CREATOR’S GEM

4 proven steps for a YouTube channel makeover (Easy walkthrough, with illustrations)

Your unpopular videos deserve a second chance.

Najmi Akibi

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A guy sitting on a couch watching Youtube on a tablet device.
[Author’s original art collection]

A channel creator who doesn’t even try to revive unpopular YouTube videos that are no longer getting traction is wasting a BIG opportunity!

It’s an opportunity for a makeover.

It’s an opportunity to create more content and challenge your creativity.

An opportunity to give the unpopular videos their time to shine.

For a successful channel makeover, you’re gonna need a proper traffic control and getting new looks for selected videos.

So here’s what you’re going to do:

👨‍💻 Step 1 — Prioritize evergreen videos for thumbnail redesigns.

A screenshot of a sorted result from a Youtube search using the keyphrase ‘ice bucket challenge’, without quotation marks. Yellow annotations were made to focus on the sorting method by view count and the VidIQ data for views per hour, which will be discussed soon.
[Source: YouTube— click to enlarge]
  • Use the famous (and free) VidIQ tool to show the velocity stats for the sorted videos. This stats represents the number of views a video gets every hour over the last 48 hours.
  • As you can see above, videos for the topic of ice bucket challenge are still being watched despite being 4 or 8 years old. The size of your competitors doesn’t need to bother you in this case, since none of their recent videos came up in the sorted result. Besides, they’re not channels making only ice bucket challenge videos. This is a good example of an evergreen content with potential competing power.
  • Decide that you’d like to go through with this particular topic.
  • Finally, select the unpopular videos from your YouTube channel relevant to this topic to be curated for thumbnail redesign works.
  • Refer to my previous article where I discussed thumbnail designs in depth by visiting the link below:

👨‍💻 Step 2 — Manipulate the audience retention factor.

  • It takes more than a fresh look to save those dying videos from their rotting coffins.
  • While a redesigned thumbnail might entice people to click more, an optimized video content will entice them to stay longer.
  • A good analogy is that you’ve figured out how to invite more of them to go through the door, but now’s the time to lengthen the duration of their stay.
  • And this is called audience retention.
  • By Mr. Beast’s standard, a good audience retention is at 70% for a 30-minute video.
  • That’s a high-end goal.
  • On my faceless channel, a typically good video performs at a minimum retention rate of 60%, like this:
A graph of blue line on a dark background showing the retention state over the course of the video.
[Source: My YouTube Studio’s video analytics]
  • Notice that the decline in retention over the course of the video’s duration is steady, without significant dips. This, coupled with the fact that the minimum retention rate when the video ends being over 60%, has made it a decently performing video.
  • A worse performing video looks like this:
A graph of blue line on a dark background showing the retention state over the course of the video.
[Source: My YouTube Studio’s video analytics]
  • Notice that the decline in retention over the course of the video’s duration is NOT steady in the first quadrant, with a noticeably sudden dip from an almost flat line. This, coupled with the fact that the minimum retention rate when the video ends being less than 50%, has made it a worse performing video compared to the first example.
  • In order to manipulate audience retention data, you’ll first need to identify the part where the sudden decline occurs, click on it, and the red line will move to that section as a result. Your video playback at the top will then automatically show the corresponding frame so that you’ll be able to play the video at the specified timeline:
A graph of blue line on a dark background showing the retention state over the course of the video.
[Source: My YouTube Studio’s video analytics]
  • Once you’ve recognized the whereabouts of the moments in the video where the audience lose interest, you’ll go to the Editor section just underneath the Analytics:
A screenshot of the Youtube studio with an orange arrow pointing at the feature of interest.
[Source: My YouTube Studio’s video analytics]
  • Next, opt for the Trim & Cut feature:
A screenshot of the Youtube studio with an orange arrow pointing at the feature of interest.
[Source: My YouTube Studio’s video analytics]
  • Select New Cut for the red slider to appear:
A screenshot of the Youtube studio with an orange arrow pointing at the feature of interest.
[Source: My YouTube Studio’s video analytics]
  • Play around with the slider to adjust the position of the frame(s) to be edited out.
  • Before you save the editing work, position the grey timeline header before the first cut-point and play the new video outcome.
  • Repeat the steps if you have multiple frames to edit out from the video; the longer your video is, the more sections you should expect to edit out, considering how your retention graph looks like.
  • Note that not all dips on the graph will be suitable for editing out. Sometimes the part where your viewers are bored is unfortunately the essential part of the video, yet you presented the content with poor execution. If discarding such sections results in a video that doesn’t make any sense either chronologically or topically, keep them in.
  • Once you’re satisfied, save the changes made. (At the time of writing, I am unable to determine how to undo the editing once the work is saved, so if anyone knows how, let me know in the comment section).
  • The new retention graph with the edited video will NOT be automatically updated. Even once it’s updated, it won’t automatically affect your video’s performance.
  • This tactic is not meant to be a cheat to the system. Your video’s performance, as I mentioned in my previous article, is based on the feedback from the viewer behavior’s data (e.g. likes, shares etc.)
  • Having said that, this tactic definitely increases the chance for a better performing video, because you’ve removed the bad apples from the basket. But at the end of the day, it’s up to your viewers to enjoy the new experience and therefore guarantee its success.
  • Hence is why the following additional steps are needed, so as to increase the chance of success even further.

