In the competitive world of YouTube, getting viewer attention is one of the biggest hurdles to overcome.
Even when you have an established audience, most of your subscribers will still probably have dozens—perhaps hundreds—of other channels that they are subscribed to.
The unfortunate result of this is that, even though they are subscribed to you, your latest videos could get lost in the shuffle depending on what else is being released at a similar time. And with 500 hours of new content being uploaded every minute, there is always something else being released at a similar time.
“Ringing the bell”—clicking on the notifications icon—can help to get your videos into your subscriber’s feeds, but even that might not do the trick if your subscribers have notifications turned on for several other YouTubers.
YouTube Premieres are another tool in your arsenal when it comes to getting attention for your videos, but what is a YouTube Premiere?
A YouTube Premiere is a mini live stream of a newly published youtube video. Unlike normal scheduled videos a Premiere has a countdown before it starts, a live chat feature to interact with the content creator and an opportunity to gain some income as a creator with super chats.
By essentially announcing your video ahead of time and giving it a landing page, there is more time for your upcoming video to find its way into people’s feeds and consciousness. We’re going to take a deep dive into how Premieres work, why you need them, and how best to use them.
How YouTube Premieres Work
Being able to answer the question of what is a YouTube Premiere is only part of the battle; you still need to know how to use it! When you upload a new video, you can hit publish immediately and put it out to the world. If you are planning a little further ahead, you might keep it private for a little while.
Keeping videos private to start with is a useful tool because it means your video will be fully processed when you do make it public, and it means you will have a link for your video ready to go when you do make it public. But as useful as this method is, your viewers will still not be aware of it until it goes live.
If you have a strong social media following, you could always drum up interest for your upcoming video on places like Twitter and Facebook, but the effectiveness of even that is dubious when there is no immediate link to share.
Unfortunately, people tend to be a bit flaky about remembering things like that unless they are diehard fans.
A good way to look at a YouTube Premiere is as a way of uploading your video privately while giving it a landing page that you can link to. The landing page will look like a regular YouTube video page minus the actual video and will let your viewers know how long they have to wait for the video to premiere.
The page will also feature a chat window, allowing your viewers to socialise with each other while they wait for the video to premiere.
Perhaps most importantly, however, there is an option to set a reminder for the premiere time, which circumvents that pesky habit we humans have of mentally making plans and forgetting to follow through with them.
Premieres are especially useful for YouTuber’s whose videos have a limited shelf life. If your content is evergreen—meaning it maintains relevance for a long time after its initial upload date—getting viewers through the door on day one is not as important. If you are making content that is very much current, such as gossip videos, news commentary, or even personal vlogs, you want to get as many eyeballs on the video at release time as possible. Think about from the perspective of a viewer. If a current events video from three days ago pops up in your feed, you are much less likely to click on it—unless that channel was your only source of news—since the content of the video will already be out of date.
Another feature of YouTube Premieres is the fact that the video plays like a live stream when it does go public. Until the video has been premiered, viewers will not be able to skip forward beyond the point where the video has reached so far.
This helps to create more of a sense of an event, rather than just a new video upload, since everyone watching it live knows they are all seeing the content at the same time.
Making the Most of Your YouTube Premieres
Regardless of how much of a potential boost to your channel a YouTube Premiere can bring, there is no sense in using the feature if you don’t intend to make the most of it. But how do you do that?
It can help to think of it as similar to a movie premiere since that is essentially what it is modelled from. There are four basic stages to the process;
The build-up is the period leading up to the premiere of the video, and begins when you first start promoting it. For most YouTubers, this will be when the premiere is created, and there is a linkable page to direct your viewers to.
During this period, you will be looking to draw attention to your premiere, and hopefully, get plenty of people clicking that “set reminder” button. You should make full use of any social media sway you have during this period, as well as the community tab on YouTube if you have access to it.
It is best to get the link up at least a day or two before the date you intend to premiere the video, as this will give you plenty of time to drum up the interest you need.
Though technically part of the build-up, here we are referring to the time immediately before the premiere itself. This could be as much as an hour before, but really the time that things begin to get going will be organic and determined by when your viewers start piling into the chat.
People generally love to be part of things, and somebody who is on the fence about watching your premiere will be more likely to stick around if they check-in and find a bustling chat room full of people interacting with each other.
