How to Make a YouTube Intro (and Why They Matter)

Promo Team
By Promo Team
October 6, 2021 · 21 min read

So you’ve decided to make a YouTube video for your business, maybe even promote a channel. That’s amazing! You’ve put the time and effort into creating your video. The only problem is, over 500 hours of video is uploaded to YouTube a minute. So, how can you stand out in a sea of content and grab audiences’ attention? With every YouTube content creator’s secret advantage: a great YouTube intro. 

YouTube video intros are everywhere. You’ve probably seen them without giving them a second thought or understanding what their purpose was. That’s okay. We’re here to fill you in. First, we’ll start off by explaining what a YouTube intro is. 

Would you willingly sit down to watch a movie that’s halfway through?  Likely not—without seeing the beginning, you have no foundation for what you’re currently watching and no expectations for where the plot is going. The whole experience feels like a waste of time. 

YouTube videos are no different. Even if the video content is great, without the proper setup, your audience isn’t likely to hang around. And many YouTubers are making this common mistake, effectively alienating their audience with their first impression instead of winning them over. 

Luckily, there’s a super simple fix to this issue. 

What is a YouTube Intro?

YouTube intros are short, opening clips that play at the beginning (or close to the beginning) of a YouTube video. They are a sneak peek into what your channel is about and with time become your key identifier. 

The intros usually include the name of the YouTube channel being watched, brand features, animations, and a snippet of signature music. YouTube Intro videos should include a consistent style so you can easily add them to every one of your videos. The purpose of a YouTube intro is retention—you’re trying to convince your audience that your content is worth sticking around for instead of navigating to one of their 14 other open browser tabs or mobile apps. Typically, intros are applied to organic videos, as opposed to YouTube ads. 

Related reading: How to create your first YouTube ad

This is an important distinction because the audience has already willingly chosen to watch (at least a portion of) your video—as opposed to seeing a pre-roll ad—which means you can use context to your advantage. The lights are on and the stage is set, so how are you going to execute? 

YouTube intros might be short, but they do require thought and best practices to get them right. That’s why we created an all-inclusive guide to making a YouTube intro. We’ve added insider tips so you can make the perfect YouTube intro, plug it into all your video projects, and then check off a super important task from your YouTube marketing to-do list. 

Why Make a YouTube Intro

YouTube intros are an essential tool for captivating audiences, keeping them on your video channel, and turning them into subscribers. Along with audience captivation and retention, YouTube intros also instill a sense of brand consistency. The fun thing about YouTube intros is that if you take the time and effort into creating a good one, you can use it in all of your upcoming video content. 

Once you learn how to make a YouTube intro, you have the power to captivate, entertain (or educate), and most importantly, retain your viewer’s attention through the duration of your videos. You know, all the way to the end where your YouTube outros and CTAs live. 

Now to get into the specifics, here are the main reasons why creating a YouTube intro will only do good for your brand

Displays a Professional Appearance 

With over 37 million YouTube channels it’s important to establish a professional appearance, especially if you’re a small business owner. If your video is hosted and shared publicly, a YouTube intro will add that extra professional touch. It may seem small, but your audience will view you as an experienced,  consistent, reliable channel. 

Think about all the YouTube videos you’ve seen in the past, the ones with intros compared to those that were lacking one. Which videos seemed more professional? Which videos were more trustworthy? We’re guessing the former. Adding a consistent, high-quality intro introduces a new sense of professionalism. 

Increases New-viewer Retention 

We all know how quickly we are to turn away from things, especially online (who doesn’t have at least 300 tabs open at the same time?!). But a well-crafted intro can serve as a hook to your audience’s mind. If they have something to look forward to, they will be less likely to navigate away. 

The average human attention span has fallen to a staggering eight seconds. You read that right, eight seconds! For that reason, it has become increasingly important to find a way to hook your audience’s attention. 

In addition to this, a YouTube intro will provide information new viewers will want to know: who you are and what the video is about. If they know what they are about to see, new viewers will be more likely to continue watching. A YouTube intro provides the viewer with an idea of what they should expect from you, your videos, and your brand, no surprises. 

As they start to become familiar with the visuals and the music, viewers may even begin to look forward to seeing your intro every time you release a new video. Existing subscribers already know that watching your short intro is well worth their wait. They know what to expect from you, they’ve already subscribed. 

Establishes Branding and Consistency 

You’ve put a lot of effort into building your brand, YouTube intros are an optimal opportunity to ensure people recognize it. Why not let viewers get to know you as soon as your video starts? Throw in a couple of your brand’s features. Whether it’s your logo, your brand colors, or your famous tagline, making the connection between your brand and your YouTube channel is a must. 

The more elements you use, the easier it will be for viewers to connect your videos with your brand in the future. Everyone that watched your video will remember your brand when they come across it from this point on. 

