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YouTube Tips

YouTube Annotations - Part Two

YouTube Annotations - Part Two


Last week, we explained what YouTube Annotations are, how to create them, and what to consider when you are using annotations. This week, we will show you how to add a link to your annotations, what links you are allowed to add, and how to strategically use YouTube annotations to drive traffic to your website.

How To Add Links to Your YouTube Annotations

Adding a link to your YouTube video through annotations is very simple. Once you have added an annotation, click the “Link” checkbox and choose what type of link you will add.

youtube annotations link
youtube annotations link

There are 8 types of links that you can add to an annotation.

  1. Video - Add the link to another video on YouTube
  2. Playlist - Add the link to a playlist on YouTube
  3. Channel - Add the link to a YouTube Channel
  4. Google+ Profile/Page - Add the link to a Google+ profile or page
  5. Subscribe - Add a link for the viewer subscribe to your channel
  6. Fundraising Project - Add a link to a fundraising project on a website such as or Kickstarter (Click here for a full list of supported fundraising project sites).
  7. Associated Website - Add a link to your company website.
  8. Merch - Add a link to a site where you are selling merchandise such as Etsy or iTunes (Click here for a full list of supported merch sites).

How to Add Your Website as an Associated Website

The main reason why you should use annotations on your YouTube video is because they allow you to link straight from your video to your website, which is extremely valuable to your online marketing strategy.

In order to link to your website within a YouTube Annotation, you must set up your website as an Associated Website with your YouTube Channel, and both your YouTube account and your website must meet certain qualifications to be eligible.

  • Your YouTube account must be verified and in good standing.
  • Your website must be set up on Google Webmaster tools.
  • Your website must be added as an Associated Website through the advanced settings of your YouTube Channel. You must agree to the terms of service and guidelines of associating your site.

Once you have completed these steps, you are able to add a link to your website directly on your video, keeping in mind that only desktop viewers will be able to see and click on the link.

Strategic Uses for Links in YouTube Annotations

  • Is the video part of a series? Add an annotation link to the next video in the series at the end, so that the viewer can continue on to the next video.
  • Do you have a playlist of videos you've created that the viewer of this video content might be interested in? Add a link to that video playlist.
  • Do you use YouTube strategically and post videos regularly to build a following? Add a link for the viewer to subscribe to your channel.
  • Share a link to your channel at the end of your video for viewers to learn more about you or your business, and see other videos from you. Make sure that your channel information is complete and encourages people to move further through the engagement funnel.
  • Do you have a product to sell? Create a product video or how to video and add the link to purchase the product on your website or through a supported merch website.

More Tips for Using Annotations

  • Don't over use annotations.
  • Share your annotation strategy with your video production company, and have them include the strategy in their filming & post production.
  • Use annotations with links towards the end of your video. Why? Clicking on a link stops the video from playing and opens another page. This shortens the view times of your videos. You want people to watch your video as long as possible because YouTube takes the viewing time metric into account when delivering search results. The longer people watch your video, the better it will perform in search results.
  • Your annotations shouldn't distract from your video. They should be valuable and attractive to the viewer.
  • Keep annotations short, so they can be displayed and read within 5-10 seconds.
  • Bright colored annotations can be annoying to the viewer. If there is text on the screen they will see it, so keep it simple. Transparent or semi transparent annotations are the best.
  • Place your annotations in the upper corners of the video so that they don't block the video, and so they are not blocked by closed captioning.
  • When you add a link to an annotation, add the link into the description as well so that viewers on all platforms can see them.

For more tips and tutorials on using YouTube for business, click here.

YouTube Annotations - Part One

YouTube Annotations - Part One

youtube annotations part 1 v 3

In part 6 of our YouTube Setup Guide we taught you how to set up an advanced option called an associated website, one of the most valuable features YouTube has for video marketing. today and next week we’ll teach you how to use this feature with YouTube Annotations to increase traffic to your website and views of your videos.

What Are YouTube Annotations?

YouTube annotations are text, spotlights, and links added directly onto a video after it has been uploaded to YouTube. Annotations make your YouTube videos interactive, giving additional information and engaging viewers by suggesting actions.

How to Create YouTube Annotations.

You create annotations through the Video Manager by clicking edit on a video, then clicking the annotations tab.

youtube annotations
youtube annotations

There are five types of annotations that you can create for your video:

  1. Speech Bubble - Creates speech bubbles with text and a link that you can put anywhere on the video (think VH1's pop up videos)
  2. Spotlight - lets you highlight an area of the video, and when the viewer moves the mouse over the highlighted area, text will appear. It can also include a link, so viewers can click on the highlighted area.
  3. Note - Similar to a Speech Bubble except it’s just a square transparent box over the video, it lets you create pop up boxes containing text and a link.
  4. Title - Creates text overlay on your video, best for use at the beginning and/or end for title and credits. For a more professional video, have your video production company add titles to the video instead of using this annotation.
  5. Label - Similar to a spotlight, except a little less subtle. The text shows automatically, and it can include a link.

