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Holly DeRuyter 11 min read

9 YouTube Features You May Not Know About

 This year, YouTube has really increased its offerings, giving the producer more control and opening possibilities for more interactive video.


If you want to get the most out of your YouTube videos, look into the following tools and functionality.


1. Insight

You wouldn’t judge your website’s performance by traffic alone, so why judge your video just by views? Insight, YouTube’s video analytics tool, measures views by date, tells you where users are finding your video (related search, embedded player, YouTube search, “viral”), and even gives you an “audience attention” score. We use this tool primarily to see how viewers discover the content—that way we can determine which distribution channels are most effective.


To access Insight, login to your account, select My Videos, find the video you want, and click “Insight”.


2. Annotations

We see the future of online video in its potential for interactivity—video comments, mash-ups, user generated tagging, and so forth. Using its Annotations tools, YouTube allows you to add text notes and bubbles, links to other YouTube videos or channels, and highlighted areas. The Ad Council’s “That’s Not Cool” campaign used Annotations best with its interactive video quiz.


3. Favorite Related Videos

If your organization doesn’t have a lot of its own videos, you can still have an effective YouTube channel. Find videos that speak to your issues and favorite them. Favorited videos will show up on your channel page and provide your viewers with relevant content and demonstrate you’re a good participant in the community.

Bicycle Tutor, for example, created one original video and have favorited 30 other videos. Their channel provides value and looks active.


4. Closed Captioning

For organizations that work within the international community or who cater to those with disabilities, video poses a challenge. With YouTube’s editing tools, you can add captions and subtitles right in the player.


5. Call to Action

I find the pop-up slider ads really annoying when I’m watching a video on YouTube—I’m usually not interested in purchasing an mp4 or playing a fantasy game. But if you’re part of the YouTube Nonprofit Program, you can use those sliders to your advantage and make your own ad run on your videos. It can link to your website, your latest campaign, or even your donation page.


Check out two examples by Refugees International and Charity:Water. If you’re part of the YouTube Nonprofit Program, login to your account, select My Videos, find the video you want, click “Edit” and find “Call-to-Action Overlay”. Enter your text and press save. If you’re not part of the program find, find out more here.

6. Upload by Phone

Now that the iPhone allows you to record video on your phone, you can upload video to YouTube directly from your mobile device. This opens up opportunities for organizations dealing with disaster relief or human rights, or those who want to give sneak peaks from a special event.


Check out these two videos for more instructions.


7. Skip to a Specific Time in the Video

Have you ever wanted to direct someone to a very specific moment in a video? Maybe it’s a long video and your viewer only needs to see one part of it. Or different constituents will find different parts of the video most interesting. Well, you can do that by adding #t=2m25s to the end of the video URL, where “2m25s” represents 2 minutes and 25 seconds into the video. You can replace this with whatever timestamp you need.


For example, Greenpeace has a video on the role of rice for Chinese framers. The video is more than 5 minutes long. If I only wanted to show you the part about the journalists that traveled to China to capture the farmers’ relationship with rice, I’d use the URL http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oxep_vY16OA#t=1m59s.


8. Autoshare Options

With so many social networks out there, updating them all can take a significant amount of time. By enabling Autoshare on your YouTube account, your uploads, favorites, and ratings will automatically post to your Facebook, Twitter, or Google Reader account.


To set things up, login to your account, go to Upload, and follow the instructions at the top of the screen.


9. Bigger Uploads

A year ago, YouTube bumped its upload size limit from 100MB to 1GB. Less than two months ago, it’s gone from 1GB to 2GB, allowing for higher quality HD uploads. That means that even your professionally produced video can still look good on the small screen. It also means YouTube is making significant moves to improve its user experience.


This article was written by Holly DeRuyter, Assistant Video Editor at See3 Communications, a firm that provides interactive media and marketing to nonprofit organizations. To learn more, sign up for their free webinar, “Crafting a Nonprofit Video Strategy” on August 26th.

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