YouTube has published an update to the website, changing the layout and adding some features. Before reading this, here’s their official post explaining the details: https://support.google.com/youtube/thread/18132714.

After looking around the new homepage and their post, here are some things I think we should be aware of after the changes:

  • Thumbnails are larger. Larger thumbnails are probably intended to drive a higher CTR (Click-Through Rate) on videos. I’d focus on using the added size to add extra detail, make your thumbnails as clickable as possible. Now potential viewers are going to see them at a larger size. And there are fewer videos per row going down from 5 to 4 videos, meaning less competition per line. However, getting into those top 8-12 recommendations should be a priority.
  • Channel icons are now visible below each video. On the homepage, users can see the channel’s icon below the video. I might use this opportunity to remove channel icons out of thumbnails. However, I still think it’s vitally important to make thumbnails branded, either with faces, styles, phrases or more explicit branding. Like the channel icon.
  • Removed ‘From Subscriptions’ section. Where YouTube used to show subscription uploads, typically below the recommendations section is gone. This means that the homepage is no longer a somewhat reliable way to keep up with creators. As such, focus on showing people the subscriptions page in your call to actions. Promote your other social media accounts and ringing the bell.
  • Video previews are [more] important. This is something you can’t control currently but with the larger thumbnail size. Viewers will have more screen real-estate to look at your video previews when they hover on your video. At some point in the future, I think YouTube will allow us to manually set the video preview instead of relying on an algorithm.
  • Manually adding videos to the autoplay queue. Users can add videos to their autoplay queue, which plays a video after the current one has ended, from the homepage. Showing this to your viewers in a call to action could be useful, let them know they can queue your videos to play. It’s still a little obtuse to do but the option’s there for people who want to use it.
  • Topic sections are coming. In the post, they mention that viewers will be able to choose topics they’re interested in and have them appear on the homepage. As such, create content and attach metadata to them that puts your video into these topics. This’ll increase your chances of having your videos appear on more homepages. For topics, think of stuff such as cooking but also certain TV shows and video games that people might want to follow. This could also be integrated into a call to action.

YouTube’s constantly changing. With the terms of service changes coming and the FTC investigation it’s all a bit doom and gloom. When changes like this happen, it’s an opportunity for us to take advantage of it. YouTube thinks this’ll help their website and we need to evolve to keep up with their changes.

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