Google drops YouTube annotations

Google drops YouTube annotations

By Lee on March 24, 2017

Things are changing at YouTube. Having previously announced plans to drop 30-second unskippable ads from videos, Google has now also revealed that it will be dropping another annoyance within videos, which is the annotations.

For most of us getting rid of annotations across all videos will come as great news as they really only distract us from the actual content. We are going to run through how the changes will affect those of you that use YouTube as part of your online marketing strategy.

Why are they getting rid of annotations

youtube annotations

YouTube is currently the world’s 2nd largest search engine. It’s bigger than Bing, Yahoo, Ask and AOL combined. YouTube has 1 billion unique monthly visitors and half of all internet users are on YouTube so getting rid of annotations that annoy people is seen as a smart option for everyone.

Annotations have generally been used to link to related material, push merchandise and so on, but there has been something of an issue: annotations are not very mobile-friendly. Google says that Cards (which can be displayed at any point during a video) and End Screens (which appear at the end of a video)provide the same functionality as annotations yet the cards work on mobile and are more user-friendly.

The move has been brought about not only by the fact that more people are accessing YouTube on mobile devices, but also that annotations have been widely ignored by users. For creators, Google says the change is good news. With 60 percent of YouTube views now mobile-based, most people are missing out on annotations anyway, and Cards and End Screens generate far more clicks.

What Google had to say about the change

As adoption of End Screens and Cards has grown, the use of annotations has decreased by over 70 percent. For this reason, the time has come to discontinue Annotations Editor. Effective starting May 2, you’ll no longer be able to add new or edit existing annotations, only delete them. Existing annotations will continue to show when using a desktop computer. We wanted to give you advanced notice so you can adjust.

Google also says that End Screens are up to ten times faster to create than annotations, and they can be imported from other videos so they can be re-used.

Will using end screens be more effective

youtube end screens

Cards and End Screens are an effective way of offering people the next steps after your video is complete without forcing them to look at annoying links throughout the video.  With 60 percent of YouTube views now mobile-based, most people are missing out on annotations anyway, and Cards and End Screens generate far more clicks. 

If you are using these as a business you are much more likely to retain viewers as a subscriber or providing them with a choice to visit your website. You can even have a subscribe feature as an end screen, therefore having more chance at capturing your audience.

Despite end screens and cards not being a ranking factor amongst YouTube itself, it’s safe to say by using them instead of annotations you will have a much more user-friendly channel.

Are you using YouTube to generate more business?

If not, it’s time to start maximising your exposure online through YouTube. Contact us today and let us put a video marketing strategy in place for your business.

When it comes to YouTube it’s highly important you seek a professionals advice. You won’t have much luck at getting your videos in front of your desired audience unless you set out a video marketing strategy. At Falkon Digital we can optimise existing videos as well as set up digital marketing strategies and produce the videos ourselves.