Vanity URLs are causing YouTubers to lose mobile views
If your YouTube views are down, this may be why…
Question: How important is the mobile device when it comes to YouTube ?
Answer: Critical !
According to YouTube Press Stats, more than half of the YouTube views come from mobile devices. Mobile users are spending more time per session watching videos where the average session is more than 40 minutes long.
So that’s a good thing right ?
Normally yes – however recently YouTubers which is the fancy-shmency word for those who create content and upload it to YouTube, have been reporting (complaining ?) that their number of views are down. There seems to be less people watching less videos than before. When I looked at my stats on my YouTube channel (shameless plug), I also noticed that the number of views are down – especially from mobile users.
Alarm bells rang as I started to research reasons my mobile audience is not watching videos. Has the mobile world found other online recreational ( XXX ?) activities? Where has some of the mobile audience disappeared to?
After some digging, the answer seems to be a technical glitch that YouTube is currently working on fixing.
YouTube we have a problem
The problem is HOW the mobile user tries to access the YouTube channel. If they use the YouTube app and access the channel then everything works perfectly fine.
However, when a user enters the short YouTube channel name on their phone’s web browser, then they receive an “Unknown Error” !
For example: if a user enters my channel http://YouTube.com/LironSegev then they will see this:
The same problem occurs on Android and iOS phones using multiple browsers.
I reported the problem with YouTube support as this is the same URL we have been using for years. YouTube support replied with :
The Temporary Solution to Redirected URL:
From what I can see, it seems the the issue is in the redirection when entering a short URL. These were known as vanity or custom URL and YouTube were available at some point for select YouTube accounts. YouTube accounts created after 2012 needed to use the format YouTube.com/c/[Username] or YouTube.com/user/[Username].
Therefore, the solution for mobile is to add either /c/ or /user/ to the URL and then the user is taken to your channel [note: the Vanity URL still works perfectly on a desktop browser]
Until a fix has been issued by YouTube, I would recommend changing the URL on any locations where you have your YouTube channel advertised such as email Signatures, Blogs, Media Kits etc.