Top five simple tips for improving YouTube channel performance

So you’ve set up a YouTube channel and added some content. You’re getting some activity but are wondering why similar channels are doing more views and engagement. 

There are some simple but very effective steps you can take to immediately improve channel performance. Derek Dyson, General Manager of Radar MCN explains. 

1. Thumbnails 

Video thumbnails have become a bit of a dark art in recent years. Go to some very successful YouTube channels such as Mr Beast and you can see examples of best practice in this space. You don’t need to be an Adobe Photoshop Ninja to create effective thumbnails but it is worth putting them in the hands of someone with some basic image editing skills.

It’s really important to ensure that thumbnails are a good representation of what the video is about. Yes make it exciting and try to include a tease of the key scene from the video to draw people in. If for example your thumbnail shows a crocodile in a fight with a snake, but in reality the video is just about crocodile and snake facts, people will soon click away. Make sure all text is legible particularly on a smartphone device. If your content includes “talent” it is always worth including them in the thumbnail. People like to see people on YouTube. 

2. Titles and Descriptions

Along with your thumbnails, putting some proper consideration into your titles and descriptions will go a long way to ensuring people will click on your view. Titles should be relatively succinct and should have consistency in style and tone. Like a newspaper headline they should also give potential audiences the key thing they will get out of watching this video. If we go back to our friend Mr Beast again, his titles are short, consistent, simple and tell you exactly what you are going to see (“I Spent 50 Hours Buried Alive”). Like with thumbnails, make sure that your description is an accurate representation of what happens in the video. YouTube, and audiences, are getting smarter at identifying “click bait”. 

Descriptions (the bit under the video on YouTube) should of course have more information about what the video is about but there is so much more these can be useful for. As a starting point, it’s best practice to have links to other YouTube videos and playlists, as well as calls to action to subscribe to the channel. Think of YouTube as the giant search engine that it is (second only to Google worldwide) and fill your descriptions with key words that will help people find your content.  

3. Playlists 

This one requires discipline and effort but is well worth the reward. Organising your content into different playlists helps audiences navigate their way around your channel. If you have managed to draw someone to watch your content, you want them to stick around and watch more. It is pretty much the best way for you to ensure if someone has finished watching one of your videos, they will automatically be offered the next one to watch. They are more likely to keep going if the next video is on a similar theme. Always make sure someone on the team is responsible for keeping these up-to-date and identifying new potential playlists. Playlists can be promoted in video descriptions and as part of end cards. 

4. Channel Artwork

This is an underrated aspect of best practice on your YouTube Channel. It’s important to have an eye-catching image and branding so audiences are assured that your channel is professionally run. It’s also one of your main noticeboards for audiences and you’ll note that many successful YouTube channels will always have their publishing schedule. For example, “new episodes published weekly” or “new season available”. You’ll need to make sure that you can deliver what you advertise, otherwise audiences who come for new content but don’t see anything published for months will often click away. 

5. Channel Set Up

Sounds really boring but there are ten sections you can complete as part of setting up your YouTube page. Use all of them! These include more simple “about” sections through to the option to have an unsubscribed video trailer for the channel (really worthwhile in terms of driving new subscribers). Make sure that any text reflects the tone of voice for your channel and includes any key words that will help drive search. 


There is obviously so much more to running a successful and profitable YouTube channel. Radar MCN has a network of channels with millions of subscribers driving billions of views every year. We work with video creators, producers and businesses take their channel to the next level. If you want to do the same, get in touch via our contact page or email at [email protected]

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