A few of my contacts at Google have recently informed me that the branded YouTube channel (formerly $50,ooo to setup), is now being offered for free to all government departments (this includes the Canadian Government of course).

What’s the difference between a branded and non-branded channel? Here are the additional features that you will get:

  • Auto-play – Video plays immediately when someone goes to the channel
  • Other channels - Feature up to 16 other channels on a brand channel
  • Channel banner  - 960×150 top branding banner on a brand channel (image map supported)
  • Side column image  – 300×250 image on left hand side of channel
  • Branding box – Custom text module that supports rich text and hyperlinked text
  • Contest module support – PDF with more info
  • Carousel support – PDF with more info
  • Mosaic support - View Demo
  • Video wall support – View Demo
  • Custom gadget support – 960×460 (full-width) new recommended size for custom gadgets
  • 1 MB background image – User channels have background size limit of 256KB
  • Channel private setting - Brand Channel owners can set their channels to private. User channels are always forced to public.
  • Google analytics – Brand channels can be opted into GA automatically. Gadgets require separate GA tags
  • 1×1 ad tag support – Served via DFP. Can include pixels, tracking tags (i.e. Spotlight), or research tags (i.e. Comscore). View the approved vendor list
  • Simple 1×1 support - No cookie support / simple hosted image call
  • Video page banner – 300×45 branding banner that lives on all advertiser watch pages / clicks to brand channel

Sure enough, a few Government of Canada departments have already jumped onto this. Especially the ones that were already using the regular YouTube channel offering. A great initiative is being put on today (November 9th, 2009) by Veteran’s Affairs. They are using YouTube  to reach young  Canadians in the lead up to  the November 11th Remembrance Day ceremonies. This morning they launched their French and English Brand Channels and also reserved the homepage of www.youtube.com. These “homepage takeovers” on YouTube can deliver anywhere from 5-8 million impressions in a single day (according to my Google contact). Of course the more important question is, so what? What action was taken as a result? This is where a well though out web analytics strategy will come into play, which I surely hope Veteran’s Affairs has in place. I’d love to see what actions incoming YouTube web traffic performs on the Veteran’s Affairs website, or if at the end of the day, more people are wearing poppies.

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