How to Increase Watch Time in YouTube with Skip Annotations & Chapter Markers [Creator's Tip #79]

How to Increase Watch Time in YouTube with Skip Annotations & Chapter Markers [Creators Tip #79]

When you make a long video full of delicious content, you may want to mark places where viewers can skip to important key points of the video so that you don't loose them entirely.  This can be done with chapter markers built via YouTube skip annotations, a nifty, interactive way to give people a quick jump to wherever they need to go in the video.  Sometimes you're making content full of information and you cover multiple topics, and you want to be able to give people the chance to go straight to where they want to go without having to scrub the video looking for it.  Skip annotations can actually increase engagement and watch time on your content, which is now critical for YouTube SEO.

Chapter Markers & Skip Annotations: Video Tutorial

Here are the steps to creating chapter annotations:

  1. Copy the URL of the video you're working with
  2. In the Video Manager, click the down arrow next to your video and select 'Annotations.'
  3. Choose the type of annotation you want to use.
  4. Type whatever you'd like in the text window that will direct people to the right place.
  5. Check the box at the bottom that says, "Link."
  6. Copy and paste the URL in the box below.
  7. Go to the "Start linked video at" field and type in the time code for the associated annotation.


Don't Miss Out - Join Our VIP Video Marketing Community!
Get daily online video tips and trends via email!


View The Full Video Transcript:

This week’s Creator’s Tip I’m going to show you guys how to set-up annotations and use them as interactive chapter markers for your longer videos. That’s coming up.

Hey guys, my name is Tim Schmoyer, and welcome to another Creator’s Tip where every week I just help you guys who are making online videos know how to make that stuff perform the best on the web. And today I’m going to show you guys how to set up annotations in your videos so that when people click them they can jump ahead to a specific point in time in your video.

For example, once you click this one right here real quick it will jump you forward a little bit and then just click the one you find there to just snap right back to this one.

These are especially useful if you have like a really long video, say you recorded a Google Hangout on Air and you just kind want to put chapter settings and annotations so people can skip ahead to the next question you are answering

Or maybe you give a lecturer or a speech somewhere and you want people to be able to skip ahead to different bullet points or different points you’re making or whatever.

It’s actually really simple to do, you start with copying the URL of the video that you are working with and then in your YouTube video manager, click the down arrow next to that video and select annotations. Here you can set up the annotations that you want people to click on. I generally use the note annotation for this purpose, but if you’ve built in clickable chapters right into your videos like we have in previous videos you can click right here if you’d like.

Or to see an example of when I used a note annotation for this purpose you can click right here. But do it quickly before it goes away. It will open a new window for you, put this video on pause and then you can come right back to this one.

So once you’ve created all your annotations then you simply check the box at the bottom that says link, you copy and paste the URL of that very same video you are working on right there in that box and then it says ‘Start video At’ a certain point in time and you simply then type in the time code of when you want that annotation to link to.

So if you wanted this one to link to 1 minute and 23 seconds into your video, you would simply type in 1:23 and then when that annotation is clicked it will just fast forward people exactly to that spot in the video.

Personally I like to have these types of chapter annotations spread through the duration of the video, not just kind of little chunks. That way people can skip around, they can skip ahead and then if they want to go back they can and it’s just kind of like a constant consistent menu there that they can use to navigate your content.

After looking at the analytics of my longer videos that I used chapter annotations in, it’s very obvious that using these really does lend to longer viewing sessions. People are staying engaged longer with my video, cause I think they can kind of read the annotation and the chapters and say, “Oh this is coming up, or I want to kind of let this build up to that point.” Or they can skip right ahead, so it really has retained the audience better for my videos and I hope it does for yours as well.

If annotations are something you would like to learn more about, you can do a lot of really cool interactive things with these, I am actually developing for ReelSEO, a full blown video course that goes through pretty much every single thing that you could ever want to know about using annotations and how they work and the advantages of them and all the different techniques that go into using annotations to really boost views to other videos, and there’s just so many good ways you guys can use annotations and I feel like they are one of the most underutilized tools here on YouTube.

I’m currently developing the content for this course and I expect it will probably be out in the next 4-5 weeks or so. So if you want to know exactly when it comes out and you want to get it before anyone else does and you want more information about it, there’s a link in the description below this video where you can sign up for the ReelSEO Newsletter and we will send you more information about this annotation course as it comes up and you will definitely have access to it before anyone else does.

Of course we’d also love to have you subscribe to this channel where you can learn more information about it as well. And check out my channel at www.YouTube.com/VideoCreators where we talk about online video news and stuff happening in the industry, and what it means for those of us who are creators. Q&A, Hangouts, lots of other cool stuff there so go check that channel out and I will see you guys again next week for another Creator’s Tip video. Bye!

About the Author -
Tim Schmoyer is the host of ReelSEO's Creator's Tip and the author of "30 Days to a Better YouTube Channel". You can see some of his personal videos on his Family Vlog Channel. View All Posts By -

What do you think? ▼
  • http://www.hardwoodfloortv.com/ Ken Fisher

    I wondered about the engagement factor while using these ideas. I find myself fast forwarding...basically similar to annotations? Yes. No? ...a good number of YT videos. Does anyone have a guess as to what that does to your "engagement" factor or how the algo treats it? Studies in the works?

    Sure would be nice to get a reply. You guys aren't good at that here and on FB. Have a forum???????????????

    • http://timschmoyer.com/ Tim Schmoyer

      I've found that the audience retention scores on long videos without annotation chapters tends to be a straight downward line, but when I use annotation chapters, people are definitely skipping ahead and sticking around longer than they would if they had to sit through the hour long video with no chapters.

      • http://twitter.com/LittleVoiceTV LittleVoice

        Hi Tim,

        Annotations on videos increase viewing time that's for sure. We built a holiday channel for sailing experiences and the average duration is 53 min.
        We have developed a video elements we call VIDA that does the trick for us.
        http://www.youtube.com/user/SailingHolidaystv?feature=watch

    • http://www.reelseo.com/ Mark Robertson

      Hey Ken. I try to personally respond to every comment on here (perhaps we're not so good on Facebook)... so, if there's other comments that you dont have a response to, kindly let me know. I sometimes miss them Im sure. I'm not totally sure I understand your question but I'll echo the response Tim laid out below.

      • http://www.hardwoodfloortv.com/ Ken Fisher

        Tim answered it well, but I have one question that's been nagging for months...maybe nobody has an answer because of the newness of the current algo. I'll try your Disqus PM

        Thanks

  • http://www.senorvegamedia.com/ Señor Vega

    good tip Tim! Knew about annotations, but not to jump ahead in the same video.

  • Kayla M

    How did you create that sliding annotation on the bottom left corner of your video? I have been googling for awhile and haven't found how.