If you’re already using YouTube videos to promote your business online, adding annotations to your videos is one way to make your videos stand out from your competitors and engage your audience. Annotations are a unique feature built into YouTube that allows you to add compelling text and links to other videos, playlists, and channels right in your video, giving the viewer additional layers of information and interactivity. Although annotations are not currently indexed by YouTube or Google and therefore do not impact whether your videos will appear in the search results, they are a great way to increase viewership of your YouTube videos and drive engagement with your business across the Web.
How to Add Annotations to your Videos
To add annotations to a video you have uploaded, sign in to your YouTube Channel and view your uploaded videos. On the video you want to add annotations to, click on the dropdown menu next to ‘Edit/Insight’ and select ‘Annotations.’
Now, you’ll see the YouTube Annotation Editor. To add a new annotation, go to the point in the video you want to annotate, and then select the ‘Add Annotation’ drop down menu on the right hand side. You can choose from a variety of annotation types, including:
- Speech bubble: Uses text to create “speech” by a character in the video. Speech bubbles do not support clickable links. For instance, you may use a speech bubble if you want to add a layer of entertainment for your audience, such as a funny anecdote or interesting story related to your video.
- Note: A digital post-it note that is displayed on screen at any point in the video. You can edit both the background and the text color of a note. Notes are great for adding a quick reference, update, clickable link, or call to action.
- Title: Plain text without a background that is displayed on screen at any point in the video. This font is typically larger in size, and you can edit the text color. Titles might be used to separate your video into parts or to display the name of an important a person, location, or product on-screen.
- Spotlight: Highlights a particular area of the video, with information that is displayed when the viewer mouses over the highlighted area. You can use a spotlight when you want to provide viewers with a larger amount of information, but don’t want it to cover up your video.
- Pause: Freezes the video for a defined amount of time. You may want to pause a video at any point where you want the user to focus on a specific link, call to action, or additional piece of information rather than on the content of the video.
You can customize the location and size of the annotation within the video player, as well as the font size and color. It is important to make sure your annotation is visible and stands out over the background of the video so that it isn’t overlooked by your viewers. Finally, you’ll want to select the time frame in which each annotation will be displayed in your video. You can choose to display an annotation for only for a few seconds, or opt for it to remain on screen for the entire duration of the video.
Once your annotation is in place, you can edit or remove it at any time by returning to the Annotation Editor for the video you wish to edit or delete.
Use Annotations to Get More Views
Now that you know how to add annotations to your videos, you can come up with some creative ways to use them to educate and engage your viewers. Here are a few options:
- Link to a Video, Playlist or Channel – Probably the most popular – and useful – function for annotations, YouTube allows you to include clickable links to other videos, playlists, and channels within YouTube. This is especially helpful if you have a series of videos around a similar topic, as you can link to other videos in the series from within a single video.
- Link to a Subscription – Use a well-placed subscribe link or button, which, when clicked, will ask the viewer to subscribe to your YouTube channel. For instance, you can use the Note annotation to place a large subscription link or button at the end of your video, which can help you convert more viewers into subscribers of your content.
- Call to Action – Encourage viewers to visit your website or blog, follow you on social media, or send you an email, right from your video. While annotations do not support external links, you can still use text to direct viewers to another website or blog with a short, easy-to-remember URL. For instance, use a note across your entire video that says “Follow @businessname on Twitter” to drive more viewers to your Twitter profile. And because annotations are editable, even after they are added to your video, you can use them to share special offers with your viewers.
- Background Information – Add text to provide additional information about specific people, locations, or objects in your video, like a unique feature or update related to a product mentioned on-screen, or a fun fact about the location you are shooting in.
- Ask for Feedback – Include clickable links in your YouTube videos that sends viewers to a page where they can send you a direct message or prompt users to upload a video response. You can also use the Notes or Spotlights features to simply ask viewers to leave a comment on your video. This can help boost your video views as well, since user comments and likes can help improve your video’s organic ranking on the search results page.
With all these options, striking a balance is key. Think about how to strategically apply these tactics based on the video as well as your goals for the piece to maintain a streamlined, user-friendly use of annotating videos.
Have you tried using annotations to boost video views for your business? What are some creative ways you are using annotations to increase interest and engagement on your YouTube videos?