Changes on YouTube as annotations phased out

Once you’ve made a video, there are quite a few ways you can put it to work on YouTube. We’ve mastered most of the basics here, but we’re still impressed by what the folks who make a living from YouTube can do. Annotations are one example of making a video more interactive, and getting the viewer to actually do something other than move on to the next video. These little pop-up bubbles have been around for nearly 10 years, but the basic versions sometimes looked slightly amateur and even untrustworthy. What’s more, they only worked on desktop PCs. Even in business, your videos are as likely to be watched on a mobile device nowadays.

YouTube has now decided that cards and end screens are the way ahead, so it’s worth spending some time familiarising yourself with these. There are no end of tutorials and ideas online to help you.

End screens are part of your video file, so it’s best to think about them when you’re creating the video. A good recommendation is to use the last 10 seconds of your video, which gives viewers enough time to take it in. The screens can feature up to four elements, which can be buttons, other videos or images. Buttons and images can offer viewers the chance to subscribe, or can link to a YouTube channel or, most importantly, your associated website. The videos can be chosen specifically, or set to show your most recent uploads.

Cards pop up during the video, and work well if the best place to put a call-to-action is exactly the moment where you’re describing something. Again, you can send people to another video, a playlist or an associated website. Unlike the end screen, these can be added after the event, overlaid on the existing video.