YouTube is getting crowded. Roughly 300 hours of video get uploaded every single minute. That’s a lot of content. Naturally, brands and creators are looking for new ways to stand out.
One of the ways to gain instant credibility is to get a verification badge for your account. That little tick mark next to your name gives your channel a sense of legitimacy. It’s proof your channel has survived the early teething stages, fought its way through the content jungle, and earned official recognition from YouTube.
So how do you get that magic verification mark? Let’s take a look.
Getting a verification badge and verifying your YouTube account are two very different things.
When you first create a YouTube account, you’re asked to add a phone number to get your account verified. This lets YouTube know you’re a real person and not a Spammer Bot of Doom. In exchange for giving them your phone number, they let you upload videos over 15 minutes long.
Getting a verification badge is a little different. You know that little gray tick that sometimes appears next to a channel’s name? That’s your YouTube verification mark. When we talk about verification for the rest of this post, that’s what we’ll be referring to.
So what does this mark actually do? It’s a mark of authenticity. It tells visitors this is the real account associated with your brand. That’s why, if you ever change the name, you lose your verification.
As the YouTube team puts it:
When you see a verification checkmark next to a YouTube channel’s name, it means that the channel belongs to an established creator or is the official channel of a brand, business, or organization.
This is where things get slightly complicated. The exact rules, like the Google algorithm or that old family recipe your gran gave you, are a little unclear.
On their official help page, YouTube tell us you should have 100,000+ subscribers before you start the process. Apart from that, the rules are subject to change. Well, that clears it all up, right?
Don’t despair. We did some digging and looked at a few different channels from various brands, organizations, and established creators. Here’s what we found.
OK, remember when we said you need 100k+ subscribers to get verified? That’s not strictly true. What you need is a strong, established brand identity.
Entrepreneur Amy Schmittauer doesn’t meet the subscriber criteria, yet her whole brand is built around the power of vlogging. She’s made thousands of vlogs over the years, published a book about it, and spoken at multiple industry events like Social Media Marketing World. Vlogging is her thing. So, even though she hasn’t reached 100k subscribers, her brand is strong enough to have earned the badge.
If you want to earn a badge for your own channel, build a coherent brand that’s worth protecting. A brand that flows through everything you do.
YouTube is a business first, a social media platform second. That’s why it rewards channels that provide real value to its customers.
Any black marks on your account, like user violations or getting suspended will hurt you. Unethical techniques of growing your channel like buying followers, spamming users, and being sneaky will decrease your chances of getting a badge.
If you meet all the criteria, getting the verification badge is a good idea, especially if your channel is growing. It prevents imposters, copycats, and fan-sites from funnelling traffic away from your channel.
Plus, it’s an incredible bit of social proof.
But even if you’re eligible, you have to go through the process. Plenty of successful creators don’t have a verification badge. Beauty vlogger Zabrena has built a outstanding brand and channel with over 400k+ followers without the tiny grey checkmark.
Head over to YouTube and take a look at your favorite creators. Some will have it. Others won’t. A lot of top tech companies like HubSpot, Moz and Unbounce don’t have it but still have trust and legitimacy. Like with any other business decision, you need to do what makes sense for you.
If you do want that verification badge, here’s what you could do to increase your chances of getting it.
Brands and YouTube channels aren’t static. They change and grow over time. If you got a verification badge, you get to keep it even if your brand evolves or your number of subscribers changes.
However, if you change your channel’s name, you can’t keep your badge and will have to apply again.
Having a cool gray verification badge next to your channel name is neat. But it isn’t everything. You can have a successful YouTube channel with or without it. The key, as always, is to make staggeringly good content that your audience can’t get enough of.