The New YouTube Layout and What This Means for Your Channel

New YouTube Layout

Social media never stops changing. Platforms are constantly adding new features, updating usability and user experience, and tweaking the appearance of their apps and websites. Sometimes, change means a new algorithm or adjusted organic reach. Other times, it means giving the platform a whole new look

YouTube is the latest social media platform to get a drastic makeover. The new layout for YouTube rolled out in June 2020. While it has been met with mixed reactions, it’s clear the new layout has some advantages for the creators and businesses using the platform for marketing. 

In this post, we’ll take a look at YouTube’s new layout. We’ll take a brief tour at what’s new, then explore what these transformations mean for your brand. Finally, we’ll talk about how you can optimize your YouTube content to take advantage of these changes.

Let’s jump right in!

What Exactly Is the New YouTube Layout 

While it has undergone some changes, the new YouTube layout is aesthetically similar and familiar for long-term users. It features several adjustments to the number of videos displayed, thumbnail sizes, and channel analytics. In addition, the platform features an all-new Dark Mode for users who prefer a dark background over white.

Larger Thumbnails & Fewer Videos Featured  

One of the most noticeable differences between the old YouTube layout and the new is the size of the video thumbnails displayed on the home page. Thumbnails are larger now, and channel icons have also increased in size.

new YouTube layout

The fewer, larger-sized thumbnails serve to decrease clutter on the homepage. This decreases overwhelm for the user and displays only the most relevant videos to your subscriptions and recent views. 

New Analytics

The new YouTube layout brings with it a brand-new look for the analytics section. YouTube analytics are now more organized, like other native analytics dashboards for social media. That means it will now be much easier to find the exact information you’re looking for, more quickly than before. 

new youtube analytics

YouTube has added additional analytics for creators. The new information includes click-through rate (CTR) and in-depth data about where and how users are finding your videos online. You can also check out impressions and unique views to your videos. 

The platform has also added a date range called “Since published,” which creators can toggle to check their latest video’s performance in comparison to previous ones. The dashboard also features a Snapshot card view. 

Additionally, the new analytics dashboard lets you watch your video’s stats in real-time using the Realtime Activity feature. If you want to dig deeper into your data, you can also click to reveal more information about your video’s performance. 

advanced new youtube studio analytics

If you’re looking for deeper data on your YouTube channel and how it’s performing, the new analytics dashboard displays a wealth of important information. Users can still access the classic analytics dashboard if they prefer to use the previous layout. 

Dark Mode

In addition to the new layout and analytics features, YouTube now offers Dark Mode for an enhanced viewing experience. You can enable Dark Mode on both the desktop and mobile app versions of the platform (both iOS and Android). 

Dark Mode is easier on the eyes and helps to reduce eye strain. Additionally, it makes the video thumbnails in the feed stand out. 

new youtube dark mode

You’ll need to enable Dark Mode separately on your desktop account and on mobile. Here’s how to turn on YouTube’s Dark Mode on desktop: 

  1. Click the three dots in the upper right corner of the screen. If you’re logged in, click your user icon. Look for the menu item titled “Dark theme.” 
switch dark mode off on YouTube layout
  1. Click the arrow beside “Dark theme” to expand the menu item.
  2. Turn Dark Mode on or off by clicking the switch.

That’s it! The YouTube desktop site should now be in Dark Mode.

If you want to turn on Dark Mode for your mobile app, here’s how you do it: 

  1. Open your Account Settings.
New youtube dark theme
  1. Next, go to Appearance and select click the theme that’s currently selected (in this case, “Dark theme”).
  1. Select “Dark theme.” 
Youtube dark theme on mobile

On some devices such as iOS, you can allow your YouTube mobile app to adopt the device’s theme. So if your device itself is on Dark Mode, the app would follow. Otherwise, you can select the mode separately from this menu.

What These Changes Mean for Businesses & How You Can Optimize Your Content Accordingly 

Now that we’re familiar with the changes to the new YouTube layout, let’s see what these changes actually mean for your channel.

1. Fewer Featured Videos Means More Spotlight When You Are Featured 

When your videos are featured on the YouTube homepage, it’s now a lot easier to stand out. If you’re one video in ten rather than one in twenty, you’re more likely to get noticed, and more likely to rack up more views. 

How to Optimize For This 

To optimize your videos for the homepage, try to increase the likelihood of being featured by sending a lot of traffic to your YouTube channel in every way possible. Once users find your content once, they’re more likely to see it again.

Use relevant categories to show up for the right audience, and create interesting, clickbait-worthy video titles. Leverage keyword optimization wherever you can, too. 

2. There’s a Bigger Emphasis on Thumbnails 

In the new YouTube layout, thumbnails and icons are bigger than ever. That means they need to be high quality and great-looking. If you can create strong thumbnails for your videos, you’re more likely to stand out and get clicks. 

How to Optimize for Better YouTube Thumbnails 

To optimize your thumbnails for clicks, follow these best practices for YouTube thumbnail images

  • Choose clear images that are easy to make out, with plenty of white space and an engaging image
  • Your image should be 1280 x 720 pixels (minimum width of 640px) with a 16:9 aspect ratio
  • Make sure the image is in PNG, JPG, or GIF 
  • The file size must be under 2MB

Try using a design tool such as Snappa to create your YouTube thumbnails for maximum optimization. Inside the Snappa dashboard, you can choose from pre-made YouTube thumbnail templates. That makes it easy to get the sizing just right.

When you click on the YouTube Thumbnail template, you’ll see a list of pre-made designs you can choose from and tweak to suit your brand. 

youtube template layout

Finally, edit your chosen image in the editor. You can change your thumbnail font and background image. Alternatively, you can upload an image of your own.

youtube thumbnail layout

3. Analytics Are More Useful Than Ever

The organization of the new YouTube analytics is exceptional. But, you’re now getting an even better look at funnels, audience behavior, and more. Get a solid understanding of impressions, plus views and watch times from those impressions to make better decisions for your channel. 

new YouTube layout

How to Optimize For This 

Take some time to get acquainted with the new analytics so you can understand what information is there. Review your analytics regularly. They can offer exceptional insights to help you determine how to increase traffic, clicks, and relevance. 


Although the new YouTube layout brings many improvements for creators, there are still a lot of users who aren’t fans of it. Still, no one likes changes when they first roll out on social media platforms. 

The bottom line is, the new YouTube could be great news for businesses and content creators as long as you’re working to optimize your content (thumbnails included!) to engage users and really stand out.

If you need help optimizing your thumbnails for YouTube, give Snappa a try. Our easy-to-use tool will help you create attention-grabbing images that get more eyes on your channel. Click here to start your free trial

What do you think? How do you feel about the new YouTube layout? Are you excited as a business, and a user? Share your thoughts and questions in the comments below!