YouTube recently announced that they are getting rid of annotations in favor of end screen cards.
What are end screen cards? How are they different from annotations? Why is YouTube doing this? What are some best practices to follow? Today, Jeremy welcomes Tim Schmoyer of Video Creators to break it all down and show you what to do.
Enjoy, and please share if you find this episode valuable!
Jeremy Vest: Hey everybody, this is Jeremy Vest from Vidpow.com. Today I have the one and only Tim Schmoyer.
Tim Schmoyer: Hello, I’m here. I get to hang out with you guys again.
Jeremy: All right. Today we’re going to be talking about the exciting new end screens. Tim Schmoyer, what is an end screen?
Tim: Well, generally, it’s this thing that people have been adding to the end of their videos for years now, and they used to just use old-school annotations as a way of getting the viewer to take a specific action when the video is done, whether that be to subscribe or to comment or to watch a different video. It’s just a way that before YouTube search suggestion just based on the algorithm what videos to watch next, the end screen is something creators have been using for a long time to tell the viewer what they want them to do next, before they just leave them up to the YouTube gods to send them wherever.
Jeremy: One of the problems with that is most of the views on YouTube are mobile, and annotations, which you had to use for the old-school end screens don’t work on mobile. This new system does work on mobile, right?
Tim: Yeah. The annotations were based on Flash, and that was the technology for streaming video years ago. But Flash does not work on mobile devices, at least not very well. They experimented on it and decided, you know what, HTML5 is the way to go, and there was no way to port those annotations over to HTML5 in a way that made sense. So this is their solution to that, if you want to get technical.
Jeremy: One of the things you have to do if you want to use this new feature is you actually have to unpublish the annotations on the video you want to do.
Tim: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Jeremy: So if you have an old-school video that has a button or something that says, “Click here!” there’s two ways to solve that. One, just don’t worry about putting these end screens on your old videos, or two, you can actually move these buttons around on the end screen and cover up your existing buttons. That’s another way to look at it, you could actually cover up your end screens.
Tim: Another thing that you need to do is that the videos must be at least 25 seconds long to use an end screen, and that is because the end screens themselves can be no longer than 20 seconds and they only appear at the end of your videos. You can’t use them in the beginning or the middle of your videos, only at the end, and they can be a maximum of 20 seconds at the end of your video, which means your video itself needs to be at least 25 seconds long to use an end screen.
Jeremy: Yeah, and another thing is you actually have to link to a video or a playlist in order to use end screens. You can’t just say, “But now!” and sell your product. You have to physically link to another video or a playlist in order for this to work.
Tim: Which I think makes sense, because YouTube’s goal here is to get people to stay on their platform as long as possible, engaging with as much content as possible, seeing as many ads as possible, right?
Tim: So they don’t want you to use this tool to just send everyone away from YouTube, which would probably not be great for your video anyway, as far as optimization SEO is concerned. They’re kind of forcing you to kind of implement some best practices here, and at least giving people the option of staying on YouTube and watching more of your videos and more of your content, or even someone else’s videos, rather than just making the whole main thrust of the call to action be to, “Get off YouTube, go to my website!” That would be bad for your video. I think it’s kind of a good move that YouTube made it that way, and forced you to do it.
Jeremy: Absolutely, and another cool thing … I hit the mic. A cool thing is there’s actually several ways to add a video or a playlist. You can upload the most recent video, which if you are a YouTuber, that may make a lot of sense. For on all the videos you have these on, it’s just always the latest. That could make a lot of sense, especially if you’re a news site. Another is you can do best for viewer, which YouTube is going to try to use its intelligence to pick what video they think out of your library that particular viewer would like the best. Then the third choice is to use a playlist, which obviously will keep people lean back and engaged, watching your video. So you can choose three ways to do it and it’s pretty smart. I’m glad that for example if I was a news site, I don’t have to go change my end screen very week.
Tim: Yeah. I was just looking at my analytics for the … I’ve had the new end screen stuff for a few months now, so I have a few months of data in my YouTube analytics, just checking it out. Of those three options, the one that’s gotten the most click throughs for me percentage-wise from people who see my end screen and people who click through is the “Best for viewer” option. It’s not the most recent video, and it’s not necessarily the playlist or a specific video. It’s whenever I just let YouTube optimize whatever video they think is best. They’re not going to show them a video they’ve already seen, most likely. I’m not sure what all goes into it, but it’s probably based on their previous search history, their viewing session, whatever they typed into the bar looking for, different things like that. I’ve seen the highest click through rate on that one, of those three options.
Jeremy: That’s really interesting, that’s good information, too.
Tim: Your mileage may vary, so always test it yourself. Your audience may be different. But for my audience, it’s a whole percent and a half, 1.5% higher.
Tim: So it’s pretty significant.
Jeremy: That’s pretty amazing. One of the things you want to consider is you don’t want to put a card in the last 20 second of a video now, because obviously you don’t want two things happening at once.
Tim: These are like interactive cards, like the cards we’ve had for a while now. You’re talking about the different one.
Jeremy: Exactly. Exactly.
Tim: The ones that like the eye in the sky, the thing that fly out from the corner? Those are the things you don’t want to put when your end card elements are showing up.
Jeremy: Eye in the sky, absolutely, I like that.
Tim: I heard that from [Clintus 00:06:45] and it just stuck.
Jeremy: Finally, you can have an icon which will allow people to subscribe to your channel. The icon is round, so you have to be careful with your artwork. You need to have a little more room around the edges so that your logo’s not cut off when it goes into the circle. You do want to play with that. Tim Schmoyer, did you have anything else to add to end screens?
Tim: Well, with that subscribe button, the way it works is it just shows the circle like you said of your channel avatar. Your channel icon, avatar, is square on your channel page, but on the end they changed it to be a circle. I’m not sure why they did that. It’s a square everywhere else on YouTube, except for here. You do have evaluator to make sure it looks okay, but the thing that happens is it doesn’t look like a subscribe button in and of itself. It’s just the icon. The subscribe button doesn’t appear until someone hovers their mouse over top of it, or if they’re on mobile, if they tap on it.
When I did on the end card for my family’s channel is I have a clear visual on the end card itself, an arrow pointing to the circle where my subscribe button’s going to be on screen, pointing, “Hey, subscribe, new videos Tuesday or Monday-Wednesday-Friday,” with an arrow pointing to it, because just on its own, it doesn’t look like a subscribe button. It doesn’t look like that’s what it’s there for, so I felt like it was probably best to add some text around it with an arrow pointing to it so people know that … and I also, my end card I added a drop shadow to that area also, so that it looks more like a button and less of like a, “Oh, he has this picture of him and his wife onscreen, that’s nice.” You know?
Tim: Just to make it a little bit more clear to the viewer that that’s what that thing is for.
Jeremy: Great tips as always, Tim. How can people find you?
Tim: You can find me @TimSchmoyer on Twitter, or my YouTube channel youtube.com/videocreators, where we train people to grow an audience on YouTube.
Jeremy: You can find me at email@example.com or vidpowbam everywhere. Until next week, keep talking tube.