In a previous work contract the team I was leading created a YouTube gadget for Nikon Europe. It played into the whole Nikon tagline of ‘At the heart of the image’ and showcased real-life scenarios where people showed a guise of themselves through their Nikon camera.
For those who don’t know, a YouTube gadget is an application you can embed within a brand’s YouTube channel and create a bespoke experience rather than having to just work with YouTube’s look and feel. It’s great in that you can then really push the YouTube boundaries and surpass user’s expectations of what’s available to see within YouTube.
Implementation-wise it’s fairly simple – you create and host a page on your server, i-frame it in, adhere to some fairly straightforward guidelines from Google (typically around pixel dimensions for various target platforms, also some security constraints), have it undergo a technical review from the YouTube team (you need to book this well in advance) and you’re in!
Sound great? It was. Unfortunately, I just read that YouTube/Google are now looking to phase out YouTube gadgets by the end of this year.
If you’re keen on doing something like this for your brand, your best option now is to create an offsite branded video hub. You’ll want to use external video annotations and video description links to drive traffic to your video hub from the YouTube player. This means anyone seeing your video will see your branded video hub link and the video playback will be tracked via YouTube’s analytics platform. On the bright side, video hubs are now free from YouTube restrictions so you can have more flexibility like integration with other social networks, run promotions etc in all in the same place as your video content.