10 Ways To Use YouTube Annotations

10+ Ways To Use YouTube Annotations

10 Ways To Use YouTube AnnotationsYouTube annotations can really help get your viewers to take action or understand what you are saying. Use them to your advantage. Don’t go all willy-nilly and just garbage up your video with them. Think about your annotation call to actions!

Let’s look at “How and Why” to use annotations on your YouTube videos.

List of Ways to Use Annotations

Use one to point out text you forgot to say or that you said wrong

Maybe you have made a How-To video and said upper left and should have said upper right, instead of taking the video down, make a LARGE annotation pointing out the correct place.If you have mentioned a book, herb, website…and you know it will be hard for your viewers to spell or understand what you said, then write it out in an annotation so they can write it down themselves.Place this type of annotation at the point when you say the words.Oops annotation

Make a menu to different times/topics/questions in the video

If you have a long video, you can place an “annotations menu bar” across the top and link to other parts of the video that may be the question or topic they want.To do this, you will make an annotation and link to the same video and set the start time to the place in the video that has that topic or question. You can make a few small annotations with an entire list that will run the same during the entire video. Or just skip to a part and from there an annotation to the next section and so on. This saves them from watching 20 minutes of stuff they don’t need and lessens the chance of them just getting frustrated waiting and end up leaving.

Lead to the next or previous video in a series

Maybe you have made short videos showing how to do something with several steps and you have broken the steps into separate videos. You can use a “Next” or “Previous” annotations in an upper corner so the viewers can go back a step or skip ahead.Next and Previous annotations can run the duration of the video.

Lead to a similar video of your own

If you have one or more videos that are very similar you can make a card at the end of your videos and give the viewer a chance to click directly to it.As an example – This picture is from our Animal Quiz videos. I use my editing program to make a card and after each quiz the viewer has the option to click on another quiz. I have about 70 quizzes, at this time, and due to the age of the viewers, I use the image of 3 animals and annotate to their quiz. Each video will have different animal choices.Depending on your editing tool, you may be able to insert a small video and the viewer can see it playing and be interested in clicking the annotation.There are so many ways to do this, just do what you can with the editing tools you do (or don’t) have. My Bonus Tip:€“ If the video you are linking to is in a playlist, Open the Playlist, click on the video you will be annotating to, copy the very long link that includes the word “LIST“. Insert that link as a Video Annotation!Now when they click that annotation, not only will they see the single video, they will also have the entire playlist to the side. You can get MASSIVE views this way.Click for another annotations

Lead them to anyone’s video that you feel is important or that you mention

If you are doing a video response or maybe you got the idea for your video from someone else. You can make an annotation leading the viewers to it.This will show in the “Referral” section of their YouTube analytics. If you send enough views, they may take note and return the favor. It also means that if your video is viewed away from YouTube, the viewer may still have the link handy. As most people just link in the description, but the description rarely travels with embeds.

Lead them to a playlist

As with any annotation, you can use an image, text card or just say visit the Playlist. If they have enjoyed this video they may want to see all of them you have on the same topic.Hint – Keep clean playlist! One topic ONLY per playlist. Do NOT send them to a list of jumbled up things. They will not like that. If your playlist is very narrow, they may watch several of them. Playlist annotations

Make subscribing easy

We all want YouTube subscribers, so make it easy for them. Say the words, show them text or a button and remind them to click! Click to subscribe or visit annotation

Lead to your site with a link

(if you are a partner with an associated website). Since this automatically opens in a new window, you can place it at any time during the video. I would suggest that you get the viewer interested in visiting your site before you have the Associated Website link, otherwise it could be distracting and look spammy. Having a button or text at the end of the video saying to visit your site is always a fine choice.My Hint – I do not just link to the home page. I link to a particular product or article page that is directly related to the video.

Use the text to give a web address that you cannot link to

If you are not a YouTube Partner, you can still use a text annotation to show them your site name. You can write out the domain name in full or write something like “Visit Fuzzy Wuzzy Anipals“. They will need to search it and it is not as handy as a clickable link, but it is better than nothing. Give a coupon code

Give a coupon code

If you are using video to describe a product, an annotation is an awesome way to give out a coupon code to the viewer as a “bonus” for watching the video. I would personally, NOT mention the coupon in the video. Just use an annotation to tell them. This way you can take the coupon off or change it at any time. If you mention (with spoken words) it in the video…what happens in a year when you no longer offer that special?
*** Here is my added tip to think about with any type of annotation that leads the viewer away from the current video.

If you see a big drop in your retention at a certain point, you may want to toss in an annotation, before the majority of viewers are clicking off. This means you have a chance to get them to watch another video as they are going to leave anyway, may as well try to get them to stay on your channel

I have some old videos that are no longer relevant, but still get traffic; I put in annotations to another video that is more current or similar. Yes, people will click it if they think the next video will cover their query.

Ok, that should get you started with ideas as to how and when to use YouTube Annotations!

About Sheryl Loch

I am always learning new and improved ways to better our blogs, forum, and e-commerce sites. You can find me at The Internet Marketers Guild and +Sheryl Loch.
I tend to be a bit straight forward and sarcastic at times so ask for an honest opinion and you shall receive...even if it is not what you want to hear.