Of course, you can add specific themes and colors to your intros in accordance with an upcoming special occasion; but during your initial creation process, you should consider using a consistent style that can easily be merged into all your video content.  

“Why?”, you may be asking yourselves. Well, here’s the short answer: Viewers will know what you expect from you if your videos are consistent. They will understand that your brand values trust and familiarity. If the content you’re creating is reliable, people will come back for more. 

Has Informational Value 

A YouTube intro doesn’t need to be all about branding. You can use it in order to make your audience feel like a part of a community. A YouTube intro can tell users information about your schedule, your social handles, and any relevant information about you and your business your viewers should know about. 

Requirements and Specifications for YouTube Intros

Before we get into the type of content and footage you’ll need, the first thing you’ll need to do is to get your technical details correct. Understanding the technical requirements can also help formulate your strategy, so let’s start with the basics.

YouTube Intro Aspect ratio

As with all YouTube content, the preferred aspect ratio is 16:9. If your video is formatted differently, the YouTube player will automatically adapt to the size you’ve used, but it’s best not to leave that up to chance. To achieve a 16:9 aspect ratio, you can easily resize your video using our video resizer tool.  

Video Format

YouTube supports a wide array of video file formats, but you’ll like want to use the standard formats of MP4 or MOV. No sense in overcomplicating your life here. 

Music Licensing 

In case you’re new to the YouTube terms of service, you may not, in fact, use any music you’d like to. Sure, “Come Together” from the Beatles might be the perfect fit for your intro, but it’s likely not worth the ensuing billion-dollar copyright infringement fine that’s sure to follow. 

Create your own music, buy pre-licensed music, or use a video editing platform that already comes with royalty-free music included. 

With the technical specs out of the way, let’s dive into how to bring it all together with a solid strategy and some best practices.

What Makes a Great YouTube Intro

It may seem straightforward, but there are many things to keep in mind when creating your intro. Botching even the smallest detail may be the very thing that drives viewers and potential customers away from your channel. 

Run Time – Keep it short

As stated above, a YouTube intro should be less than 10 seconds (best within five seconds). Studies have shown that intros longer than 10 seconds have a viewership declination. In case your Intro ran a little longer, no problem! Just crop your video to the desired length and you are good to go. 

The purpose of adding a YouTube intro is to attract viewers while creating a direct association between the snippet and the content that follows it. Unfortunately, a long intro will make viewers lose patience and exit the video. 

Send a Clear and Distinct Message 

Creating a great YouTube intro isn’t just about keeping it short but also about cutting right to the point. Avoid using confusing language. Whether you’ve added text or a voiceover, make sure it’s comprehensive and straightforward. Pointless and complicated messages may be what drives viewers away.

Create a Signature Look and Feel 

One of the most important things to emphasize in your intro is your brand. It’s important for viewers to instantly recognize your brand when visiting other social media platforms. 

Your YouTube intro should include your brand name, tagline, colors, logo, and fonts. If you have signature colors or fonts – use them! Remember, consistency is key. Your viewers will become familiar with your brand and associate it with the content you create

Add the Right Music

When it comes to creating a YouTube intro, you want to stand out while building your brand’s signature style. A great way to do this is by adding an audio or music track to go along with your intro. Once again, this is great for branding. 

Remember, consistency is key and over time viewers will associate the jingle with your brand. There is no exact science to what kind of music you should select, but try and choose a jingle that will be easily recognizable with your business’s niche. It’s important to remember that the music cannot be copyrighted or else you might find yourself in some legal trouble. 

 Stay unique to you! 

We know there are a lot of do’s and don’ts when it comes to YouTube intros but at the end of the day, it’s yours! Make it fun! Creating an easy, fun intro is all the more reason people will want to continue watching your video. They’ll enjoy it, and want more. Add lighthearted visual elements or add a funny voiceover, we promise, it’s worth your while!

Related reading: 13 YouTube Intros to Inspire You

YouTube Intro Best Practices 

Now that you know the why’s and what’s, it’s time to move on to the fun stuff: creating your YouTube intro. The best way to start is by doing your research. Check out competitors, channels you aspire to be like, and most importantly look into channels with similar content and viewer size as you. 

Here are practices to keep in mind when looking through other channels and ideas worth remembering when you’re creating your own YouTube intro! 

Establish Your Brand

We’re not trying to ride a tired horse here, but a YouTube intro is the perfect spot for you to display a branded presence. The function of a brand, in general, is to promote loyalty by streamlining the process through which people understand your offer, which is exactly what you need to grow your YouTube channel. 

That said, make sure you have at least a couple of these elements in your YouTube intro: 

  • Your logo
  • YouTube channel name
  • Brand colors
  • Consistent music or SFX (special effects) 
  • Tagline

You can mix and match depending on your brand, audience, and goals! When doing your research try and remember what you liked in other channels’ intros, what colors they used, if their tagline was actually one you remembered. This will help you understand what will and won’t work for you and your small business! 

