So, I’m a new YouTuber (you can subscribe to my channel here), and if I had one observation to make, it’s that YouTube is one of the more complicated interfaces I’ve had to learn.
I pick up new social networks all the time. It’s kind of my job to be on top of these things. But YouTube I have found to be flummoxing. I watched a lot of videos at first (thanks, Dottotech!), and finally got the hang of all the smaller things. I was just getting into the groove of annotations when YouTube nixed them.
Annotations are those popups you see when you’re watching a video that tell you to subscribe or share or whatever. They happen after the fact–after you’ve uploaded your video into YouTube. They were super handy because you could put them anywhere on your video, and they were really useful for things like correcting mistakes, or adding additional information.
Here’s an example from a recent video I made. It’s the end of the video, my call to action:
This feature is now gone as of May 2. The problems with annotations was that they were not mobile-friendly, and we know that more than half of YouTube’s traffic is coming from mobile.
YouTube has replaced it with a couple of different options.
First, there are Cards. Cards are most like Annotations, but you can’t really customize them in the same way you could annotations. They can, however, be placed at any point in the video, and they allow you to choose from a few different options. You can promote another video or a playlist on your channel, you can promote someone else’s channel, ask for a donation for a non profit, create a poll, or link back to your website (you have to verify it first). The advantage of these is that they work on both desktop and mobile.
Here’s a video from Sunny showing you what they are and how to use them.
The second thing that has replaced Annotations are End Cards. These only show up in the last 20 seconds of the video, meaning that they’ll only be useful if you can manage to get people to watch it to the end (which, let’s face it, can be tricky). You have four options for CTAs on end screens: promoting a related video or playlist, asking for subscriptions, promoting another channel, or linking to your verified website. Here’s an example of what that looks like in action:
One thing I really like about both options is that they are mobile-friendly and they are a lot simpler and easier to use than Annotations. Still, I’m going to miss the customization ability of Annotations.
Are you using YouTube? What’s been your experience with Cards and End Cards?