Font size, color, and background color can all be changed on annotations, and they can take up as much as 30% of the size of the video. You can choose when the annotation starts to display on the video, and when it ends.

What to Consider When Using Annotations

The biggest benefit of annotations for businesses using YouTube is that they can add clickable links directly on to a video. However, the text annotations themselves do not look very professional, and you are better off having your video production company create them in post production in a style that fits with your video and brand. Then, you can add a link through the Spotlight or Label YouTube annotations once it is uploaded.

Another important thing to consider when using annotations is that they do not show up for viewers on mobile devices, tablets, or TV’s. So, having your video production company add text annotations in post production will make sure that these viewers can see them as well.

Next week we’ll show you how to add a link, what links you’re allowed to add, and how to strategically use the annotations feature to drive website traffic, leads, and sales.

Step By Step Guide to Creating a Company YouTube Channel - Part Six - Associated Website

Step By Step Guide to Creating a Company YouTube Channel - Part Six - Associated Website

youtube channel setup 6

In our final installment of this blog series about setting up your company YouTube channel, we are going to walk through some of the advanced options for your YouTube page, explain how they work, and teach you some best practices on how your company should set them up.

The settings we will be working from this week are located in Video Manager > Channel Settings > Advanced.

Channel Keywords

Filling out your channel keywords will give your channel more weight in search, because it is telling YouTube what your channel is about, and gives YouTube confidence in recommending your content to searchers.

how to use youtube channel keywords

However, channel keywords are just one piece of the puzzle when YouTube is deciding where to rank your channel in search. If you only fill out your channel keywords and don't do any of the other steps in this guide, you will not see significant results. All of the settings and information fields that YouTube provides work together to give the search engine a picture of what your channel is and what content to recommend.

Here are a few tips for using channel keywords: 

  • Limit yourself to 5-15 channel keywords.
  • Think about your content strategy and what videos you are planning on featuring on your channel. For example, if you're a gym and you plan on uploading videos containing advice on fitness routines, you may choose a keyword like 'fitness tips.'
  • Do research to find the best keywords. Go to YouTube's home page, and type in the first word of the keyword you are thinking about using. The auto-fill options will appear to show you what other people are searching for. In the previous example we chose 'fitness tips' as our keyword, but based on this research of auto fill options, we may be better off using 'fitness motivation' or 'fitness workout' as channel keywords. how to choose the right youtube channel keywords
  • Make sure your channel keywords are also in your About description. YouTube is looking for consistency with your explanations of what your channel is about. If the same keywords are showing up in multiple places on your YouTube channel, that looks good to YouTube and they feel confident recommending your videos in search results.
  • When uploading new videos to your YouTube channel, quickly reference your channel keywords and add any that are relevant to that video’s tags. Don’t add any that are not relevant, because like we have said before the bounce rate of your video affects it’s location in search. If the video is not what the viewer is looking for, they will stop watching early on in the video and this will negatively affect your ranking in YouTube search.

Associated Website

This is one of the most valuable features in your YouTube channel. The associated website feature allows you to add a clickable link to your company website as an annotation on any of your videos. What this means is, viewers don’t have to visit your channel or read the description of the video to find a link to your site, they can see it right where they are watching  - your video.

Using the associated website feature strategically will significantly increase the amount of traffic driven from your YouTube channel to your website.

how to use the youtube associated website feature

Setup of this feature actually started back in Part Four of our blog series, where we taught you how to verify your YouTube channel. If you don’t see this feature in the Advanced settings on your channel, it’s because you have not yet verified. Go back and read the Part Four blog for instructions on how to verify your channel.

If your channel is verified and in good standing, you will see the Associated Website feature in your advanced settings. Your next step is to go to Google Webmaster Tools and add your company website there if you have not already. To do this, go to, sign in, click ‘Add a Site’ and follow the directions to verify that you own the site.

google webmaster tools to set up youtube associated website

Once you have added your site to Webmaster tools, go back to the advanced settings in YouTube and type the URL of your company website in the Associated Website field and click ‘Add.’

If you set up webmaster tools with the same Google account as your YouTube channel, this should complete the process. However is someone else has set up webmaster tools, or it’s on a different Google account, you will need to request verification.

When you get a green light, you have successfully added your company website and you are ready to start adding it to videos.

how to drive traffic to your website using youtube associated website feature

Once you have added an associated website, you can add it as a link on your videos through the Annotations feature. We will teach you more about how to use that feature in a later blog post. To see how the associated website feature works, watch or skip to the end of the video below and click our logo.

