Reviews, Tips, Tricks & More

Entice Your Viewers With Annotations & Cards

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This is following on from the last blog post about why you should be using end cards, another thing you should also be using in combination with end cards is annotations and cards, quite simply they provide another way for you to entice your viewers into another action.

You can use them to get the potential subscriber to either click on a video, subscribe to you, check out your social media or merchandise, go to your associated website (or any other website for that matter) and more.

But for now I’m just going to go over getting the viewer to watch another video, subscribe and check out your social media.


I’ll use my own as an example, on one of the end cards I have 3 videos and a subscriber button (I’m A/B testing my end card between two versions to see which has greater engagement), three audio clips ten seconds for each clip to be highlighted and a subscribe button.

There are 5 different types of Annotations and I’m not gonna go into what they do, YouTube does a great job of explaining Annotations in greater detail. The ones I use are the Spotlight type, this is the typical annotation and it allows you to link to other content be it a video, a playlist, a website etc…

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Annotations are easy to make simply go to your video after its uploaded and click annotations, skip to the part in the timeline you want to put it in. If you want to link to another video of yours for the viewer to watch just go and copy the link of the video, paste it into the Link part of the Annotation and adjust the duration. I don’t add any text in the big box above to appear on screen as I find the default text intrusive and ugly.

YouTube Annotations

Now, there are problems with the current iteration of annotations, they aren’t viewable on mobile or chromeless browsers! So Youtube decided to implement Cards, now cards are even easer to use, they work on mobile and they pop up and disappear on their own so their’s no need to change the duration.

To create a card simply go to a video you want to put them in or do it before or after publishing via the video manager section of YouTube, click on cards, you can use 5 in a video and it’s recommended to spread them throughout your video. There’s a timeline that will appear below your video, simply click on the timeline where you want the card to appear, and choose “Add Card”, here you’ll be given a dropdown, now you can choose Video or Playlist, Channel, Poll or Link. Choose whichever one you want to use and move onto the next one, once you’ve done and spaced them out you’re all done, and that’s how easy it is.

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Now I’m gonna give you a couple of tips that I’ve learned to benefit you even further. The first is because Youtube doesn’t integrate well with many other social media’s i.e. Twitter and Facebook, Instagram. What you do need for this is an approved associated website, when you have one you can use the Annotations and Cards to link to anything you want, I use it to link people direct to my social media mainly twitter as it pops up on the top left of my videos. But it can be done for anything really but especially if you have your Social Media icons on your newly created end card 😉.

Screen Shot 2016-08-19 at 20.12.19First, in the backend of your website on Cpanel or whatever website manager you use, (if you have a wordpress site you can even get a plugin to do this) we want to setup a redirect, so pick something what you’re not going to use for any other page, for example mine is now this redirect is setup to go straight to my Twitter profile. The other is Facebook so if you go to you get redirected to my Facebook page.

Once the redirects have been setup we can now use them in our annotations or cards to “trick” YouTube into thinking they’re part of your associated website, simply put the link into the annotation or card and hey presto, you now have cross platform promotion. This can be used, as you can imagine, for anything as long as you setup the redirect on your website.

The 2nd tip is how to use the annotations to promote your other videos better, so, instead of promoting just one video and then the viewer leaves, promote the video that is in the newly created playlists, this means that the view changes after they’ve clicked the annotation to one of the playlist view, the reason we do this is that after watching a video in a playlist the next one starts straight away and we miss the related videos crap, you get promotion of other videos right next to the one playing and this helps the all important Audience Retention time. This is a very very good thing to get YouTube to notice you. To do this, go to your new playlist and click on the video you want to link, when you’ve done that the link at the top should change to one with something like

If it doesn’t then just click on another video in that list and then back again but do you see how the link has changed from the typical one to a video, it’s added the list id and the number of the video in that list. Copy and paste that into your cards/annotations instead of the usual video link.

Screen Shot 2016-08-19 at 20.16.05Guys and Girls I’m gonna end this one here as it’s been a bit of a long one, if you made it this far, congratulations, you’re one of few. I hope you found this interesting/informative/something and if you did please share this to your fellow creators.

Peace out and happy creating – 6M

I’m a Manchester based Motovlogger on YouTube, with over a decade of marketing and design experience including SEO, analytics and branding, my mission is to help out fellow YouTubers with their own YouTube channels and to help them grow as much as they can.

Learn more. Do more. Be more.


  1. Good post, made me thinking about doing some thing like this for my vids too!

    1. Thanks man, just go for it, try it out and it can’t hurt to do it.

  2. Alright there bud. Just trying to get to grips with these to use the brilliant drop-down cards you’ve provided.

    As I understand it, there’s no way of linking your Facebook/Instagram/Twitter cards directly to those accounts without the use of another website to act as a redirect? Is that correct?

    1. Yeah that’s correct as YT only allows approved website links

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