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YouTube Annotations Axed

YouTube annotations have distracted from video content on PCs and Macs since 2008. As of May 2017, those old fashioned annotations are being axed.

Always desktop only

For over eight years, YouTube’s annotations tool has let uploaders add layer text, links, and spotlights to their videos.

Some YouTubers have used the feature well. Some have plastered too many on their videos. Others have not used it at all. When it comes to phones, tablets and smart TVs, they might as well not have bothered.

It turns out those little overlays have never worked on mobile, and there’s been no effective plan to make it happen.

Mobile or bust

YouTube annotations were first introduced in 2008, when mobile web use was insignificant. Since then, mobile device usage has boomed. Now, close to two-thirds of YouTube traffic is from mobile devices. 

So, it comes as no surprise that YouTube has finally pulled the plug on annotations. Annotations that are already on videos will remain, (unless deleted by the user,) but there will no longer be a way to add them.

Enter Cards and End-screens

Instead of annotations, active uploaders should be familiar with Cards and End-screens to manage in-video interactivity.

The Cards tab has been on YouTube uploader’s Video Editor interface since 2015. Uploaders to create and edit cards at any time, according to any of six marketing/communications objectives: Merchandise, Fundraising, Video, Playlist, Associated Website and Fan Funding.

End-screens are a post-video solution appropriate for pointing viewers to other places on YouTube, to ask users to subscribe, or as a means of promotion. They’ve been available to uploaders since October 2016.

Painless transplantation

Cards and End-screens should make the demise of annotations should be painless. Marketing link-outs should finally be able to reach all screens equally.

Copy Transmission is a Melbourne-based agency :: Better Brands. Loud & Clear.

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