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How to Add Annotations to Your Marketing Videos on YouTube

In addition to the available editing functionality in YouTube, it lets you add annotations to your marketing videos: These small text boxes or comic-style speech bubbles provide additional information to viewers. Annotations can link to other YouTube videos, or they can let people subscribe to your channel.

An annotation is a useful way to include an additional call-to-action element to a video.

To add an annotation, follow these steps:

  1. Go to the Video Manager page by clicking your username in the upper-right corner and choosing Video Manager from the menu that appears.

  2. Click the thumbnail picture of the video to which you want to add the annotation.

  3. Click the Edit Annotations link.

  4. Click the Add Annotation button, and choose the type of annotation you want to add.

    Use speech bubbles and notes for visible, colorful annotations that are ideal for calls to action.

    Titles are more discreet text elements that can convey additional information. Spotlights are used to point out particular parts of the picture.

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  5. Position the annotation where you want it, and then add the text you want.

    You can also change the font color and (for speech bubbles and notes) background color.

  6. Fine-tune the timing of your annotation.

    You can choose when this element should appear and disappear. Drag it in the timeline below the video, and change its duration by dragging one corner.

  7. Choose a link.

    Unfortunately, an annotation cannot link to an external site, such as your company’s website. But it can link to another YouTube video, playlist, or channel.

    An annotation can also let people subscribe to your channel with only one click. Simply select the Link check box, and choose the type of link you want to make. Paste into the text box the web address (URL) of the video or playlist you want to link to.

  8. When you finish, play the video to ensure that everything appears where you want it.

  9. Click Publish to activate your annotations.

An annotation isn’t added to a video — it’s displayed on top of it by the YouTube video player. Viewers can turn off annotations, and viewers on most current mobile devices such as smartphones or iPads don’t even see them. In other words, use annotations as additional elements, but don’t rely on them for your video marketing strategy.

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