Annotations in YouTube Videos: Discover the Benefits for Your Brand

Annotations in YouTube Videos: Discover the Benefits for Your Brand

Editor’s note: This post was originally published on 12/2/15 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehension.

When it comes to technology, things can become outdated almost before they hit the scene.

At one point, annotations in YouTube videos were THE tactic you wanted to use to get your brand noticed and drive traffic to your website.

However, they aren’t the most cutting-edge method for engaging your audience anymore. But we describe a viable alternative in this blog: Can I link a YouTube Video to my Website? (Hello, YouTube Cards. Goodbye, Annotations!)

What annotations used to mean to YouTube

Video marketing isn’t a one-way street. 

At least, it shouldn’t be.

Give your YouTube videos a boost and stand out from the competition by making them more interactive. 

When your audience can communicate with your brand, they’re encouraged to engage and eventually buy-in. 

Annotations are the key.

Sure, adding interactive video elements can come with a cost, but if executed correctly, they can exponentially increase customer engagement, website views, and in the end, higher sales.

Let’s take a closer look at using annotations in YouTube videos.

What are YouTube annotations?

Annotations are video elements that have been around since 2008. 

They may be the most effective YouTube feature you’ve never heard of.

These viewable annotations often have clickable messages layered right on top of the video.

You can add things like text, side-notes, and links to videos, all of which give the viewer a much more interactive and engaging experience.

Styles of annotations in YouTube 

YouTube offers six different styles of annotations: Note, Speech Bubble, Spotlight, Title, Label and Pause.

1. Note

The Note annotation style is used to communicate to viewers through text. 

The size and color of Notes can be easily customized, but unfortunately, the color of the actual font is limited to just black and white. 

Notes can be viewable on a video for as long as you want, and can even be linked to your other YouTube videos or social media sites.

2. Speech Bubble

A Speech Bubble is exactly what you’re picturing. 

Add one to your YouTube video’s timeline and your viewers will see a cartoonish bubble of text that gives the effect that someone is speaking. 

Speech Bubbles can also be linked to your other YouTube videos and social media sites. 

And they’re excellent ways to link to exclusive content or issue a call-to-action.

3. Spotlight 

A Spotlight-style YouTube annotation is the same as the other styles – with one unique difference. 

A Spotlight displays text on the video but only shows up when a viewer hovers their mouse over a particular area of a video. 

The Spotlight YouTube video annotation is the perfect style of text for communicating with viewers without interrupting their viewing experience with obtuse boxes of text.

4. Title

Forgot to create an intro or title for your YouTube video? 

No problem. Use the Title-style annotation to show viewers the specifics of the video they’re about to watch. 

Keep in mind that, unfortunately, the title annotation is NOT clickable.

5. Label 

The Label YouTube annotation works in the same way as the Spotlight style, except that the text is displayed below the area you designated it to appear on the video. 

In short, Labels are a unique form of pop-up text. 

The configuration options differ from Spotlight’s, so do some testing and figure out which style is more suited to your video.

6. Pause

The Pause annotation pauses a video for a specified amount of time. 

Use Pause when you believe the viewers need a little extra time to take in the content, such as a video replay of a seminar or a calculus tutorial.

Interactions come with annotations

Implementing the above annotations in YouTube videos provides your audience with an interactive experience that gives them more power over how they watch.

Video annotations can also drastically improve customer engagement, increase the amount of time they spend watching your videos, and encourage positive interactions between your brand and the audience.

All of these benefits set you apart from the crowd.

And remember – there isn’t just one correct way to communicate with customers. 

Whether it’s through videos or a general digital marketing strategy, customer interaction is crucial to your brand’s online success.


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