Your role in this part is to be an active participant. Don’t just leave it to your viewers to chat amongst themselves while they wait for the video; get in there and join in. Talk to them about the video, get them excited for what’s coming. If people are interested enough in your content to be in your Premiere’s chat just before it goes live, the chances are they will be interested in talking to you. Your active participation in this stage will get the chat flowing which, as we mentioned above, is a good thing for retaining more viewers.
As we mentioned, a premiere plays like a live stream in that viewers cannot skip forward. This helps to create more of a sense of an event around the release of the video, and you should capitalise on that by remaining active in the chat while the video is playing.
Viewers like to feel part of things, and being able to interact with you during the video will certainly help to make that desire a reality.
After the Premiere
Once the video is live, and the excitement of the premiere is over, it’s time to switch back to regular YouTuber mode. Promote the video the same way you would for a regular non-premiere video, and try to catch any of your subscribers and other interested viewers that the premiere missed. For videos that aren’t evergreen, the first twenty-four hours after upload usually pull in the majority of that video’s views, so you definitely make the most of those twenty-four hours. Of course, if your videos are evergreen, there’s less urgency about this initial period, but it certainly won’t hurt to give your videos an extra push in the beginning.
Too Much of a Good Thing?
YouTube Premieres is an excellent tool for drumming up interest in your upcoming videos, but there can be an element of “The Boy Who Cried Wolf” about it if you premiere every video you release.
In short, YouTube Premieres are intended to highlight special videos. For some channels, that may apply to every video that gets released.—for example a channel that releases videos months apart, or a channel with massive production values or big-name guests. If, on the other hand, you are putting out weekly videos—or even more frequently—and you are premiering every one of them, your viewers will very quickly stop seeing your premieres as something special that they should tune into.
How this will work for your channel specifically is something only you can tell, but use your best judgement when deciding which videos to premiere. Once your viewers have mentally assigned a negative sentiment to something, it is very hard to undo it.
Thumbnails Just Got Bigger
Good thumbnails are an essential component in any successful YouTube channel, but another dimension of importance is added by YouTube Premieres. Though there are some situations where your thumbnail may be shown in all its high-resolution glory, viewers typically don’t see your thumbnails as anything other than… well… a thumbnail!
The tiny little image that shows up in search results and recommended tabs is usually the only action your thumbnail sees, and so it can be tempting to only spend time making it look good at that size.
With YouTube Premieres, your thumbnail will occupy the space where the video would ordinarily be until that video goes live so that it will be much more visible than your usual thumbnails.
Now, we would advise that you put lots of effort into your thumbnail regardless of whether you intend to use YouTube Premieres. After all; they do get seen full size occasionally, and YouTube could change the way their platform displays things at any time. You don’t want to open YouTube one day to find they have doubled the size of the thumbnails and suddenly your videos look terrible in the sidebar. But if you have been making your thumbnails without much concern for how they may look on the big screen, now is the time to change that.
When to Use Premieres
We touched on this above, but there are times when YouTube Premieres are perhaps not appropriate, and times when you are missing out by not making use of them.
The primary reason you might want to avoid using YouTube Premieres is if you release a lot of content and you are putting out what amounts to a regular video at your usual interval. This is especially the case for channels that make daily videos since the viewers will quickly get fatigued by the constant barrage of updates; they will have only just finished watching the last one before the next premiere is popping up in their feeds.
If you release videos far less often—say once every two weeks or once a month—then premiering may be more appropriate for your regular uploads. However, an argument could still be made that you should save it for exceptional videos rather than your usual fare.
These special videos, however, are where you absolutely should make use of YouTube Premieres. These videos might include subscriber milestone specials, big announcements, or really anything that constitutes a noteworthy thing for your channel. Videos like this will already carry an air of excitement with your viewers, and using YouTube Premieres on top of that will only serve to build up that interest even more.
How to Setup YouTube Premiere
Setting up a YouTube Premiere is very easy. Once you have your video ready, head over to YouTube and upload it as normal. When you get to select how the video will go out (Public, Private, Unlisted, Scheduled), select “Scheduled”.
Let the video finish uploading so you can set all of the details for your video, being sure to cover things like monetisation, cards, and end screens, you should be able to see a toggle near the visibility options that says “Set as Premiere”. From there, make sure your data is correct, and as soon as you hit save, your video’s page will be live for your viewers to visit.
You may want to set your video to unlisted first, that way you can fill out all the details at your leisure, make sure you’re happy with the thumbnail and titles, and when you’re ready, change it to scheduled.
And you’re done!