When you watch a movie or a TV show, at the beginning you always see opening credits that reflect what it is going to be about and hint at what you might expect from it. While YouTube videos are a totally different kind of video content, they sometimes have their opening credits, too. Competition for viewers’ attention on YouTube has grown immensely so if you still think a video intro is not a compulsory part of content production, let us tell you why it actually is.
YouTube viewership: facts and figures
YouTube is the Internet’s biggest video platform that has over 2 billion active users who watch more than 1 billion hours of video content every day taken altogether. With over 500 hours of content uploaded to YouTube every minute, the stream of content never ends and new recommended videos pop up every time you refresh your home page.
But would you spend several minutes, let alone hours, of your time watching a video that doesn’t look very exciting from the first seconds? With so many other videos offered to you by the smart YouTube algorithm, you wouldn’t hesitate to switch to a more captivating one in a heartbeat. And this is what any viewer would do unless they absolutely need to watch a niche video that does not have a lot of alternatives (well, we all had to look for a tutorial on how to fix a weird unknown issue on our computer at some point).
As Kevin Kelly famously puts it:
The only factor becoming scarce in a world of abundance is human attention.
Because keeping users interested has become incredibly challenging, every creator knows that the first 10-20 seconds of the video have to be top-notch. The intro is what has to sell the entire video to a user in a matter of a few seconds to make them stay. Creating a good intro that will keep your viewers intrigued and will convince them to continue watching is a crucial step in producing video content. It might seem obvious at first – an intro is just an animated background that has the name of your channel, your picture or logo, and there’s some catchy music playing. Well, in fact, there are many different types of intros and the choice of the right intro depends on many factors.
What types of intros are popular on YouTube?
One of the most popular kinds of intros is starting with a short fragment where something shocking (surprising, hilarious, unexpected, controversial) is being said or done followed by the introductory frame where you can see the name of the channel, the topic of the video, the company logo, etc. This works like a good old cliffhanger, except you don’t see it at the end of a video – you get it at the very beginning and it makes want to stay and see what’s coming next.
Here is an example from Peter McKinnon with a strategic choice of vignette to foster curiosity and very well-designed intro, mixing intense video extracts and beautiful motion design:
Another cool YouTube intro idea is a short motion design sequence showing your channel's identity with engaging music background. Zimri Mayfield's channel showcases a good example for the series You Guys Rule with a simple but efficient intro. Notice it lasts exactly 20 seconds before jumping into the specific content of this video (logos redesign):
One more great trick would be to go for a vibrant, dynamic sequence of shots with some upbeat music playing in the background. Those have to be juicy, striking images that will make it impossible for the viewers to feel bored – before they even realize it, they’ll be a whole minute into watching the video.
Here is a stunning intro by Ran Segall on his YouTube channel Flux:
The options are, in fact, limitless and what your intro is going to look like is completely up to you and your imagination. However, there is one thing all the videos mentioned above have in common – a clear, readable shot that has a name of a channel (or a company) and its logo. Think of it as the very first slide of a presentation – it is after this frame that the main part of your video begins. It is there to make it clear who you are, what you represent, and what you are like.
How can I create an animated Youtube intro for my channel?
Normally, these shots are created using simple, non-overwhelming motion design elements like animated texts, logos, and backgrounds as well as pop-up “Subscribe” or “Follow” buttons. The best thing is that you don’t need to be a professional motion designer or a video editing expert to create an intro like this – you can use numerous online sources that can help you make it from scratch.
Firstly, you can find plenty of free YouTube intro templates on Canva. Secondly, you can create additional elements like logos, icons, and texts using Figma. Lastly, to make your intro frame truly come to life you can animate your designs using Jitter. You can import all of your creations and turn them into motion design elements. With Jitter, you have the ability to customize your animations however you’d like or choose pre-made components from the template gallery. If you want to use an animated background instead of a static image for your YouTube intro, we’ve got some awesome geometric designs that work with almost any type of video content you can ever think of.
Jitter has everything you need to create an outstanding high-quality video intro right in your browser. In fact, you don’t really need to use any other website or application for graphic design or motion design – it’s all here in one place.
What is the best YouTube intro for me?
Firstly, you have to stay true to your brand image when creating an intro for your YouTube video. There are many more options aside from fast-paced colorful animations with cheerful pop music playing in the background. A good idea would be to review your company’s mission statement because the keywords and core definitions it contains can be a great source of inspiration. If your company strictly follows a certain style or aesthetic when creating its visual content, the task will be much easier because in this case you already have the colors and fonts to work with. The most challenging part here is to tame your creative spirits and keep in mind that you are making something for the whole company, not for yourself so don’t go overboard with your visuals – simple and clear doesn’t mean boring. When trying to find a fitting color scheme, fonts, and shapes for your YouTube intro design, look for examples and similar cases in your industry. For instance, if you google companies that have something to do with statistics and data analysis (IBM, Statista, R Project to name a few), you will see that most of them use blue as their signature color because blue is associated with logic, reliability, objective assessment, etc.
Secondly, you need to understand what this particular video you are making the intro for is about. Even though there has to be stylistic consistency in your visual content, the introductory shot might vary slightly depending on the type of video you share. For example, if you are making a big exciting announcement with your video, you might want to make the intro shot dynamic and energetic by adding more animated elements and choosing joyful music. Plus, you need to make sure the logo of your company is at the center of viewers’ attention. If you are creating a series of explainer videos talking about the range of your products or services, your perfect choice would be a moderately-paced intro with pleasant music in the background. Also, in this case, you can place the topic of the video in the center of the shot and move the brand logo to the side.
Lastly, don’t forget about the timing – an intro that lasts forever is annoying to a viewer so make sure it is long enough to allow users to notice, read, and process everything on it and short enough to ensure they don’t feel like closing your video. As you can see from the videos mentioned above, the entire intro (teaser video shots + intro frame with the creator’s name and icon) is normally no longer than 20 seconds. And the animated introductory shot takes up only about 5 seconds of that time so you better make those precious seconds count!
How long should a YouTube intro be?
Usually, the overall length of a YouTube intro does not exceed 20 seconds. This includes around 15 seconds of teaser shots to get the viewer intrigued about the rest and about 5 seconds of your signature animated intro shot where you have your logo, company name, and any additional motion design elements.
What is a good intro for videos?
Most importantly, a good intro is one that is not too long because you don’t want your viewers to get tired in the first 20 seconds of a video. One more thing that makes an intro great is how well it reflects what the video is about and what you are like as a company.
What should I put in my YouTube intro?
This depends on the goal of your video and on what your brand image is like. Generally speaking, you might need to find a nice background image that can be either still or animated, add your company’s logo and name, insert some other animated elements like links to your social media accounts or purely decorative images, etc. Also, make sure you don’t overload your intro shot with numerous design elements.
How to make my own intro?
You can use plenty of different online and offline tools for graphic and motion design including Photoshop, Procreate, DaVinci Resolve, Figma, Canva, etc. One of the best instruments that has everything you need to make an intro quickly and effortlessly is Jitter – a simple online tool for motion design.
What is the best intro on YouTube?
There are tons of awesome YouTube intro examples to get you inspired! We’ve mentioned some cool YouTube intro ideas in the article but you can also check out YouTube’s most popular channels – almost all of them have incredible intros.