YouTube Channel Trailer: Your Promotional Video to Attract Subscribers

The YouTube channel trailer is a new feature introduced by YouTube® to help channel owners promote their channel with the goal of getting more subscribers. 

This feature is part of the YouTube One Channel design which now allows you to designate one video as a special promotional video that automatically plays to unsubscribed viewers who have reached your Browse tab. Like a movie trailer, the channel trailer entices your viewer to become a full-fledged audience member -- in this case, simply by selecting the "subscribe" button.

Your trailer appears prominently right below your YouTube channel art and has a text box next to it that gives you an opportunity to write a short plug advertising your channel. Your recent uploads and other playlists appear directly underneath your trailer.

Here's what the YouTube channel trailer looks like for the Groovy Videos Channel:

Once someone has elected to subscribe to your channel, they will no longer see the trailer when they visit your channel page. Instead, subscribed viewers might see a "what to watch next" video suggestion for your channel, your recent uploads and any video playlists you've created.

How to Create a Cool YouTube Channel Trailer

Here are some tips to help you create a trailer that you can be proud of and which will convert those "undecideds" to actual subscribers:

  • Describe your channel: Is your channel a comedy channel, how-to channel, sports or politics-related? Whatever your focus, be sure to let your prospective subscribers know immediately what kinds of videos they can expect to find on your channel.

  • Show 'em what you've got: Once you've described your channel, give your audience a brief snippet or two from a previous video. If you have a comedy channel, go ahead and include a funny scene from a video you feel really represents what your channel is all about. If you have a how-to channel, include a few tips that shows you're knowledgeable in your field.

    Other tactics include using the channel trailer to highlight a special promotion you're running or using one of your more popular videos as the trailer.

  • Keep it short and to the point: Anywhere from 30 seconds to 3 or 4 minutes maximum is a good length. Some YouTube creators recommend under a minute, although I've seen quite a few longer trailers that have captured my attention enough to subscribe. Use your best judgment, trying to include enough info on why someone should subscribe without being too long-winded.

  • Ask for the subscription: Make it easy for your potential subscribers to become REAL subscribers. Use YouTube's annotation feature to include a "call to action." The annotation feature allows you to include a text box overlaid on your video which will allow the viewer to immediately subscribe by simply selecting the box.

    A good technique is to ask within your video for the subscription accompanied by the "subscribe" annotation box. Make sure the box appears on the screen long enough for the viewer to take action.

    You can control where the subscribe request appears in your video and how long it runs all from within YouTube's annotation feature. To add annotations, log into your channel, go to the  Video Manager, choose Edit for the video you want to annotate and then select "Annotations."

How to Upload Your YouTube Channel Trailer

Once you've created your video, it's a pretty easy task to designate it as your trailer:

  1. Log into your channel.

  2. Make sure you've already uploaded the video you want to designate as your trailer. Set the video to "Public" so that others can view it. 

    Also, make sure you've given the video a title, description and keywords that will help YouTube direct traffic to your channel. To edit this metadata, go to the Video Manager and select the Edit feature for that video.

  3. Go to your "My Channel" page. Below your channel art, you'll see an option to "Promote Your Channel." Choose the "Channel Trailer" button.

  4. From the listing of your uploaded videos, select the video you'd like to use as your trailer. 


  5. Preview how the trailer will appear on your page. When you're satisfied, select "Done" to complete the process.

NOTE: You can always edit and update which video appears as your channel trailer. Simply log into your YouTube account, go to your "My Channel" page and hover over the channel trailer section of your page. Select the Edit pencil icon to open the Channel Update box. From here you can select a different video or you can opt to not have a channel trailer.

Other Ways to Customize Your YouTube Channel

Once you've created and designated your YouTube channel trailer, you'll want to ensure you've used all the design customization features available on YouTube to promote your channel. You'll want to become familiar with the YouTube One Channel design features, create an attractive YouTube channel icon and YouTube channel art. And, for the icing on the cake, you might want to consider monetizing your channel (that's right, making an INCOME from your videos) by becoming a YouTube Partner.

Be sure to check out all the above-mentioned articles on Groovy Videos and many others when you return from the YouTube channel trailer article to Groovy Videos: YouTube Channel Tips home page.

And, as always, thanks for watching, reading, liking and subscribing!

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