According to the YouTube Official Blog, with the addition of @handles for channels, YouTube is edging closer to other social networks and making it simpler to promote your channel in-app and drive traffic to your profile.
Similarly to how it is on Twitter, TikTok, and Instagram this update which will be particular to your channel (unlike Channel names), will directly connect people to your content.
Additionally serving as a distinctive channel URL, a user’s handle will offer another chance for branding. Custom channel URLs were previously only available to creators with 100 subscribers, but now YouTube is enabling the feature for all users within the app.
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Part of the idea here is to better promote channels, in alignment with habitual trends, with a key consideration likely being Shorts and helping to maximize Shorts channel growth by making it easier to follow creators.
But another element that YouTube’s looking to tackle is the rise of copycat channels, where scammers create channels that look similar to popular YouTubers’, often by using the same channel name.
In an effort to increase transparency and reduce the impact of this strategy, YouTube announced back in June that it would no longer permit channels to hide subscriber counts.
It also announced that special characters would no longer be permitted in channel names, another method that scammers use to replicate channels.
It will be more challenging to create duplicate channels and deceive users with uploads and scams by making sure each channel has a distinct @handle, which they can promote directly.
Unless you already have a custom URL, your @handle will serve as your URL, and all previous URLs for your YouTube presence will be automatically redirected to your new channel name.
Over the next few weeks, YouTube says it will notify channels when they can update their URL.