Decide on Live-action vs. Animated

As you follow the first tip, you still have plenty of room for creativity. Before you get too far along in terms of video production, you’ll want to decide if you’re going to use live-action footage or animation. 

While all intros (including live-action intros) will likely have some form of animation, you’ll need to decide if you want the animation to be the primary look you’re going for or an accent. 

Use Animated Text

We covered this briefly above, but adding animated text to your video is a great way to introduce the host of the channel, display your tagline, etc. You’ll notice that a lot of YouTubers use this technique. 

Text overlays are a great way to communicate efficiently while also keeping the audience engaged. 

Add Some Style

Your YouTube intro is not the time to be boring. Even if you don’t cover a topic that most would consider “exciting,” your intro is the time to get people interested in what you’re about to show them. Using animations, text, and music – as noted above – are all good tactics to start off your videos on the right foot. 

Don’t be afraid to surprise and delight your audience with an engaging intro! 

Top Features to Look Out For in a YouTube Intro Maker

Lucky for you, many have grappled with the ins and outs of YouTube intros before you. You know what you need to do in order to create the perfect intro, now all that’s left to do is understand where you can design the perfect YouTube intro for your content, one that will sweep your audience off its feet. One thing to consider using is an intro maker. 

An intro maker can assist you in capturing all the elements we mentioned above. It will also provide you with the inspiration you need so you don’t have to make your intro from scratch. These tools help by giving you a template to start with and an easy-to-use editor. 

Design Flexibility

One thing to keep in mind when looking for a YouTube intro maker is its design flexibility. Remember, you’re goal is to create one killer YouTube intro, and the best way to ensure that you do is by having options to begin with. Whether it’s fonts, text styles, colors, and more, you’ll want to find a video maker that has a different types of design tools. 

Great Content Selection

When it comes to YouTube intro creation, you’ll want to look into a video maker with a hefty content collection. Every business has its own niche, unique audience, and most importantly brand language, which is why it’s important to find the right content that works for you. You’ll want to make sure the video maker you choose has a wide variety of content for your selection

Another plus to having a video maker with a great content selection is knowing that you have videos and clips that can be used in your YouTube videos, Instagram stories, and all social media platforms! 

Easy Branding

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again. Branding. Creating a YouTube intro that makes the most of your branding can be tricky. You’ll want to find a YouTube intro maker that allows you to easily upload your brand logo, special fonts if you have any, music, and customized photos and videos. 

Royalty-Free Music 

As we mentioned, one crucial thing to remember when creating your intro is to use music. Not just any music, but uncopyrighted music. The last thing you want when creating your intro is to run into legal troubles. You can search the internet for the right fit, or make your life easy my choosing a YouTube intro maker that already comes with a built-in music library free to use. This might be a great place to mention that Promo is not only an awesome YouTube intro tool, but also offers a library of royalty-free music you can use for your YouTube intro. With Promo you can also upload your own music and SFX. 

Ready-made Intro Templates

A fun perk about being part of such a huge video creation community is knowing that someone’s always one step ahead of you; thinking of things that may be of use to you before you even know you need them. A video maker that offers ready-make templates is a quick and easy way to create a YouTube intro. Again, we have you covered on that front as well. 

Inspiration from Promo.com’s Intro Templates Collection

In case you didn’t know, at Promo.com we actually have a selection of content dedicated to YouTube. There, you can browse ideas for your intros and get inspiration to make sure your content stands out. 

Here are a few ideas to get you started. 

1. Smart, Colorful, Actionable

Nothing spells out “I-D-E-A” like a good old-fashioned whiteboard drawing! This template can be used to advertise marketing services, but it’s also versatile enough to fit a wide range of consulting services. 

Plus, it’s short enough to make a high-quality YouTube intro that segues seamlessly into your topic.

2. Gamers Unite!

A lot of YouTube content in recent years has focused on gaming, electronic device reviews, and anything and everything computer-related. This six-second intro is exactly the kind of clip computer and gaming channels could use as their YouTube intro. The music is inviting, strong, and memorable. Plus, it’s short enough to make a high-quality YouTube intro that segues seamlessly into your topic. 

 

3. Breaking Boundaries

Need something with a little more edge? This Broken Glass template is the perfect clip to help you shatter expectations and, literally, break the mold. Paired with an aggressive music track, this template could be used for a variety of topics to great effect. 

Feeling inspired? Good. 

The last step is to put everything you’ve learned about making a killer YouTube intro into action with some video editing. Let’s bring this thing home! 