  1. Good stuff Sheryl. Lie I mentioned in the video, the only thing I can think to add is using annotations to go back and update older posts.

  2. Another great video guys! I like the way you jump cuts to go from one point you are making to another, and doing so has become an accepted way of doing things.

  3. Hi Sheryl, YouTube Annotation’s feature is very useful that can help navigate people to different places but some people just over use it, like they put a big annotation around the video that’s impossible to remove and you can’t really watch anything just because of that annotation. And it’s really hard to get people to take action they requested as well.

    Thanks – Ferb

  4. Sheryl,

    I agree that annotations can be very effective. However, the only aspect that I have had good luck with are sending people to other videos. Asking them to subscribe to my channel has proven an effort in futility

  5. Thank Evan, glad you liked the video.

  6. Hi Ferb! I agree! Some people go WAY overboard on their annotations and it really does more harm than good.

  7. Hi Orlando, some channels do much better with the subscribe annotations than others. I like to switch it up between subscribe, visit, playlist, videos…

    Getting them o watch another video is good. At least they are taking action and you are getting more views and “time viewed”.

  8. Nice Share Sheryl,
    Whether you’ve been posting videos for a while, or you’re just starting out, YouTube Annotations are another tool that you can use to help your videos stand out from the crowd. And even better, with a little creative planning, annotations can add a dimension of interactivity and entertainment to your videos that audiences will appreciate.

  9. Sweet!

    I knew there where perfect ways in using annotations on YouTube videos!

    I used some of them myself a few times on my own videos.

    Mostly using the annotations as an “emphasis” for something.

    Thanks for writing!

  10. related vide and next video is cool way to get visitor to keep checking your videos and hopefully it will help to get subscriber, the most important thing is to be listen, and with realted video and next video it will be done.

  11. Hi Shery,

    wonderful post with tips, I agree YouTube annotations can really help get your viewers to take action and understand what you are saying. Use them to your advantage.

    Thanks for sharing, I’ll follow your tips! 🙂

  12. Thanks Okto! You said it perfectly!

  13. Hi Samuel, using them to emphasis something is a great!

    Thanks for reading and commenting!

  14. Hi Kay, I agree. The more of your videos they see and like, the more likely it is they will subscribe.

  15. Thanks Bashir!
    Getting viewers to take action can be a hard thing, so I use all the help I can get. 😉

  16. Useful post. Probably don’t make the most of annotations, will definately now, even if it just to get more subscribers or link to another video of mine. I heard that keywords are also looked at in the annotations as part of the keyword search on YouTube?? But don’t know if this is true. Would be useful to find more information about that.

  17. Mohd Aktar says

    Hey Sheryl Loch, your video is great and even the post is nice, Thanks for sharing it.

  18. Hi Sheryl,

    Thanks for posting this informative post. Well, I do use annotations to correct mistakes or clarify some specific information in my videos but I never really thought of using annotation as a point of reference for viewers or even using it to give coupons. Now I know that I can do that in a annotation, maybe I’ll try to use it more often for my channels. Thanks for giving me an idea about the uses of annotation.

  19. I am so behind, just started using Youtube recently. I actually had someone do 2 videos for me and I have one I’m working on myself using pictures. So annotations is totally new to me and I see I have a lot to learn 🙂 Thanks for this post, which I will be saving.

  20. You can also annotations to point out the best section of a song..I’ve seen a few videos where a user has used annotations to give his take on symphonies which were vastly appealing..I guess creativity is the limit when it comes to Youtube.

  21. Hi Gail, I am glad you found the post useful.

    I have never found annotations to be searchable. I do know for a fact that Closed Captions are searchable.

    I have 2 post about using Closed Captions and we also have a short how to video as to how to put on Closed Captions on our Youtube Channel.

    Checkout – How to do Closed Captions for YouTube https://hotblogtips.com/how-to-closed-captions-youtube


    Can Search Engines Read Closed Captions And Descriptions On YouTube https://hotblogtips.com/search-engines-read-closed-captions

    Those should help you with getting more searchable videos.
    Of course the Title, Tags, and Description are VERY important.

  22. Thank you Mohd Aktar! Glad you stopped by!

  23. Hello Farrell John Conejos, glad we could get your brain going on some ideas.
    Annotations are great, because you can change them at any time. So if something is not working, just change it.

    Thanks for stopping in and the comment.

  24. Hi Jacqueline Jordan, glad we could help.
    Remember that everyone starts out brand new and has to learn as they go.
    Everytime the change something, I have to learn how to do it on my own channels, so I don’t mess up someone else’s. LOL

  25. Hi Joe, creativity is what YouTube is all about!

  26. hey Bryan,

    I’m glad Sheryl got this article wrote on time, as I’m getting into video marketing more seriously this year…

    After dabbling with it for some time, I strongly believe that annotations are the most powerful, yet the most overlooked ingredient in the YouTube / video producing industry…

    #Sheryl, your “retention boosting” tip rocks!

  27. Wow! Amazing tips! I am exploring adding video to my blog not only for SEO boosts, but also for the added dynamic and interest it creates. I had no idea you could do so much with video. Great ideas on promoting other videos with your videos…and on fixing incorrect info in a video. That is ingenious!

Speak Your Mind

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.