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Recent YouTube Changes

A few days ago, YouTube quietly launched its homepage redesign (see Mashable article and YouTube blog post). The changes are pretty subtle, but are aimed at streamlining and simplifying the YouTube experience. According to the YouTube Blog, the left side is dedicated to exploration: finding videos to watch through search and browse. The right side is all about organization of the videos that matter most to you: your subscriptions, your recent viewing history, and your own uploads.

Apparently, YouTube ran a large landing page testing experiment before implementing the changes and launching the new page, but personally it doesn’t feel like much of a redesign for me. Being a regular YouTube user, when I saw the homepage, I thought it looked different but couldn’t quite pinpoint it. After chatting quickly with YouTube account executive extraordinaire Ryan Stonehouse, he confirmed that the changes were indeed small (for instance, the Search box now has a separate area with a gray box around it) but all aimed to improving the user experience.

I am glad to see YouTube constantly trying to improve and as an advertiser, I’m impressed with the expanding array of opportunitiess not just for branding but also for user engagement and entertainment. I am a big fan of the interactive masthead units, such as today’s Madden 10 video. It starts out as a regular homepage video unit on the usual upper right hand side, but one of the players busts out of the frame, it expands into a full masthead unit, and the player pushes out the content on the left like he’s breaking a tackle. Very fun to watch (although I thought there was still a lot of room for more interactivity/user engagement – maybe some games? video within the video?). Check out some screen grabs below.

Also another YouTube change, but this time WAY BIGGER and not so subtle: YouTube is now doing pre-rolls!! Only on select partner channels for now, but this means that advertisers can now have more opportunities to be in front of more consumer eyeballs. More on this later, but here’s a quick screenshot of a 15-second Chevy pre-roll on a video for the one of the TravelChannelTV shows (Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations):

There is usually a companion 300×250 ad on the right – that’s another avenue for branding, obviously… It becomes something like a page take-over, with all possible units promoting one brand (in this case, Chevy). And let’s not forget that YouTube also offers those flash lay-overs, video within a video, and even call-to-action opportunities.

We’ll keep you posted on other YouTube and social media news so keep reading our blog!

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