Mike Hanbery October 17, 2013

How to Use YouTube Video Annotations in Social Media Marketing

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Video and any video marketing platform can be a powerful component of social media marketing content plans, and YouTube still leads the pack for video sharing and hosting. A social media marketing feature available for YouTube videos is Annotations.

YouTube Annotations enable the adding of effects to videos. The type of YouTube annotation with the most direct benefit, and the easiest and most sales-effective to work into a video, is a text annotation with a benefit and Call to Action (CTA).

How to Create a YouTube Note Annotation

Creating a text annotation in YouTube is easy. After uploading and optimizing your YouTube video, simply go to your channel’s Video Manager, select the video you wish to edit, click the drop-down arrow to the right of the Edit button and select Annotations.

For a text annotation with a CTA, the most universally applicable type of annotation to select is the Note. To add a Note to your YouTube video:

  1. Find the exact point in the video you wish for the annotation to appear, pause the video, click Add Annotation and, from the drop-down window, choose Note. This is your annotation’s Start position, or what a video production professional would call an in point.
  2. Type your text into the window and position the text and Note using the text and highlight tools and the drag-and-drop features of the actual Note. Regarding annotation copy: Brief is better. The annotation should augment your video; verbose annotations will detract from it. The viewer’s principal focus should remain on the content of the video.
  3. Find your End point (in video production jargon, an out point) by playing the video, moving the playback slider or manually typing the end point into the box provided. The arrows to the right of the Start and End boxes allow for exact adjustments. In all probability, a bit of two or all three of these methods will be employed.
  4. Pull the slider back to before the annotation insertion, click play, check the video and make any necessary adjustments.

How to Convert the Prospect

Just as with Google AdWords or social media advertising, creating a well-crafted custom landing page for the advertised product or service will minimize bounces and maximize conversions.

Making the video costs money, as does marketing the video. Each incremental investment increases the importance of maximizing the opportunity. When people click on a CTA within a YouTube video, they have identified themselves as interested prospects. The destination page for the click should make it easy for them to:

  • Understand they are in the right place and engaging with the right people.
  • Make contact with the seller or complete a purchase. Provide a phone number, an email address and a brief web form. The web form, when submitted, should generate a response page, also called a “thank you” page, that confirms submission. If collecting email addresses, which the form probably should, it should also automatically generate an email confirmation of receipt.

This landing page should exist within your website.

In order for annotations to be able to link through to a website, that website must be linked to the YouTube account and verified.

How Not to Use YouTube Annotations
Annotations are so easy to create that it becomes easy to overuse them. More than one annotation, especially when each has its own CTA, will confuse to the viewer. Each detracts from the other’s effectiveness. The less asked of the prospect, the more likely the prospect is to acquiesce to the request.

Another common error is to superimpose text over other text. This renders both elements less readable. This is a fundamental graphic and video production best practice that just happens to be relevant to the application of these types of Youube annotations.

How to use this Information
Calls to Action (CTA) are an important and often overlooked part of marketing. YouTube provides powerful opportunities to place them in front of “warm prospects” at opportune points. When designing your video, look for opportunities to use them effectively.

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