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youtube annotations

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.