👨‍💻 Step 3 — Create/Upload new, related videos and establish internal linking structures between the old and new.

A screenshot showing an example of how an end screen appears, with helpful annotations such as an orange arrow and a note saying ‘only one end-screen’.
Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u_QwfttZLzU
  • I deliberately chose this example because it’s the best practice in my opinion (and I’m basing this from what I observe from established channels too). YouTube allows up to four end screen elements. Most people put two up on the screen. But really, the best practice is to put only one. If you leave an audience with a choice, your call-to-action power degrades.

Pro-tip: In the (new) videos, you must include a verbal call-to-action sentences. If you’re making an educational/informational content, justify to the audience with specific reasons why they should click to watch the next video on the end-screen. If you’re making entertainment content, it’s suffice to say generic things like “If you want to watch more videos like this…” The more generic the call-to-action is, the less power it holds. But the advantage that comes with this is, you’ll have the flexibility to change the suggested video on the end-screen element in the future when you have fresh/better video suggestions. On the other hand, with a more specific call-to-action, changing the end-screen video in the future might not synergize with the message, unless you use the Trim & Cut feature to edit out the part where you’re saying the words.

  • The second & third way to establish linkage are by using a combination of call-to-actions inside the Description & Comment sections, like this:
A screenshot showing an example of link call to actions, with helpful annotations such as an orange arrow.
Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u_QwfttZLzU

👨‍💻 Step 4 — Make full use of YouTube’s Community Tab to disperse communication materials and create a sense of community.

  • YouTube’s Community Tab is a feature for YouTube channel creators to ‘get intimate’ (no, not that kind of intimacy) with their audience.
  • You should make full use of it.
  • You may put your call-to-action links in the Community Tab to update the viewers when new videos are released. You can also get creative with the different formats of how you interact with your audience. Other than giving them Updates, you might also want to inform them with news in advance (Announcement), or you can use the Tab to spark Conversations:
A screenshot showing examples of the three ways to get intimate with the audience through the Community Tab on YouTube.
Source: https://www.youtube.com/@FilmBooth/community
  • Speaking of the Community Tab, another popular way to engage with the audience using the Community Tab is by setting up polls. This is the favorite way of another popular YouTuber, Nate from the Channel Makers.
  • Polls can be text-based or image-based. Awesome!

For my next article, I’m excited to share how YouTube channels can make the most out of the platform’s lesser-known tools when hiring brand consultants.

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Najmi Akibi

Whether you create ads, content, brands, or designs, I help you do what you do better. Let's hang out on LinkedIN: https://www.linkedin.com/in/najmi-akibi/