Until recently, content creators wanting to reach a global audience on YouTube had three options. Add videos in multiple languages as playlists on one channel, create separate channels for each language or geography, or support one main global channel with additional local channel spin-offs. Then, earlier this year, everything changed with YouTube’s introduction of multi-language audio tracks.
For the first time, creators could upload dubbed speech tracks for different languages within one video. Users in different geographies would be automatically served content in their chosen language if a video supported it, with the option to change tracks and listen in a different language at any time.
The new addition seemingly answered the debate of how to organize translated YouTube content. But does the new multi-audio feature mean the end of multiple YouTube channels? Let's look at what the impact of adding multiple audio tracks can be and also the instances in which it might be fruitful to retain separate language channels.
Here’s everything content creators need to make the best call for organizing their YouTube channels in 2023.
What are the benefits of having multiple audio tracks on YouTube videos?
Adding audio tracks for different languages increases content reach, allowing creators to tap into a global audience from one YouTube channel. But who currently has access to this metric-boosting, multi-language audio feature?
Right now, MLA is being rolled out in tiers – with large-scale creators like Mr.Beast and established distributors like Jamie Oliver being granted access first. These larger and more established channels can expect increased engagement as viewers watch for longer in their native language. As a result, they’ll benefit from greater ad exposure and could command higher RPMs.
Before MLA tracks, creators needed separate channels for videos in different languages if they wanted well-organized Youtube content. It’s what Papercup has helped set up for global brands like Sky News and Fremantle. But managing, maintaining, and growing several channels at once is no mean feat. Which is why we offer an end-to-end service, meaning that as well as localizing video audio, we also edit the videos, set up and manage the social channels.
With the release of YouTube’s multi-language audio tracks, creators can support content in different languages from one channel, while subscribers are kept happy with relevant video recommendations in their native language.
Consolidating region-specific channels into one offering can help creators maintain a consistent brand. And without the need for separate playlists organized by language, creators can arrange content for maximum discoverability and engagement.
Are there downsides to using multi-language audio tracks?
So, if a single channel is easier to maintain, leads to higher viewing figures for consolidated content, and doesn’t require any region-specific content strategies, has the need for multiple channels disappeared forever?
The short answer is no. One main channel might be easier to manage, but larger brands with sufficient resources can benefit from using both multi-language audio tracks and separate-language channels.
Maintaining local channels with region-specific content, in addition to a core global channel with multi-language audio tracks, can increase subscriber engagement, strengthen international positioning, and introduce new options for local promotions and partnerships.
Take a channel like Sky News. In light of the new MLA update, it might not need separate YouTube channels for Spanish, German, and English. But since the news is often location-specific, a news organization could organize its YouTube content into one central channel covering important international updates, plus support separate local channels with more region-specific details. Content on the main channel could include multi-language audio tracks so users anywhere could listen. And local channels could default to the most common language for given geography (with multi-audio tracks for countries with several popular languages).
As long as each channel has a bespoke strategy with differentiated content, viewers won’t be cannibalized from the main channel. Instead, local engagement should increase, and extra partnership options could increase monetization opportunities.
When to use multi-language audio tracks
Now that YouTube finally supports multiple dubbing tracks within each video a la Netflix, there’s really nowhere they can’t be used to increase reach and engagement.
Increase monetization by adding MLA tracks for popular secondary languages in high CPM geographies, like LATAM Spanish in the US. Add multiple audio options to content on a single channel to increase viewership and unlock more revenue. And get the best of both worlds by adding MLA tracks to global channel videos while catering to specific geographies with bespoke local offerings.
With AI dubbing tools like Papercup on hand to streamline the localization process and ensure there’s always a steady addition of local-language audio, the options are endless.
When to create multiple YouTube channels
Content creators must weigh up the opportunity of higher engagement from regional audiences with the costs of creating, growing, and maintaining additional channels. Key to doing so is an accurate assessment of local demand, internal resources, and their ability to curate original content for each geography.
In general, MLA tracks should be the default – they're easier to maintain, reduce admin, and keep things simple. But brands with a legitimate demand for region-specific content could see greater revenue and audience loyalty with a multi-channel strategy in tadem with MLA on a global channel.
Either way, one thing’s for sure: YouTube content is going international, and a strong catalog of dubbed content is required to capitalize on the moment. Content creators can use Papercup’s AI dubbing to streamline localization and reach international audiences faster.