David Papp Blog

How to maximize YouTube’s new 3-second intro feature

Okay, so 3 seconds isn’t a whole lot of time, but it is possible to make a lasting impression even in that very short time span. Just think of that breathless last 3 second countdown before a rocket launch, for example. Adding a 3 second intro to your YouTube videos, brief though it may be, will help you make your channel’s branding more consistent. The best part? It’s extremely easy to do and you won’t have any problems following the steps even if you’re new to this whole YouTube creation gig.

1. Go to your channel and upload the 3 second intro video you’re going to use as an unlisted video.

2. Next, go to Channel Settings where you’ll find the InVideo Programming page. Click on that and then on “Add a branding intro.

3. From here you can decide whether or not you want to add the intro to all of your existing videos or only to those uploaded after a particular date.

You can change your intro whenever you want to – though you probably shouldn’t do so too often (you’re aiming for consistency, after all). As for how best to use those precious 3 seconds, here are a few tips:

  • If you’ve already got a cool, distinctive logo, just play it up. You can try animating it, adding a burst of sound in the background, and so on.
  • Are you putting words in there? This is a bit obvious, but try to keep whatever message you want to convey short and sweet. You can flash a whole paragraph’s worth of text in a second, but there’s no point if no one will be able to read it.
  • Remember, no ads! According to YouTube, the feature is not to be used as “ads, sponsorships, or product placements.”

36 thoughts on “How to maximize YouTube’s new 3-second intro feature”

  1. This is a very nice feture, thanks for the guide. I wish more youtubers used this feature, as the 3 second limit is just enough to not make me skip their intro, but watch it instead.

  2. I’m not a YouTuber, but it is pretty nice for them to put this feature in. Also, I really like that they specifically say that ads aren’t allowed to be played for your intro. I do watch a lot of YouTube, and can definitely say that a good intro can really draw people in. I remember when the Game Grumps channel first started and how much I loved the intro. I never skipped it. Not once.

  3. This is a great option. I was looking for something like this. Since I do a lot of music videos, and I want them branded, it’s a lot better than putting an intro into the video, since then most TV stations won’t play it.

  4. I don’t get it. As a professional content creator, surely I’d be able to edit my videos… well… professionally, and that includes a professional intro. And I have different intros for different series, because that makes sense.

    Of course, there are a lot of people that are not professional video creators and they’d have no clue how to edit an intro to their videos. In these cases, the quality of their videos is low enough already, a professional looking intro will not make their videos better. And if these people get a lot of views, then that’s because they’re doing something a lot of people want to see, and then obviously they don’t care about how professional or not the videos are, they just want to see the cool content.

    YouTube is wasting time and resources on nonsense like this, when they should work on fixing things. ContentID is still hopelessly broken, and with the recent switch to HTML5 in Chrome, the preferences don’t work anymore. Let them work on that, make the whole site a better place, that will help content creators and viewers have a better experience and is more beneficial than useless features.

  5. Is the intro really necessary? I always get frustrated when there’s an intro in a youtube video. I just want to see the damn thing, without having to wait for a silly intro to end.

    • I agree when it’s a long intro, but if it’s 10 seconds or less I think an intro adds to the experience. Gives your brain a few seconds to prepare and start paying attention. And if you like switching up the quality from 480p to 720p like I do it gives the higher quality some time to kick in before the actual content starts.

      It’s helpful for the video makers too because it increases their brand recognition, makes you more likely to remember the channel name later. Seems like a win-win situation for me. Altough I do agree that long intros, or intro’s that aren’t well done, can be annoying.

  6. This is a great idea. I have several YouTube videos and never thought about adding an intro to them. I think that this will be very good tool to use.

  7. Wow, I did not know they added that feature. It is a very helpful tool indeed. I think they should allow for longer intros but this is a good start. Hopefully as time goes on, they will improve upon it and add more cool features!

  8. How to maximize? Logo, logo, logo; brand, brand, brand!

    There’s no use in placing letters unless they are meaningful or supportive of your logo or brand. If you are an experienced youtuber you should have a good logo as the icon for your account in place already; prefer focusing on it.

    Do not repeat yourself by the way! If you are doing it like channels such as epic rap battles of history then be careful. It might be better to simply continue doing your branding intro “in-video style”. Your audience is already used to your current ways.

  9. Perhaps that three second video will mark it as distinctive. You put forth an effort to create that content. It’s yours. However, thieves have copied video content. They steal it and then call it their own.

  10. I guess this isn’t a bad feature. Three seconds is short enough that I wouldn’t bother trying to skip the intro. I do agree with a previous poster that Google should focus on fixing YouTube, because it’s still a bloody mess on all the browsers!

  11. This is a really great feature added to youtube. It is really helpful to businessmen like us to present our logos and video intros. This feature is great for branding purposes aswell.
    Thank you for this great post. 🙂

  12. Thank you for this descriptive guide. I didn’t know that Youtube had a feature like this. I wish that the video could be longer than 3 seconds. This is a nice to know feature for whenever I decide to start a Youtube channel.

  13. I do like the idea of a quick intro. I know some video marketers that have 30 second intros.
    On. Every. Single. Video.
    That gets REALLY old, especially if they put out content daily. However a quick little 3 second blip wouldn’t be so bad. Branding is important, especially in online or affiliate marketing, where so many people seem to be doing the exact same things. Nice to set your stuff apart, even if only a little.