Here are a couple tips for using an Associated Website:

  • Since the link opens up in a new window, this is one that you can actually include at the beginning of your videos. Just keep in mind that when the link is clicked, the video will pause and the viewer will be taken to the new window. If they close out YouTube and don’t finish the rest of the video, it will count against your video’s view time. So if you’re going to have it at the beginning of the video, make sure the video is compelling enough to bring the viewer back to watch the rest.
  • Use the associated website feature strategically and have fun with it! Work with your video production company to determine where you are going to add the link. For example, in the video you could ask the viewer to click on a certain object or person to take them to your website. Just remember that for now, annotation links only work when viewing from a desktop browser, and not a tablet or smartphone.

If you have been with us since Part One  congratulations on completing your company YouTube channel setup! Now all you need to fill it with great video content. To get started creating compelling marketing videos for your YouTube channel, contact us today.

If your YouTube presence has improved significantly as a result of this blog series, we would love to hear your story over on our Facebook page.


About Talking Head Studio Talking Head Studio is an Orlando video production company offering full-scale video production services to local businesses and national clients alike.

Step By Step Guide to Creating a Company YouTube Channel - Part Five - InVideo Programming

Step By Step Guide to Creating a Company YouTube Channel - Part Five - InVideo Programming

youtube channel setup guide

This week we're going to introduce a feature available to your company YouTube Channel called InVideo Programming, teach you how to set it up and show you some strategic ways you can use this feature to promote your business. To get started, you need to be in the Channel Settings, which you can get to by clicking on Video Manager and finding Channel Settings in the left sidebar. From there you will see the InVideo Programming option in the left sidebar.

Once you click in to InVideo Programming you will see two main sections, Branding Watermark and Feature Video.

Learn how to set up InVideo Programming for your company youtube channel

Branding Watermark

The Branding Watermark feature lets you display your company logo or other brand image overtop all of the videos that are uploaded to your company YouTube channel. If you are going to use watermarks for your videos, it's best to have your video production company add it in while they are editing in post production. That way it won't interfere with your content by coming in at the default time instead of right at the perfect moment. However, if it's a homemade video or the video was already finished without a watermark, you can still have YouTube add it to your video.

The benefit of using the Branding Watermark is that when a viewer rolls their mouse over the watermark, they have the option of clicking it to visit your channel. This is great for when your video shows up in search but the viewer hasn't heard of your company or hasn't yet visited your channel. It captures them and prompts them to connect further with your company channel by visiting it and subscribing. If your video production company adds a watermark during post production, you can still make it a link clickable to your channel, you will just have to do it in the annotations section for each individual video.

To add a Branding Watermark you will first need to upload the image you plan on using. Keep in mind this image will be going on all videos, so make sure it is universal to your channel and that it will be easy to see on all videos, no matter their coloring. The image is displayed as an opaque overlay, so YouTube recommends a transparent, monochrome image in a png file.

Once you have uploaded your image you can choose when to display the watermark and for how long. We recommend displaying it at the end of the video and here's why: YouTube keeps track of how long people are watching your videos. They track if people are watching the whole thing or if they are watching the first few seconds and then clicking away to something else (this information is available to you, too, in YouTube Analytics).

Every time someone watches your video until the end or for the majority of the length of the video, YouTube considers that a vote that the content is valuable and met that viewer's expectations for search. You want people watching to the end of your videos and not clicking away early so that YouTube knows your videos are popular and knows to move them up in search results. Placing the watermark at the end of the video instead of the beginning makes sure that the viewer won't click away to your channel before the video ends.

As for how long to display it, a good standard amount of time would be 30 seconds. If your videos tend to be short 60-90 second clips, 15 seconds would work. If they tend to be 15-30 minutes long, a one minute watermark would be appropriate.

Once you have determined the display time and duration, click update and your watermark will display on all of your company channel videos, even videos that have been previously uploaded.

Feature a Video

The InVideo Programming feature also allows you to overlay another video in the corner, so that when people are finished with the video they are watching, they have a suggestion of what to go on to next.

You have three options for what video to display here. You can,

  • Feature your most recent upload
  • Feature one of your uploaded videos
  • Feature any video on YouTube

As with the Branding Watermark, you also have the choice of when you want to display the feature video and for how long.  Like we mentioned above, it's best to display it at the end of the video so that you get the maximum amount of watch time for that video.

Featured Video also allows you to add a custom message above the title of the video to further entice the viewer to watch the video you suggest.

Keep in mind that this feature video will be the same over all your videos. Your goal with the featured video is to capture your audience so that they watch more of your content, and begin to get to know your company and develop a bond with it. If you choose one of your uploaded videos to feature, choose a video that has been professionally produced and that adds value for the viewer.

To remove either a Branding Watermark or Feature Video from your channel, just click the remove button.

Watch until the end of the short video below to see how InVideo Programming is displayed.

Next week we come to the end of our YouTube Channel series. You won't want to miss learning about a very important hidden feature available to your company YouTube channel to drive traffic straight to your website. See you next week!

Click here to go to Part Six...


About Talking Head Studio Talking Head Studio is an Orlando video production company offering full-scale video production services to local businesses and national clients alike.

youtube setup guide part five - invideo programming