Hindsight is 20/20.
While there are plenty of things in life you can’t go back and change, thankfully, that doesn’t apply to YouTube.
If you’re feeling stuck with that YouTube channel name you created way back when in high school, and you find yourself wondering “Can you change your YouTube name?”, I have good news!
The answer is a resounding yes, and here is how to do so:
How to change your YouTube name
- Click on your YouTube channel icon and choose settings
- Next to your profile picture, click the words “edit on Google”
- Enter your new channel name
- Click “OK”
- Click “Change name” to confirm and finalize
If you’re not sure what any of those mean, we’ll walk through instructions with step-by-step pictures on how to do so.
In this article, you’ll learn:
- How to change your YouTube name
- How to change a YouTube channel name through a Google account
- Changing a YouTube name: What not to do
- How to change your name on YouTube but not Google
- More YouTube channel tips
If you feel like your current channel name is holding you back, consider this your ultimate guide to breaking free and furthering your presence on this social media channel.
But, before you click that final button to officially change your YouTube name, make sure you read the name change mistakes to avoid at the end of this article.
A new channel name can be beneficial, but in the wrong circumstances, it will do you more harm than good!
Once upon a time, you learned how to make a YouTube channel.
Whether that was last week, a year ago, or back in your tween days, the name you picked may no longer appeal to your target audience or resonate with your brand.
When that’s the case, follow these step-by-step picture instructions to change your YouTube channel name in just a few minutes.
Remember that changing your YouTube name will affect who can find you, including those trying to cite your videos for research (see: How to Cite a YouTube Video).
1. Sign in to your YouTube account
Sign in to your YouTube account.
If you’re already signed into Gmail or another Google product, good news – you can skip this step!
Instead of the “sign in” button, you’ll already see your YouTube profile picture in the corner.
2. Go to your YouTube channel settings
Once logged in, click on your YouTube channel icon. You’ll find it in the upper-right corner of the page.
On the drop-down menu that appears, choose “Settings.”
3. Change your YouTube name by clicking “Edit on Google”
All Google products, such as YouTube, Gmail, Google Plus and your Google Drive are interlinked with the same account.
As a result, when you change the name of your YouTube channel, you are also changing how your name appears across all Google products
Due to this integration, to change your channel name on YouTube, click the words “Edit on Google.”
You’ll find these words hyperlinked right next to your current YouTube channel name.
4. Enter your new YouTube channel name
Now it’s time to enter that new name!
Stuck on what YouTube name to use? You’ll find some tips on what NOT to do at the bottom of this page. (And, stay tuned for my next article on good YouTube channel names!)
If your channel name is multiple words, split the name across the “First name” and “Last name” sections, as shown here.
Above that first and last name, you’ll see a notification from Google. This is your reminder that your channel name will be reflected across all Google products.
We’ll touch on these implications more in a moment.
As soon as you type your new YouTube channel name, you’ll see the change reflected under “Display my name as.”
5. Click “OK” to change your YouTube channel name
Once you have entered your new YouTube channel name, click “OK.”
6. Confirm and finalize your YouTube name change
Once you hit the “OK” button, Google will ask if you’re sure you want to change your account name.
For now, I’m assuming that if you’re reading this article, you do indeed want to change your YouTube name, so go ahead and click that “Change name” button!
With that step, you have successfully changed your name on YouTube.
YouTube name changes aren’t always updated immediately. If you check your channel, and the new name appears, give it a little time before you retrace your steps and go through these instructions again.
In this video, you can see all of the steps to change your YouTube name put together:
Given your YouTube and Google accounts are connected, you can also change your YouTube channel name directly through your Google account.
1. Sign in to your Google account
Begin by going to the Google homepage. From there, click the “Sign in” button.
On the next screen that appears, enter your email address or phone number. On the next page that appears, enter your password.
2. Go to your Google account details
Once you have correctly entered your phone or email address and password, Google will take you back its home page.
You’ll see your profile picture in the upper-right corner, confirming that you have signed in to your account.
Click on your Google icon, and a box will pop up. Within this pop-up, click on the blue button that says “Google Account.”
3. Select your Google personal info and privacy settings
On the next page, you’ll see plenty of Google account details to choose from. (You may not have known that some of them even existed!)
To change your name on both Google and your YouTube channel, choose “Personal info and privacy.”
4. Click on your Google account name to change it
Halfway down this next page, you’ll notice a section titled “Your personal info.”
The first item under your personal information is – you guessed it! – your account name.
To change your name, click on your current Google name within this section.
5. Edit your account name on Google (+ Gmail and YouTube)
The next screen that appears will once again display your current name.
To change your name, click the pencil icon. This will enable you to edit the name.
Once again, this will change your name across all Google accounts, including Gmail and YouTube.
6. Enter your new Google account name
The time has come! After all those clicks, you can finally type in your new account name.
