What Is a Branding Watermark?
A Branding Watermark is a YouTube feature that allows creators to add a branded image (typically a logo) to all of the videos on that channel. When clicked on, the watermark allows viewers to subscribe to a channel from within the video itself.
Make it Visible
YouTube recommends that you “use a transparent background rather than a solid one”.
While a transparent watermark is slightly less distracting for viewers, it’s also not going to convert very well.
Sure, that watermark isn’t distracting. But it’s also difficult to see. And if viewers don’t see your watermark, they’re not going to interact with it.
On the other hand, take a look at this watermark from Evan Carmichael’s channel:
That’s one watermark you’re not going to miss.
Of course, the choice between a solid or transparent watermark is ultimately up to you. If you’re concerned about distracting viewers with your Branding Watermark, go with a transparent image.
But if you want to maximize conversions, choose a solid watermark that stands out.
Choose an Image
When it comes to choosing an image for your watermark, you have two main options:
Channel Logo or Icon
Many channels use their logo (or a variation of it) as their Branding Watermark. The upside to this approach is that it reinforces your brand. That’s because, every time someone watches one of your videos, they’ll see that logo on the bottom of the screen.
Here’s an example:
The downside is that many YouTube viewers don’t know that they can click on your Branding Watermark.
That’s why some YouTubers use a watermark that looks like a YouTube subscribe button, like this:
If your #1 goal with your watermark is to get more subscribers, go with a watermark that resembles a YouTube subscribe button.
This makes it easy for viewers to know that they can subscribe to your channel using your watermark, which can bump up conversions.
For example, the Backlinko YouTube Channel used to use a transparent logo:
And when we changed the watermark to a small subscribe button, the number of subscribers we got from our watermark improved by nearly 70%.
Choose a Start Time
YouTube allows you to choose the exact moment that your watermark first appears.
One thing to keep in mind here is that this setting applies to all of the videos on your channel. Unfortunately, you can’t choose a custom start time for individual videos.
So: what’s the best start time for your Branding Watermark?
There’s no magical start time that works best for every channel.
That said, YouTubers tend to be in two different camps when it comes to Branding Watermark start time:
- Have it Appear at 0:00: In other words, have your watermark appear for your entire video. The advantage of this approach is that people see your watermark right away, which helps viewers realize they’re watching a video from your channel. The downside is that your watermark appears during the critical first 15 seconds of your video, which can distract viewers from your message.
- Start After Your Intro: This means your watermark will appear at around 00:30-1:00. That way, your watermark doesn’t draw attention away from your intro. However, when your watermark does appear, it’s very noticeable, which may distract viewers.
As you can see, there are pros and cons to each approach. And the exact timing is ultimately your call.
Don’t Block the Good Stuff
As you plan and film your videos, it’s important to remember that you’ll have a branding watermark on-screen in your final video.
So make sure to avoid putting important information (like helpful text) or compelling visuals in the bottom right-hand corner of your shot.
YouTube actually shows you how well your Branding Watermark is performing (in terms of click through rate).
This report shows you how many people see and interact with your watermark. In general, a super small percentage of folks will actually engage with your watermark. So don’t expect to see a click through rate of 5% or more.
That said, this report does allow you to test different watermarks to see which style and format work best for your channel.