Assess channel mission and brand
A clearly defined mission and consistent branding are key to establishing a channel identity. By aligning the mission and brand, you can be more confident that the channel appeals to its audience by providing a harmonious experience.
Does the channel have a defined mission?
A clearly defined mission statement can help a channel focus its content and audience development strategies. A mission statement for a channel establishes the channel’s purpose and guides its future decisions. It is a way to communicate to your audience what content is available and why they would be interested.
While mission statements vary in style, you can check yours against these recommendations:
- Describes the channel’s value proposition
- Summarizes the content themes
- Identifies the target audience
You can look at some other channels to find examples of their missions for inspiration, keeping in mind the mission is intended to represent each channel’s vision and audience. When analyzing channels, you can consider what demographic would respond favorably to the types of content you’re planning.
See it in action
Eater: So get hungry!This channel declares itself the “one-stop-shop for food and restaurant obsessives” with a mission “to bring the most delicious food content” to its audience.
Are channel visuals consistent with the brand?
For some partners, their YouTube channel may be an extension of their online or offline brand. Other channels may be developing a new brand on YouTube. Either way, you want the channel brand to reflect the content and appeal to the audience.
YouTube is an immersive platform, and visual branding can influence how viewers perceive a channel. Checklist:
- All channel visuals align on branding
- The channel banner incorporates the brand identity
- The channel icon is reflective of the brand as an easily recognizable logo
- A branding watermark is used to embed the channel logo across videos
Based on your findings, you can decide whether you want to redesign the channel banner and/or icon to better express the brand. Depending on its strategy, a channel can visually align or differentiate its branding on YouTube and on other social media.
- Optimize the channel banner and icon.
- Check out additional areas to showcase your brand.
- Use a branding watermark to embed your channel logo.
See it in action
Do the channel trailer and description tell a cohesive story?
A channel also has an opportunity to tell a story about its mission and brand through its channel trailer and channel description (About tab). These elements communicate what the channel offers as a whole, introducing viewers to the content and enticing them to watch more.
When unsubscribed viewers come to a channel, they will see the trailer and description, so this is an opportunity to make a great first impression. Checklist:
- The trailer and description invite viewers to subscribe
- The trailer highlights the diversity of content available
- The description summarizes the video upload schedule
If your trailer and description don’t seem to reinforce the channel identity, consider updating them. It’s helpful to think about the brand voice and personality when scripting the story. You can include information about the channel's mission in the written description for the channel trailer.
- Include a hook in the first 15 seconds so a majority of the audience hears it.
- Enable the channel trailer for unsubscribed viewers so that it auto-plays for them.
- Find out how to produce a captivating channel trailer.
- Include the most important information at the beginning, like a tagline.
- Use link shorteners such as bit.ly and goo.gl to track click-throughs to external websites.
- Use Google Trends to identify searchable keywords to include.
See it in action
MyCupcakeAddiction: Sweet descriptionThis channel description introduces the host and reveals the upload schedule for its tutorials on making “the perfect baked treats and sweets.”
Do the sections and thumbnails distinguish content?
Another aspect of branding is tied to marketing specific content. A channel is like a storefront where sections showcase how products are organized, and video thumbnails give visitors a visual teaser into the offerings.
With sections, you can organize videos by grouping them in a particular way so that the audience can make easier decisions about what to watch. Based on your content, you may add sections to prominently display series or programs that showcase the channel mission. Many channels populate the top section with their most popular videos.
Custom thumbnails can help each video stand out, or visually connect videos in a series. Since thumbnails are usually the first thing people see when they find a video, it's important that they accurately represent the brand and the video content.
- Sections and thumbnails conform with the brand message
- Sections organize content to elevate the value proposition
- Custom video thumbnails reflect the brand personality
When customizing thumbnails, a channel can incorporate consistent branding as well as subtle visual cues for refinement and clickability.
- Name channel sections to reinforce the brand narrative.
- Consider ordering sections for potential fans and first-time visitors.
- Design thumbnails to help promote consistent branding.
- Use high-resolution images that are eye-catching.
- Tell a cohesive story with the video thumbnail and title.
See it in action
Is the channel branding optimized for mobile?
Many people today are constantly connected, and moving between devices—from mobile to desktop and back—throughout their day. The split varies by geography and category, but more than half of YouTube views come from mobile devices. YouTube overall, and even YouTube on mobile alone, reaches more 18-34 and 18-49 year-olds than any cable network in the U.S.
- To determine the distribution of device types that contribute to a channel’s traffic sources, look at the Devices report.
The higher the percentage of mobile viewers on a channel, the more important it is to optimize the channel experience for them. Checklist:
- Channel art looks good on smaller screens and any text is still legible
- Video titles have important keywords in front so they’re not cut off
- Video thumbnails are still clearly distinguishable on smaller screens
Some channels, particularly in nations with low desktop penetration, may even take a “mobile-centric” approach to branding if a large majority of their viewers come from mobile devices.
See it in action
Close-up thumbnails work on mobileEpic Rap Battles uses highly zoomed-in images of famous historical figures to hook viewers, regardless of the device they’re watching on.