Just like when changing your channel name through YouTube, if your name is multiple words, split them up between the first and last name lines.
Once you’ve typed your new account name, click the “Done” button.
7. Confirm the Google account name change
Google will bring up a notification asking if you do want to change your account name.
I’ll go ahead and assume you’ve put plenty of thought into your new name for Google and YouTube. This being the case, go ahead and click that confirm button!
Congratulations, you have now successfully changed your name on both Google and YouTube!
Wait, what’s that you say? You’re not positive on the name you’ve chosen? Or you haven’t put much thought into it?
Well then this next section is for you!
Here are the four YouTube channel name changing mistakes you need to avoid.
Before you use the above instructions to change your YouTube name, here are the four mistakes you can’t ignore.
1. Don’t change your YouTube name before you're ready
If you’re just playing around with YouTube names, and you want to see how your channel name will look next to your YouTube banner and channel art, it’s time to hit the pause button.
While you can easily change your name on Google, you can’t do it too often.
This may lead you to the question:
How many times can you change your YouTube name?
As shown in this screenshot, you can change your account up to three times in 90 days.
However, it’s worth noting there is some variation there.
That rule about “3 times in 90 days” applies to YouTube and Google accounts that are more than two weeks old.
If you’ve had your account two weeks or less, Google gives you more flexibility:
Google doesn’t share just how much flexibility they’ll give though. It’s best to put thought into choosing the perfect name for your YouTube channel and then stick with it.
2. Don’t create a YouTube name too far from your brand
While it's common for companies to rebrand, it’s rare for that rebrand to stray too far from the original company name.
For example, Burlington Coat Factory rebranded with a new name to show it sells more than just coats; the company is now simply Burlington.
When International House of Pancakes tried (and failed) the publicity name change stunt, they went from “IHOP” to “IHOB,” International House of Burgers.
Even though that publicity stunt failed, in both of these examples, consumers know they are still interacting with the same company.
In cases where you have already established an engaged following on YouTube, don’t change your YouTube channel name too drastically. When channel subscribers get a notification that you posted a new video, you want them to still know it’s you!
3. Don’t make your new YouTube channel name complicated (No numbers!)
When you change your YouTube name, not only should it relate to your branding, it needs to be short and memorable.
Research has shown that it can take up to seven times for a consumer to remember a marketing message.
Make it easy for people to find you and remember you, even if they haven’t seen your YouTube channel seven times.
If someone sees your videos, wants to find your channel again, and can’t remember your name, chances are you’ve lost them forever.
Speaking of good YouTube names…
Numbers are one of the worst things you can do when changing your name on YouTube.
According to The Memory Institute, “Numbers are one of the most difficult things to remember since they are purely abstract. It is easier to picture an alligator performing ballet in a pink tutu then it is to visualize the number 377642.”
While I doubt you’re planning a new channel name with six digits, the principle still applies.
If you want more video views, help yourself get more YouTube subscribers by creating a short, memorable, name. (Without any numbers!)
4. Don’t use a YouTube name that only applies to video
We’ve discussed the fact that a name change on YouTube will be reflected across all Google accounts.
In the screenshots above I’ve shown the name change process for an e-commerce shop named “The Pink Puppy Shop.” Continuing with that example, I wouldn’t want to change my YouTube channel name to “Cute Puppy Videos.”
Not only do I lose the recognizable branding, but any Gmail interactions with customers will also show emails being sent from “Cute Puppy Videos.”
A YouTube name change to “Pink Puppy Shop Videos” has the same issue; customers emailing me want to interact with the e-commerce store, not the store’s videos.
There are situations where YouTubers want a YouTube channel name that is different from their Gmail account. Perhaps they are growing their professional brand online; the individual wants to use their real name on Gmail, but not on YouTube.
In this case, there is a solution.
Let’s look at the exception to the rule: How to change your name on only YouTube, not Gmail or your other YouTube accounts.
It is possible to have a name for your YouTube account that is different from your YouTube channel. This does require more steps and a bit of extra time.
To change your name on YouTube and NOT have it reflected across all Google accounts, you’ll need to connect your YouTube channel to a Brand Account.
A YouTube brand account is often used by businesses.
Not only can you have different names for your YouTube and Google accounts, but a Google Brand Account also allows multiple managers. This means you can share the workload of uploading videos and editing your channel – woo hoo!
The following video tutorial will walk you through the steps to create a YouTube Brand Account:
Looking for other ways to give your YouTube channel an update? Check out the following tutorials and guides. They’ll ensure your presence on YouTube is engaging, professional, and optimized for more views and subscribers.
Once you’ve changed your YouTube name, it’s time to reflect that change and change your YouTube custom URL. Then, learn how to make a playlist on YouTube and use these free templates to maximize views with the perfect YouTube thumbnail.