YouTube Channels 2.0
Note: this article is outdated please see the recent update
In April 2009, YouTube started to blog about the beta changes that they were making to the YouTube channels – inventively dubbed "YouTube Channels 2.0".
The new Channel Editor is accessed through the "My Account" page, in the same way as the previous editor.
However, the new editor has some distinct advantages over the old editor and provides a much improved interface for the creation and maintenance of your channel.
YouTube Channel Editor 2.0
The new channel editor layout shows a What-You-See-Is-What-You-Get (WYSIWYG) preview of the channel design.
This means that you can see the effects of changes live as they are made – a definite improvement over the old clunky "channel preview", or having to toggle between the editor window and "live" window to view your changes.
Underneath the top bar, there is a new "Edit Channel" bar, containing 3 buttons marked "Settings", "Themes and Colours", "Modules".
These open up a tabbed section, containing some of the basic fields controlling the channel – providing a much neater way of displaying the channel customisation information than the old Channel Editor.
The "Settings" tab contains the URL, Title and Channel Tags information.
The "Themes and Colours" tab houses the selection of basic themes available for use.
Clicking the link labelled "Advanced Options" opens a further layer with controls for colour, background and transparency information – plus the ability to create new themes within the established framework.
The "Modules" tab allows the customisation of the various panels shown below the video panel; the Comments, Friends, Groups, Recent Activity, Subscribers and Subscriptions panels.
The new channel layout includes a large player on the left of the screen, and the uploaded videos listed on the right-hand side, with the ability to sort videos by "Date", "Most Viewed" or "Top Rated".
In the upper-right corner is an "edit" link with 2 icons, with tooltips marked "Switch to Player View" and "Switch to Grid View" respectively.
These toggle between a screen including a player, and the "Grid View" screen showing thumbnails of the videos only - displaying a much greater proportion of the video inventory.
Clicking the "edit" link opens up a second layer, controlling the information displayed via the channel player – options including "My Uploaded Videos", "My Favourites" and "Playlists", or any combination of the above.
The featured video can be set via a dropdown to a specific video, or the most recently uploaded, to help you customise the initial view displayed in the Channel Player.
The lower panel contains the modules that have been enabled using the "Modules" tab in the "Edit Channel" bar – each module will have a link in the top right-hand corner marked either "edit" or "privacy" – which can be used to further customise the content or functionality of each module.
New functionality available under Channels 2.0 also includes transparency options for the modules and the wrapper, available under the "Themes and Colours" tab.
Careful use of transparency, combined with calculated background images is the key to producing some of the intricate and interesting channel designs starting to appear on YouTube.
The Marketing Perspective
For marketeers using YouTube channels as a marketing tool, the new v2.0 Channels bring improvements over the old Channels – as now not only has the user experience improved, but the new design functionality should improve engagement and visitor retention.
The Ajax functionality of the channels means that all the videos that appear on the channel can be played from the original page – your visitors will be able to view all your content without leaving or re-loading your channel page.
By directing potential viewers to the channels "Grid View" page, marketeers can present them with their entire channel content in an environment where clicking on the relevant video plays it within the channel player rather than a "shared" area – therefore there is no "Related Videos" content to entice the visitor away to a competing channel.
This means that a marketer can ensure that the visitor will see only his videos – helping to retain visitors and improving the engagement of the content.
YouTube provides partners with mechanisms to monetise their channel content and we'll touch on the details of this in the next YouTube post.
The YouTube Channels v2.0 launch date was originally set for July 15th, however due to technical delays the switch over date was pushed back to September 30th for users, with partners being switched over on October 14th.