YouTube Ditches Annotations, Welcomes New Mobile-Friendly Interactivity

YouTube Ditches Annotations, Welcomes New Mobile-Friendly Interactivity

Source: Vidyard May 2nd marks a big day for YouTube. Nearly ten years after adding annotations, the video streaming giant is retiring them in favor

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May 2nd marks a big day for YouTube. Nearly ten years after adding annotations, the video streaming giant is retiring them in favor of newer, more mobile-friendly calls-to-action. This is a huge shift for YouTube and its network of creators, and signals a move to mobile that has been coming for a long time.

YouTube announced the change in a blog post, and was quick to point out their reasoning for this big move. YouTube annotations have never worked on mobile, and as the company points out, 60% of YouTube’s watch time is now on mobile devices. So for creators using annotations as calls-to-action, over half of their audience wasn’t seeing that opportunity.

Furthermore, annotations have become boring in a world of interactive content. Allowing users to create links or add text ‘notes’ or ‘speech bubbles’ to videos, annotations were big news when they were the first form of in-video interactivity that YouTube or any of its competitors had ever unveiled, but times have changed. Interactive video, with rich, in-video elements like forms and images, are the norm now, and video creators were desperate for something more.

Enter End Screens & Cards

YouTube has listened to its audience, and with the demise of annotations, we see a bigger effort put towards perfecting End Screens and Cards, YouTube’s new interactive elements. While the two differ in their execution, both offer new ways for creators to engage viewers and drive them to take action, whether it’s watching another video, visiting a website, or answering a poll question. Let’s take a look at what marketers can do with these new interactive opportunities!

YouTube Cards

Much like annotations, YouTube Cards are visible during video playback, and typically obscure a portion of the screen to show an image or similar call-to-action. Cards can be created for a variety of purposes, including linking to a Video or Playlist, promoting a Channel, soliciting a Donation, offering a Poll Question, or simply linking to an Approved Website.

Here’s one of our videos featuring a YouTube card, in this case linking back to an Approved Website:

YouTube Cards…

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