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What is YouTube Studio and how does it work?

YouTube Studio logo
(Image credit: Google)

What is YouTube Studio?

YouTube Studio is the place where you manage your YouTube channel. It provides you with all the functions and information you need to manage your channel in one place. 

It competes with the best video editing software (opens in new tab), and so you’ll be able to upload and edit your YouTube videos (opens in new tab), manage live streams, view analytics data about who has watched your videos, read and respond to comments, and of course, manage settings. 

If you’re a part of the YouTube Partner Program (opens in new tab), there’s a monetization section, and there’s also an audio library for downloading free music to use in your videos.

YouTube Studio: How to get there

YouTube Studio dashboard

The YouTube Studio dashboard (Image credit: studio.youtube.com)

You can either go directly to studio.youtube.com or click on your profile picture from any YouTube page (found in the top right corner), and the link is below "Your channel" and "Paid memberships".

The very first page you land on will be the dashboard, which has a similar design to popular content management systems, like WordPress (opens in new tab), with links in the left column and a news feed, statistics, and quick links to key actions like uploading videos on the right.

YouTube Studio: Managing videos

YouTube's video listing page

The Videos listing page (Image credit: studio.youtube.com)

YouTube is obviously all about videos, so the Videos page is one of the places you’ll spend most of your time when on YouTube Studio. 

There are two tabs for Uploads and Live, Uploads being those that you’ve uploaded yourself, and Live being live streams. From both tabs you have the ability to sort your content by the date published, or by how many views, comments, or likes versus dislikes. 

If there are any restrictions limiting your videos’ audience, they’ll also be listed here, as will the visibility settings.

YouTube Studio: Video detail page

a YouTube video's details page

A video detail page (Image credit: studio.youtube.com)

To see more information about individual videos, hover over the thumbnail image or title, and then click on "Details". The detail pages look a bit different from the rest of the dashboard, with the left column replaced with navigation items specific to the video, and a thumbnail from the video at the top of the column.

The main part of the page is split into two tabs: "Basic" and "More options". From the "Basic" tab, you’ll be able to edit the title, description, and upload your own thumbnail images if the ones that YouTube automatically generates don’t suit. You’ll also be able to set the visibility and set audience restrictions.

From this tab, you can also add end screens and cards. End screens are little promos to other content that you can add to the end of a video, and cards are similar but appear as a little notification icon in the top right corner of the video.

Under the "More options" tab, there are lots of different pieces of information that you can edit. You can change the recording date, video location, the license to be used, distribution settings, category, the language the video is recorded in, caption settings, and upload your own subtitles.

You can also enable or disable comments, ratings, and embedding, and add messages to notify viewers of paid promotions.

YouTube Studio: Video analytics page

YouTube's analytics for a particular video

Each video has its own analytics page (Image credit: studio.youtube.com)

Once your video has been published, you’ll want to know how well it’s been received and you can do that from the video analytics page. This page is split into four tabs: "Overview", "Reach", "Engagement", and "Audience".

The "Overview" tab will show you graphs of the number of views your video has received, as well as the total number of hours it’s been watched and the people who have subscribed. 

There’s also a graph for realtime activity, so you can see how people are interacting with your video at that very moment; and tables for likes versus dislikes and audience retention. The latter covers how well a video keeps people watching, i.e. do they watch it all the way to the end or leave to view something else after a few seconds.

The "Reach" tab shows a similar graph to "Overview", but focuses on impressions instead of views. An impression is how many times a thumbnail for a video is shown on YouTube, with a view being recorded if someone clicks on a thumbnail to visit the video page.

The "Reach" tab also provides information about traffic sources. Did people come to the video through a search on YouTube, suggested videos, another video playlist, or from an external website?

The "Engagement" tab has a graph that focuses on watch time in hours, but also average view duration. The same tabs for audience retention and likes vs. dislikes are also on this tab.

The "Audience" tab gives you a bit more insight into who’s watching your videos, including their age and gender, countries, and languages.

YouTube Studio: Editor page

YouTube's editor page

Each video has its own analytics page (Image credit: studio.youtube.com)

From the "Editor" page, you’ll be able to trim your video if you want to remove sections from it, add audio from the library of free music, and add elements that overlay on the video. 

These include links to other videos, playlists, or channels. If you’re part of the Partner Program, you’ll also be able to add links. It’s also possible to add blurring to sections of a video, for instance, if you don’t want to show people’s faces.

Below the link to the "Editor" page are links to pages for "Comments", where you can view all the comments made on a video, including those that are held for review and those marked as spam; and "Subtitles", where you can set the language to use for subtitles.

YouTube Studio: Summary

YouTube Studio is a well-designed, easy-to-use application that provides you with all the tools and information you’d need to create a successful YouTube channel. 

The editing capabilities are a bit rudimentary, but if you aim to create a successful channel, it’s likely most of the more advanced editing features would’ve been carried out before you uploaded the video to YouTube in the first place.

The main uses you’ll get out of YouTube Studio will be in managing the settings for your video as they relate to the way it’s displayed on YouTube, and using the analytics to get insights into how well your content is performing; and ways to improve that performance if your long-term goal is to make money from your channel.


Further reading on video editing

We've got a series of related content on editing videos, including a guide on how to learn video editing (opens in new tab); five things to consider when selecting a video editing PC (opens in new tab) and when selecting your video editing software (opens in new tab); a guide on how to transfer footage for video editing (opens in new tab); and another on how to edit videos for free (opens in new tab).

John is a freelance writer and web developer who has been working digitally for 30 years. His experience is in journalism, print design and web development and he has worked in Australia and the UK. His work has been published in Future publications like TechRadar, Tom's Guide, and ITProPortal.