With the introduction of handles, YouTube finally introduces a much-anticipated feature that almost all mainstream social networking websites have.
YouTube channels can now be tagged by using @ followed by their username. This makes it much easier to engage with creators on YouTube.
The timing of the YouTube handle update, in conjunction with the Shorts monetization update, all indicate big changes for creators in 2023.
It also makes the YouTube handle rollout much more relevant since it can now be used in a variety of ways:
How Do YouTube Handles Work?
YouTube handles will work exactly like how handles work on all other platforms.
They can be used to identify, mention and tag YouTube channels. One of the biggest talking points about YouTube handles was a concern that they would replace YouTube channel names.
However, YouTube in their latest update has confirmed that the handles are simply an additional feature to make it easy for users to search, find, and mention YouTube channels, and that it will not be replacing channel names.
The main advantage of YouTube handles is that no two YouTube channels will have the same YouTube handles.
This can help identify the right channel in the event of two channels having the same channel name.
The best thing about YouTube handles is that once you confirm the handle that you would like to use for your channel, YouTube will give you a matching YouTube URL that will look like this:
You can still use your original channel URL and at the same time use the new YouTube handle link as an alternative link to redirect viewers to your channel.
How Can Creators Make the Most of YouTube Handles?
YouTube handles have unlocked different ways for creators to promote their channels, and share channels of friends, or channels they collaborate and work with.
Not only does the YouTube handle update help smaller creators get more opportunities to grow, but it also helps established channels identify themselves from the rest.
It also makes life a lot easier for viewers who find it difficult to access their favorite creator’s original YouTube channel.
Let’s take a closer look at how creators can make the most of YouTube handles:
1. Use YouTube Handles to Mention/Tag
Before YouTube handles came into existence, the only option you had to mention other YouTube channels, was to reply to their comments or copy the URL.
With the introduction of YouTube handles, it’s now easier than ever to tag or mention another creator in a community post, or in the comments.
YouTube handles also make sure that you are tagging the right creator, as only one creator on YouTube will have his unique handle.
2. Use YouTube Handles to Promote
When you are new to YouTube, you need all the help you can get to build that initial audience.
It is said that the first 1000 subscribers are often the most difficult task to complete. With the introduction of YouTube handles, this process can be simplified if you know someone that already has a YouTube channel with an established audience.
They can simply tag you in a community post and give you much-needed attention. There are also YouTube channels that promote you for free, and for payment.
You can also consider collaborating with established creators and when they tag you in the post, it can help redirect more viewers to your channel.
3. Use YouTube Handles to Identify
An issue that some of the established creators on YouTube face today is a large number of fan accounts and fake accounts people create.
Yes, the verified check mark solves this concern to some extent, but not entirely.
With YouTube handles, you can bring this to control as it will be easy for viewers to remember your YouTube handle and then search with an @ symbol to be redirected to your YouTube channel.
Make sure you mention this to your audience if you have lots of fake profiles and channels with your YouTube channel name.
How Do I Get a YouTube Handle?
To make the most of YouTube handles, you need to have a YouTube handle in the first place!
However, claiming a YouTube handle is pretty straightforward, and as the feature has been released globally, you would have already claimed your YouTube handle by now.
Once the feature is enabled for your YouTube channel, you will receive a notification from YouTube on your email, and YouTube channel which will look something like this:
“It is time to choose your YouTube handle.”
On clicking this notification, you will be redirected to your YouTube handle setting page. Here, you will have the option to either use the reserved handle from a message like this, or
“Hi there, your YouTube handle is reserved. Your handle is @<youtube handle>”
You can click on the “Change Handle” button and enter the handle you wish to add to your YouTube channel, and YouTube will check the availability.
If the handle is not taken, you will be allowed to use the handle you added, if not you will need to find a handle that’s not taken.
YouTube handles are given at random, and there are always chances that creators who share a common name might end up not getting the YouTube handle they wanted, so make sure to claim your handle as soon as you get the notification.
Once the handle is approved, you will get an alternative YouTube link that will look like this:
Can We Edit or Change a YouTube Handle?
Yes, you can and you only need to follow these steps to edit or change your YouTube handle:
- Head over to youtube.com/handle on a computer or a mobile device with the YouTube App.
- You will be taken to your YouTube Handle editor with the channel you are logged into.
- Next, you will need to click on change handle.
- Enter the new handle you want to change your YouTube handle into.
- YouTube will give you some available YouTube handle suggestions.
- Once you find an available YouTube handle, click on ‘Confirm Selection’
When you get a confirmation of the YouTube handles getting approved, you will also get a matching alternative URL to your YouTube channel.
It should however be noted that your previous YouTube handle and URL will be on hold by YouTube for the next 14 days in case you would like to switch back to your previous handle.
During this time, both your handles - the new one, and the one from which you switched and the URL will be available for use. After the 14-day period - your old YouTube handle will become available for other creators.