Top YouTube Intro Makers

As we’ve seen there is no limit to the kind of YouTube intro you can create. But there is a limit on the amount of great YouTube intro makers out there. It may be hard to understand exactly what tools to use and what tools best fit your business. We’ve done the dirty work for you. Here are our top picks when it comes to YouTube intro makers: 

Promo.com 

Promo (that’s us!) is an online video maker that offers a wide array of video editing tools. Among them is a YouTube intro maker. The power of Promo lies both within it’s super easy-to-use video editor, paired with an unbeatable video and photo selection. You can upload and edit your own footage and easily apply your business’s logos, fonts, and customized music. Promo’s intro maker has a user-friendly interface that will ensure you’re downloading your intro within minutes. 

One of Promo’s greatest features is its professionally designed ready-to-use intro maker templates. Choose the intro that’s best suited for your business, customize it, and plug it into all your channel’s videos. With Promo, you’ll have access to a premium library of templates, videos, music, and stock photos. 

Wondershare Filmora 9

Filmora  lets you create intros using a wide variety of filters, overlays, custom titles, and transitions. One of its biggest strongest features is how versatile it is. 

Filmora is user-friendly with an intuitive interface that’s full of features. It allows you to drag and drop clips and effects into a simple editing timeline. It’s a nice choice for creators who are new to video editing and are looking for an easy video editing tool. 

Animaker 

Animaker is a free video animation software. This intro maker is suited for those of you who are interested in creating an animated intro. Animaker has the world’s largest animation library and allows you to create fun videos for your audiences. 

Animaker has a simple straightforward interface which is great for amateur video makers. Some of its features include camera and transition effects, background tracks, and the ability to directly record your voice, or import your own voiceover or music clip. 

Adobe Spark 

Spark was created with social media creators in mind and is a good choice for those who want to create a sleek video without spending hours on it. 

Much like its competitors, Spark is quick and easy to use. You can drag and drop clips and logos together, add a soundtrack or a voiceover. Spark is available for free, but the free version is considerably more limited in terms of features. One of the biggest drawbacks of the free version is that you will not be able to use your own brand logo. 

OFFEO 

Yet another free into maker – this one is suited for the designers in the crowd. OFFEO’s video templates have a very aesthetic feel to them – it has everything you need to make a solid YouTube intro. 

What’s great about OFFEO is that its templates are conveniently grouped into categories like intros, outros, and industries. This is a great feature when it comes to creating your project, you don’t need to dive deep into thousands and thousands of templates, you can easily search for it by category. 

MotionDen

For those of you who were pulled to a more animated intro, MotionDen is for you! MotionDen allows you to create an animated YouTube intro using their collection of ready-made templates.

The professional templates are arranged into categories so you can easily find the right template for your business. MotionDen is easy to use, and their customization editor lets you edit texts, colors, and music to create an intro in minutes. 

How to Add an Intro to a YouTube Video

If you read our recent post How to make a YouTube outro, you know that YouTube has a specific area in the YouTube Studio where you can add an outro, or “end screen,” as it’s called within the platform interface, 

Intros, however, do not have this feature, which means you’ll have to edit your intro into the video itself using your editing software of choice. That said, this is super easy to do with Promo.com. 

A step-by-step guide to creating up a YouTube intro with the Promo.com editor

Step 1 – Sign up for free at Promo.com (or log in to your account)

If you don’t weigh-in, you can’t wrestle, so do yourself a favor and sign up for a Promo.com account today. It’s free to try, so take a few seconds to set up your account and give our video tools a shot. 

Not sure yet? Check out some real-life reviews of Promo.com on Capterra and G2 Crowd. 

Step 2 – Choose the YouTube intro video template that suits your needs

As we mentioned in the previous section, we have a massive library of video templates, including clips specifically designed for use as YouTube intros. You’re sure to find something you like! 

Step 3 – Customize your video by adding your text and logo

Once you’re inside the Promo.com video maker, it’s super easy to customize different elements of your video to add your own flair. Everything is point-and-click or drag-and-drop, so you don’t have to worry about complicated processes that are hard to understand. 

In fact, you can create stunning marketing videos in minutes, not days, with Promo.com. 

Step 4 – Preview, download, and done!

Finished with your intro? Preview your finished result and make sure it looks good to you. From there, download your clip and add it to all your videos—done! 

We hope that you’re on your way to creating eye-catching intros for all your YouTube videos! 

When you’re ready to take your YouTube channel to the next level, consider promoting your content with YouTube ads. Here are some resources that can help: 

  1. How Much Does It Cost to Advertise on YouTube?
  2. How to create your first YouTube ad
  3. YouTube Advertising: The Complete Guide

Make your own captivating YouTube intros today!

About the author

Promo Team

We believe that words shape thoughts and inspire action. Promo's content team is fueled by the motivation to help you to transform your words and ideas into powerful videos that help you communicate better with your audience and grow your reach.

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