YouTube Annotations are an important tool for any online video producer on YouTube, but many people either don't know how to use them nor use them well. This is not a tutorial on how to create annotations on your videos -- there are plenty of those around on YouTube already. This is a look at how to use annotations to effectively engage with your viewers, how to use annotations to get new subscribers, how to introduce viewers to your other videos, and promote interaction with your audience.

Use YouTube Annotations To Increase Engagement



Reel Video Producer Tips is a weekly show that helps online video producers with tips, tricks, advice, secrets, and suggestions for how to make their videos stand out on the web.

  • John Z Wetmore

    I have long videos with several interviews (they are programs I produce for cable that I upload to YouTube as is). I use annotations to create a table of contents at the start of each video so that viewers can click and go straight to the interview they are interested in. It makes it much easier to navigate than trying to scroll through to the desired segment.

  • Arthur T Williams IV

    At 1:08, you say that viewer interactions 'bump the video' ' the homepage for all that person's friends.'

    What home page are you talking about? You're saying it bumps that video to the viewer's home page? If that's the case then I guess you mean their YouTube Channel home page?


  • Tim Tevlin

    Another great video Tim. I like the way you use jump cuts to go from one point you are making to another, and doing so has become an accepted way of doing things, unlike old school video pre-YouTube generation. thx

    • Tim Schmoyer

      Thanks, Tim! Jump cuts make it so much easier to shorten the length of a video if it's too long (as mine often are) and it makes it easier to shoot, too, because you don't have to remember as many words to say. :) Maybe I should do a Creator's Tip on that sometime.

  • Michael Nistler

    Aloha Tim,

    Wow, your videos keep getting better and better. Your annotations video was chalk full of useful "how to" tips - AWESOME! And your snappy story-telling keeps getting better. Ditto with your personalization.

    Your videos continually up the bar in production value, becoming more compelling, with more intimacy and personality. You've definitely found your voice and come across as comfortable sharing your humanity - keep it up!

    Happy Trails, ´╗┐ Michael Nistler.

    • Tim Schmoyer

      Thanks, Michael! I really appreciate the encouragement! Glad you find them helpful.

  • Pete Kvist

    Top shelf Tim. Long time fan, first time commenter. It's obvious you keep taking things to the next level. I was very interested in the conversion rates of each type of annotation. Would love to get your perspective on what would be an ideal combination of annotations and what type to use in a "regular" video to create maximum engagement. I dare say through testing someone has found a "sweet spot"?

    • Tim Schmoyer

      Hey Pete! No, I don't have stats that indicate how many annotations to use, when to use them, how long to make them, what they should say, where they should be placed, what colors to use, etc. A lot of that comes from experimentation with your audience. The only stats YouTube gives about annotations is how many views came to a video via an annotation somewhere. Unfortunately, it doesn't even tell you if the annotation was from your video or someone else's.

      On my personal vlogs, I have a small square spotlight in each corner throughout the whole video on every video. On ReelSEO, that's not there because I feel like it's more effective for me to verbally remind viewers to subscribe and thumbs-up and such. How you use annotations depends on your content, your audience, and more. Just err on the side of using them sparingly and unobtrusively.

    • Pete Kvist

      Thanks Tim Schmoyer. Great message. It really is up to the individual testing.

  • Ulrika Hedlund

    Hi Tim,
    Thanks for the great video on YouTube annotations, I just got started posting videos so this was perfect, now I have added annotations to my first video(
    I have one question - can I add an annotation that links to my web site? I couldn't find that as an option in the "Link" field.
    Thanks again!

    • Mark Robertson

      Unfortunately you cant link off site, but you can using promoted videos -

    • Ulrika Hedlund

      Brilliant, thanks for your help Mark! :-)

    • John Z Wetmore

      YouTube will now let you link to an Associated Website. So follow YouTube's procedure to get your website associated with your channel, and then your annotations can link to it.

  • JJ Currie

    I like your style thanks for that Tim some good tips here... I never knew annotations never showed up on the iPad!!!