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5 Must-Learn Hidden YouTube Features

By Lena Harris on Tue, 30 Jan 2018

Being the number one platform for hosting online video, YouTube is an incredibly competitive space. While the platform does a pretty good job of recommending content to viewers, it can be difficult to remain visible over competitors and grow a subscriber base. While you’ve loaded your video descriptions with keywords and shared via social, you might be wondering how else you can get an edge over competition.

Thankfully, YouTube offers a few hidden ways to improve your channel and optimize specific videos to reach a wider audience. We’re blowing the lid on a handful of YouTube marketing tricks that you can keep in your toolbox—check them out below.

Make a Vanity URL

This suggestion is as basic as YouTube tips get, but one that a lot of people don’t know exists since the feature is relatively hidden. A vanity URL makes it easier for fans to discover and reach your profile. It also makes it easier to write out and share on marketing materials.

Before you set one, be aware that you can’t change a URL once it’s set—so make sure this one counts! You must also have over 100 followers with an account over a month old. Finally, you must have uploaded an avatar image and channel art.

To set your URL, simply go to your advanced account settings. If you meet with the requirements detailed above, you’ll see a link for setting a custom URL.

Make Use of Transcripts

Ultra-useful but nestled under an easy-to-miss menu, video transcripts are one of the best hidden YouTube features.

YouTube automatically generates transcripts of any video uploaded to the platform, and it’s one of our favorite under-used YouTube hacks. You may cleverly use this feature to easily create transcripts of audio and video (for example, an interview that you want to post to a blog as text). Simply upload the file as a private video. To access the transcript, view the video and select “Transcript” under the “More” menu to the right of the share button.

Because this is automatically generated, you’ll need to do some polishing on the transcript. But the brunt of the work is already done, making the process so much easier than transcribing yourself.

There’s more to do with a transcript, though. In fact, you should ensure that all the transcripts for your videos are accurate and polished whether you intend to publish the text or not. This is because transcripts factor into search ranking and visibility. Once you’ve polished a transcript of a video (or uploaded your own), paste it into your video’s description to get an edge over competing videos—just a little YouTube hack we picked up on.

Use Cards and Calls-to-Action

Are you aware of YouTube cards? They’re a newer feature replacing annotations. You can use cards to link to product pages, other videos or even poll your viewers. This makes cards a great tool for businesses who want to connect their viewers to products and services.

You can easily set cards in the YouTube Creator Studio. When linking to another page, be sure to use a tracking token to measure how many viewers are clicking through. Cross-reference this with other video metrics, like how many click throughs your video got in relation to its overall view count.

It’s also a good idea to add an end screen to your videos. Here, you can add a card suggesting the next video viewers watch.

Go Live with YouTube Live Events

YouTube is king for streaming prerecorded video, but it’s often forgotten as a platform for livestreaming. YouTube has made it easier to host live events, allowing for multiple cameras, encoding options and more within the native platform. This makes it a smart but underrated tool for creating professional, scheduled live events. You can even go live via mobile!

Some features not listed above include backup streams and event scheduling. When you schedule a stream, your subscribers will be notified and can even set a reminder to ensure they don’t miss it. Learn more about livestreaming on YouTube here.

Get More Fans with Fan Finder

YouTube has done a pretty amazing job at suggesting content to viewers that they think they’d like to see. You can take further advantage of this with Fan Finder, a feature that will show your channel ad to users who it thinks would be interested in your channel. It’s one of the best YouTube marketing tricks for audience growth, because you already know the ad is relevant to the people viewing it.

To get started, create a short video that explains the purpose of your channel and why it would be useful for people to follow. Remember, this is a bit of a sales pitch! Viewers will have the option of skipping the ad after 5 seconds, so get your message out fast.

You can submit your ad (and check out examples of great ones) right here. Once your ad is approved, it’ll be matched with viewers who are interested in your type of content.

Let Us Know Your Secret YouTube Tips

Those are out favorite YouTube marketing tricks. Did we miss any that you use? Don’t keep it a secret; let us know your favorite hidden YouTube features in the comments below!

Tags: YouTube, Tips