How to Update a Video on YouTube
Updating a video on YouTube while retaining your hard-earned engagement can seem daunting. Dive into this guide to learn how to update your content while keeping your existing engagement largely intact.
If you’re a YouTube creator, and especially if you are part of the YouTube Partner Program, chances are you’re going to want to polish your old content from time to time. Perhaps your audience has changed, or maybe you’ve obtained new information that you’d like to include in the video.
But can you replace a video on YouTube? And how can you enhance your content without losing the elements that made the original video so great?
Here’s how you can update a video on YouTube while retaining your viewership.
Can I Replace a Video on YouTube?
Unfortunately, once a video has been uploaded to YouTube, there isn’t a feature that allows you to replace the old file with a new one while keeping the original video’s URL and engagement.
Each video you upload is given a unique URL, and altering that URL’s content can be problematic for viewers. But even though direct replacement isn’t an option, there are a few steps you can take to direct users to and update YouTube video content.
Uploading the Updated Video
Successfully updating YouTube videos requires a careful, methodical process.
1. Prepare the New Content
Before making any changes on YouTube, make sure your new video is finalized. This means editing the video, getting all visual and audio elements in order, and saving it in a format that’s supported by the platform.
2. Upload the New Version
Open YouTube. In the top right corner, click on the camera icon labeled “create.” From the drop-down menu, select “upload video.” Here, you can go through the standard video upload process. This involves selecting your video file, giving it a title, and writing a description.
3. Adjust Your Privacy Settings
If you aren’t quite ready for your audience to see the new video, you can set it to “private” or “unlisted.” This will allow you to make additional tweaks or simply plan a strategic time for its release.
Guiding Viewers to the New Video
Learning how to replace a video on YouTube is only half the battle. Before you show off your new content to the world, it’s important to ensure a few more things are in place.
1. Edit the Old Video’s Description
To make viewers of the original video aware of the existence of the updated version, go to the old video and click on “edit video.” At the beginning of the description, add a link to the new video with a note such as “Check out the UPDATED version here!”
By placing this info at the start of your description, more viewers are likely to see it.
2. Take Advantage of YouTube’s In-Video Tools
YouTube offers two powerful tools to direct viewers from one video to another: cards and end screens.
- Cards: These small, interactive notifications appear in the top right corner of a video. For the old content, you can add cards to your videos that pop up early in the playback, notifying viewers of the updated content and giving them a direct link.
- End Screens: End screens appear in the last 5-20 seconds of your video. You can add an element pointing to your new video with a note like "watch the updated version here!”
3. Pin a Comment
Another effective strategy is to leave a comment on the old video that points viewers to the updated version. After writing the comment, you have the option to pin it, ensuring it remains the top comment and is easily visible to all viewers.
4. Determine the Fate of the Old Video
Once you've set up all the pointers directing viewers to the updated content, you have a choice to make regarding the old video:
- Leave it Live: If the old video has a significant number of views, comments, or holds sentimental value, you might decide to keep it up.
- Un-list the Video: If you'd rather the old video not appear on search results or your YouTube channel's main page, you can opt to un-list it. This means only those with a direct link (like the one in your description) can view it.
- Delete the Video: If the old video might harm your channel's reputation, or if it's too outdated, you might choose to delete it altogether. Do keep in mind that this action is permanent.
A Couple More Tips
You can improve your content by adding music and annotations. If your original video lacks these features and you’d like to include them with your new content, follow these steps:
Using YouTube Studio For Music
Go to YouTube Studio and click on “videos” in the left sidebar. Then, select the video you want to edit. From the editor tab, click on “audio” to access the audio library. You can choose from a vast library of royalty-free music and sound effects provided by YouTube.
Once you select a track, you can adjust its volume relative to the original audio. After making your selections, click on “save” to add music and update your video.
Localize the YouTube Video
To get to the next level in terms of accessibility and reach, add subtitles to the YouTube video to reach a whole new audience by breaking the language barrier.
125+ languages are supported and subtitles are added with superb accuracy and speed thanks to AI technology.
Since YouTube no longer supports native annotations, you'll need to use video editing software to add annotation features before uploading or re-uploading the video. Adobe Premiere Pro, Final Cut Pro, and DaVinci Resolve are all great options.
Next, import your video into the software. Add text, graphics, or any other visual elements to the video as annotations. Export the edited video and, finally, upload or re-upload the edited video to YouTube.
Don’t Overcomplicate Things
Messing with existing content can be frustrating, and many creators are — understandably — reluctant to try and fix what isn’t broken. However, by following the tips listed in this guide, you can start editing and updating like a pro!