  14. I don’t upload videos on Youtube but I do watch many videos. One thing that has always gotten on my nerves is the fact that some of the videos have an extremely long intro that is more obnoxious and annoying than it is practical. Youtube made the right decision when limiting the intro to only three seconds.

  15. Great tips. I saw this feature just the other day but wasn’t sure whether I’d like to use it. With these tips, it may be quite useful, though.

  16. I think this feature is so awesome and helpful, as I record gaming videos and would prefer to upload them as is, without having to edit it in Sony Vegas and re-encode it with an intro. I also enjoy the fact that you can change the intro as you please, as your older videos will have newer branding if you decide to change it. This will help content creators seem more professional, and that’s always a plus!

  17. I actually hope that adblock is able to block this stuff as well. I’m pretty careful to insulate myself from all forms of advertising which I consider to be nothing more than propaganda, a fact which history confirms as the first advertising agency was created by ex-government consultants who were hired to create weapons grade propaganda for the US during WW I.

    Branding? Does it really matter? I’m not so sure. When I go to look at content, who does it really does not matter to me and I am no more likely to return because some brand or person creates more content than I am to visit something that catches my eye with the headline. Speaking of which, I believe the headline to be way more important that any type of branding will ever be as the future trend is for people to avoid advertising as much as possible.

  18. Thank you for this. I have a youtube channel and never did the intro. I have started working on one a couple of months ago. I didn’t know youtube actually had it to where you can add a intro to all of your existing videos I will definitely look into that.

  19. Monstercat actually uses this feature quite well to advertise their new albums. They have a nice little pop up feature that shows what album they’re selling, and an annotation/link thing to take you to it. It’s pretty well done, and I think a lot of youtubers can make something good out of it.

  20. Thanks for this guide. I didn’t even know about this feature to be honest. I have some videos I uploaded a long time ago that still get residual hits, I will give this intro a try, thanks.

  21. I think this is a nice feature for everyone with a YouTube channel. Most channels do not have many followers so this will be great for those people to increase their views.

  22. Intros make Youtubers who they are. It is a nice way to add a special touch to the video, which is a very nice feature. 3 seconds is also a nice length, where it is not too long to be boring but also not too short to be unnoticed. This will also save some Youtubers time in having to edit that part into their video.

  23. Nice tutorial worked out pretty well. Need more tips like this since im a big youtube fan.

  24. I might just try this one out by uploading my 3-second creation. With YouTube it’s the music that requires some careful decisions. We are not encouraged to use copyrighted tunes without permission. And even if we get the permission from the copyright holder of the tune, we have forms to fill and a copyright class to take if it does’n’t work. I’m not so sure if this applies to anything less than 15 to 30 seconds, but I might just give this a go.

  25. I recently started a youtube channel. I had no idea this feature existed. I often see videos with extreamly long intros with eccentric music. But 3-4 seconds is the perfect amount of time to let people know who you are.

  26. I never knew this feature existed! I honestly wonder why more channels don’t use this feature. It’d save some time in editing and rendering for each video, and it would decrease the size of the video too. There are also too many channels with intros that are over 30 seconds long, which I find to be too long for just saying who you are.

  27. I don’t create my own videos for YouTube but I spend a lot of time watching the videos…at least an hour a day. The new 3-second logo idea sounds wonderful to me. I’m so tired of clicking on a video and having to sit through the 45 second, repetitive introductions to get to the content I wanted to watch. I hope that a lot of the YouTubers will start to use the feature so that the long, boring introductions become a thing of the past! I think that YouTube has been pretty consistent with introducing features that we like…well except when they ruined the comments section.

  28. I agree with the fact that this feature is useful in the sense that it helps with branding your channel. However, I do think that three seconds really isn’t a lot of time to put it out there. I suspect users have to get very creative in their delivery method.

  29. This is a nice feature although I think I’d personally prefer to just use a template in my video editing software and put whatever intro I wanted to use there instead.
    I mean, really, how much extra rendering time is really 3 seconds? 😉

    It’s neat that youtube offer this feature though, I’m sure alot of people prefer to do it this way!

  30. Good point. Buzzfeed and CollegeHumor make both good use of this — making sure that the name of your channel is clearly shown early on. After all, it’s very useful when you want to make content that gets shared! Title of the video and name of the channel are really all one needs to make sure that the viewer registers easy and quick info. Should not last longer than the time it takes to recognize what it is and who it’s from, really.

  31. 3 seconds is definitely long enough. Any longer is plain annoying. I agree that this can be a great way to promote your brand though – any free marketing ideas are always welcome!

  32. This is a good feature for those who want standard intros. I guess it’s kind of like with a TV series, people become familiar with the start and this helps identify your content. I can see how this helps people identify and remember your youtube channel.

  33. Previously, I made and produced YouTube videos in my free time. I usually made my own intros as well. My problem with the community as of now is that the introductions are extremely lengthy. I have seen some that range from 1 minute – 2 minutes long. This feature should fix that hopefully.

  34. This is very useful especially for people who are just starting to use youtube videos as a tool to promote their businesses. I don’t have a youtube channel yet but I need to bookmark this page for future reference. I didn’t know you could do that by just playing around with the settings! Cool hack!

  35. Very nice feature. Takes out the massive hassle of having to retroedit all of your uploaded videos just so you can put your intro on there. Way to think of the content creators Youtube.

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