensure your channel is updated. Creating a long & varied playlist to curate your viewers watch sessions is best to keep them viewing your content which in turn increases your watch time. Ex: music videos, live performances, covers, behind the scenes, vlogs, new music, tour related content, etc. Find this under the “add a section” button under “edit channel.” 5 * image courtesy of Nina Nesbitt
  6. 6. 6 Have you added these features to your videos? Is the Branding/Subscribe watermark rolled out on all videos? 6 To enable this feature in the creator studio, select channel > branding, and then ”add a watermark.” This feature provides easy access to viewers to subscribe to your channel without leaving the video they are consuming. Are subtitles & closed captions enabled? To enable this feature in the video manager, select the video you want to add subtitles to, and select “edit.” Then click on the “Subtitles/CC” tab and “add new.” This feature can open your content to a larger audience. * images courtesy of Ozuna and Daddy Yankee
  7. 7. 7 Are you utilizing SEO so your video can be picked up in search? • Include specific keywords for each video that people would be searching for (artist name, song title, genre, album, lyrics). It’s also important to add links to help with YouTube’s algorithm. • To learn more about hashtags, read more on The Daily Rind. Remain consistent with your campaigns and stay relevant to your specific video. • Regarding video tags - the more tags, the better, as long as they remain in tandem with the video at hand. We also recommend including common misspellings and alternate languages. • For the metadata, read the SEO section in this blog post. For titles - the format, “Artist - Song Title | Type of Video” (Live Performance, Official Music Video, Cover, Lyrics, etc.) is best practice. • For more detail on creating a custom URL follow this link.
  8. 8. Are you formatting your cards and end-screens? • End-screens can be used to promote new content & encourage viewers to subscribe or choose another video on your channel. Adding 8-10 seconds of blank screen time at the end of the video will ensure the end- cards do not cover any content. End screen cards can be changed at any time, it’s important to keep them updated to direct to recent content. • On-screen cards (the small “i” in the upper right hand corner) help catch the viewers attention to subscribe, watch another video, or click on external links. Add interactive elements such as: branding watermarks, new videos, encourage viewers to subscribe, and/or links to merch/tickets, or streaming services. 8* images courtesy of Ozuna and Daddy Yankee
  9. 9. 9 Are your thumbnails curated? • We recommend creating and choosing striking, up-close thumbnails with perhaps text & a consistent branding across all of your videos. * image courtesy of GR6 Explode
  10. 10. 10 Are you releasing content consistently? • Posting consistently can help you achieve your goals. This may mean weekly, bi-weekly or monthly, so your viewers can subscribe & be aware of when a new video is going to drop. This does not necessarily have to be a new music video, this could be behind the scenes content, Q&A, b- roll, vlogs, or other footage. • Examples: Nina Nesbitt and her tea series, Marshmello and his cooking series.
  11. 11. 11 Are you interacting with your viewers? • Interact with fan comments by responding or “liking” them to engage your audience. You can also pin a top comment, such as lyrics, a call-to-action, question, or poll. • Another great way to keep in touch with your viewers is through the Community page, which is essentially YouTube’s version of a social feed. Here you can post gifs, polls, photos, or even text statuses. To ensure you have your community page enabled and for best practices, read more on our blog. * images courtesy of Ozuna
  12. 12. 12 Are you utilizing YouTube Stories? • Similar to Instagram or Facebook Stories, YouTube Stories are short videos (up to 15 seconds) that allow you to connect with your fans more casually and on the go. Stories expire after 7 days. • Note: The Stories feature is currently in beta & available to eligible channels with over 10K subscribers. It may take up to 4 weeks for Stories functionality to appear after reaching 10K subscribers. • To create a story, tap the camera icon button and record. You will also have the option to save, edit, add text, filters, music, stickers and comments. • To view other stories, you’ll click on the brightly colored ring around the channels icon and will be able to comment and flip through previous and newly posted video stories. * images courtesy of YouTube Creator Academy
  13. 13. 13 THANK YOU Other helpful links: • The Daily Rind • YouTube Support