YouTube refresh should remind brands people are watching their ads on the go 

YouTube’s much-vaunted refresh comes into force today (5 June) with enhanced features that herald the opportunity for brands to control how their content is curated. However, YouTube has taken one key decision out of their hands. 

The changes are manifold, namely brands – who are being told to act more like publishers at every given turn – the opportunity to better curate their content. 

Among the updates include the ability to curate their content by subsection meaning brands can display their latest content at the top of the page – whereas previously content creators where given a very uniform set of tools. 

Brands can also connect their associated channels – for instance Unilever’s AXE channel can also prominently feature links to its Dove brand for instance – again giving them a greater measure of control as to how their products are displayed. 

Interestingly, the update also gives brands the ability to feature a channel trailer that only appears to visitors that aren’t yet subscribers to your channel.

So far, so good. Companies can now have greater control over their brands online – something that has been in the spotlight lately – but there’s one area where Google has taken exception and that’s to automatically port how the content is displayed across all screens. In a blog post updating creators on the changes it calls this process “One Channel, all screens”. 

The post goes on to read: “We’ve made it easy to upload brand assets so that they look amazing on any device, and we’ll continue to work to make your channel art look especially beautiful on mobile in the coming weeks.”

It’s interesting that in this area, Google elects to give the brands – or “content creators” – less of choice on how the content will be created. 

That’s because Google gets that just about all customers are now “mobile” – sources within Google tell me almost 25 per cent of all YouTube views are now mobile but most businesses are not.  

As mentioned above, most brands are being told to think of themselves as media owners or publishers and brands need to start taking their mobile viewership, with their shorter viewing sessions, in mind when creating content for these channels. 

For instance, YouTube’s most viewed branded adverts over the last 12 months demonstrates the vast majority of the slots lasted a few minutes or more. This is fine but as audiences migrate to smaller devices the window for engaging these audiences is going to be smaller – hence a new style of storytelling – typically employing shorter executions – will be required. 

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