The Value of YouTube's New End Screens Feature for Brands and Publishers. End Screens can appear in the last 5-20 seconds of a video, and desktop viewers can hover over them for more information while mobile audiences just need to tap on the thumbnails. While End Cards are available on mobile devices, annotations are a desktop-only feature, which means mobile viewers can’t click them. If brands create quality videos that convince viewers to watch more content via the use of compelling End Screens, brands may start to see increased retention and watch time across their channels, thanks to the YouTube algorithm. Promoting products isn’t the only way brands and publishers can use End Screens to drive specific actions from audiences, however. How to Best Use YouTube End Screens Some best practices for End Screens were already mentioned above, but here are a few more to help brands and publishers implement this new feature on their channels: #1 Create videos with the goal of including End Screens. The YouTube help page for End Screens notes videos should be created with enough time at the end of the video to add a brand or publisher’s preferred number of End Screens after the video is uploaded. Since End Screens appear in the last 5-20 seconds of videos, brands and publishers can use all or as little of this time as they want. That being said, brands may find viewers react differently to an End Screen which appears in the last 15-20 seconds of the video than in the first five-ten seconds of the allotted End Screen time. With End Screens, brands can reach more mobile audiences, increase watch times, and drive specific actions from viewers.
YouTube is rolling out End Screens to all creators, which, as the name suggests, lets any YouTube creator add thumbnail overlays to the end of their videos. Previously only available to a select number of creators, End Screens seems to be the next iteration of YouTube’s End Cards feature, which was announced in March 2015.
End Screens have the potential to drive real engagement with viewers, even more so than Annotations. And if brands and publishers fail to use this new feature at the end of their videos, they could be missing out on the opportunity not just for engagement, but also for brand growth and increased revenue. Here’s why.
YouTube End Screens: How They Work
As already noted, End Screens are thumbnail overlays which encourage viewers to click to view another video, get more information, visit a website, subscribe to the channel, and more.
End Screens can appear in the last 5-20 seconds of a video, and desktop viewers can hover over them for more information while mobile audiences just need to tap on the thumbnails. Creators and publishers can use up to four End Screens, as long as their video has a 16:9 aspect ratio. YouTube notes End Screens will also suppress other interactive elements, such as branding watermarks and card teasers.
One major difference sets End Screens apart from Annotations: the newest end-of-video tool is mobile-friendly. While End Cards are available on mobile devices, annotations are a desktop-only feature, which means mobile viewers can’t click them. End Screens, however, function properly for viewers on both desktop and mobile devices.
Why YouTube End Screens Are Important for Publishers
As noted on the YouTube Help page for End Screens, the feature is meant to create a “powerful end-of-video experience for your viewers.” This purpose alone makes them incredibly valuable for brands and publishers who choose to take advantage of this important new feature.
A primary reason brands and publishers should start replacing Annotations with End Screens is because, as previously described, End Screens are mobile-friendly. This element is crucial to the value of End Screens over Annotations, since half of all YouTube users now access the video site from mobile. Therefore, brands who only utilize Annotations are missing out on engaging all those mobile users. By choosing to implement End Screens instead, brands and publishers immediately improve their chances of reaching mobile audiences by 100%. These mobile users will then potentially buy more products via linked End Screens, leave YouTube with a more favorable impression of the brand, or even watch more videos on its channel.
In this way, End Screens are also incredibly beneficial in terms of improving watch time across a brand’s entire channel, which increases the likelihood of that brand’s videos gaining more attention across the entire site. This is because YouTube uses the watch time metric, calculated by average view duration times the number of video views, in its promotional video algorithm as a way to determine which content audiences deem worth their time. YouTube then promotes...