YouTube's video annotations functionality is one of the most effective features you can leverage in your videos to drive traffic and views to other videos, solicit engagement with viewers, increase subscribers, drive traffic to websites, and more. Not only that, but annotations are a ranking factor in YouTube's search algorithm.  On this week's Creator's Tip, we collaborated with Matt Ballek of VidiSEO [Tubular Creator ProfilesView Creator Profile] to share with you some of the top reasons why you should be utilizing annotations regularly in your videos and to show you several tips and tricks to use annotations effectively.

What are your top tips for using annotations?  Let us know in the comments area below!

Why Use YouTube Annotations

  1. Increase your search engine optimization.  The more time your video contributes to each viewer's overall viewing session the higher your video will rank.
  2. Direct viewers to your other videos.  While keeping viewer's on YouTube is important it is even better if their additional viewing time is spent on other videos on your channel.  By using annotations you can direct viewers to other videos you want them to see instead of them being directed to related videos YouTube suggests.
  3. Makes things easy for your audience.  This is especially important for viewers you get who may not be that familiar with the YouTube channel and how to navigate around it.  Use annotations for things like providing a button your video to allow a viewer to subscribe to your channel.
  4. Update information in older videos.  Having relevant information in your videos is important so use annotations to update older videos when links or information you previously provided is no longer available, website links have changed or the information needs to be updated for more recent news or trends.

YouTube Annotation Tips & Tricks

  1. Annotation Menus.  Annotations don't necessarily have to drive viewers away from your video.  Instead you can use them to help viewers navigate through different spots in your current video.  This is especially effective when you have a particularly long video or one with a lot of tips and information.
  2. Close Slate or End Card.  This is the best place to suggest other videos or playlists for your viewers and get subscribers.  Most top YouTube channels utilize this type of annotation so it's easy to see different ways you can use it.
  3. Pause Annotation.  A pause annotation can be placed at the end of your video to allow some additional time for your viewer to decide where they want to click or whether to subscribe without adding actual time to your video.
  4. Annotation Analytics.  It's a good idea to utilize YouTube's annotation analytics to see what your click-through rate is for your annotations.  A high close rate could mean that your annotations are getting in the way, whereas a low click-through rate could indicate that your annotation is not standing out enough to get the attention you want.  Use this information to experiment with different colors, types of annotations and positions to find the one(s) that work best for your audience.
  5. Plan for Annotations.  When possible, taking the time to plan ahead for annotations will make them more effective.  Look through your video content calendar and find way to connect your videos together.  By doing this, you can easily put annotation placeholders into your videos as they are created.
  • Ken Fisher

    Great stuff Matt...your videos and site. You're a master!