YouTube is committed to helping creators reach more fans and keep them engaged with videos. That’s why it built Cards and End Screens into its platform, which have become increasingly popular. Now, it’s killing off annotations, in favour of cards and end screens.
Tools like Cards and End Screens have become very popular since they were launched. They are mobile-friendly, and they allow creators to poll their audience, create links to their merchandise, recommend other videos, and more. They were always a good thing, but over time, YouTube made them better, while listening to its users.
As YouTube explains in a recent blog post,
You told us you wanted Cards to link to videos within a playlist. So we made it happen. For End Screens, you asked for the ability to import End Screens from other videos and use smart elements. So we incorporated it.
But while Cards and End Screens have been adopted more and more, fewer creators are using annotations. In fact, the use of annotations has decreased 70%. So, YouTube has decided to shut down its Annotations Editor. As of May 2, users will not be able to add new or edit annotations that already exist. They in fact only be able to delete them. Annotations that already exist will show normally on a desktop – as they have done up until now.
The reasoning behind this shift, is clear. Annotations were launched before everything turned “mobile.” Back in 2008, the percentage of mobile viewers was significantly smaller. At the moment, around 60% of watchtime on YouTube is on mobile and both End Screens and Cards are for mobile users, but work on both mobile and desktop.
Also, YouTube has found that both End Screens and Cards “are more engaging” for viewers. In fact, they are said to generate 7X more clicks than annotations. Annotations actually proved pretty annoying to users, as they will close up to 12 annotations before actually clicking on one. Many users switch them off altogether. Also, annotations were always more difficult to create. End Screens are a lot easier, making the the process “up to ten times quicker.” In case you are not aware of this, you can actually “import End Screens from other videos or use dynamic overlays to save yourself even more time.”
Good riddance to annotations! You will not be missed.