Using YouTube end screens

YouTube end screens are the latest and greatest way to capture your audience’s attention and keep them coming back for more of your amazing content. No matter what your goal, use an end screen to solidify your connection to your audience: use them to remind viewers to subscribe, direct them to a fundraising site, and more.

What are YouTube end screens?

A YouTube end screen is a clickable box that appears at the end a YouTube video, leading the viewer to whatever the next step should be. When a user hovers over an end screen on the desktop or taps on them on their mobile device, the thumbnail expands to show more information. “Watch this next video,” “subscribe to my channel,” “check out my best friend’s channel,” and “RSVP to my…” are all possible and clickable with an end screen. YouTube added end screens at the end of last year to make it easier for viewers to take action within five to twenty seconds after a video ends.

What can end screens be used for?

YouTube end screens are powerful marketing tools. The biggest benefit? You’re reaching a viewer right when they’ve finished watching your video and are probably already hooked. A YouTube end screen is the next step in connecting with that viewer. You can use the end screen to point viewers to other videos, playlists, or channels on YouTube. An end screen is also a great moment to call for subscriptions to your channel. YouTube end screens can include up to four elements, and in addition to promoting your videos, they can be used to promote non-YouTube content like websites, merchandise, or crowdfunding campaigns. Depending on your goals, an end screen is the perfect point for a call to action.

Cards & annotations vs. end screens

You may be familiar with YouTube cards and annotations, which are other ways of inserting a call to action into your video content. With end screens, lots of changes are coming to the ways you should utilize these various tools — and here’s what you need to know.

A YouTube card is the information box that appears in the right hand corner of a video. Cards are viewable on mobile and desktop, and are great branding tools.

YouTube cards show up on the right side of your video screen

Experts recommend always using a card within your YouTube video. There are six types of cards for you to choose from: Merchandise, Fundraising, Video, Playlist, Associated Website and Fan Funding. Each of these options can be found under the “Cards” tab in your video editor.

YouTube annotations were a desktop-only tool that allowed you to add clickable links to your videos and to manually create end screens. Annotations have now been phased out: as of May 2nd, 2017, creators are no longer able to add or edit Annotations to their videos, but can delete old ones. Now YouTube creators can add links to external URLs or notes to their videos exclusively via cards and end screens. This is a good thing: end screens and cards generate seven times more clicks across YouTube than annotations. In fact, viewers close an average of 12 annotations before they click on one of them.

An Annotation in action

Annotations and end screens can’t exist together — you must choose one or the other. As more and more users tend to watch and share videos on mobile, consider replacing your annotations with end screens to keep your video content relevant. And, as annotations phase out completely, it will be more and more important to make sure people are watching your videos until the very end to view your powerful end screen.

YouTube end screens look great on mobile and desktop

How to Set Up End Screens for Your Videos

Great news: end screens are so much faster and easier to create than annotations. You can now import end screens from other videos, or use dynamic overlays to save yourself even more time. Here are some easy steps for setting up end screens:

1. Sign in to your YouTube account. In the top right, click your account icon > Creator Studio. 2. In the left menu, select Video Manager > Videos. 3. For the video you want to add the end screen to, click Edit. 4. In the top tab bar, click End Screen & Annotations.

5. If the selected video contains annotations, follow the instructions to unpublish them. 6. You’ll see your video with the predefined grid, and a timeline below that indicates the available part for the end screen. Click Add Element. You can add up to four elements, and one of them must be a video or playlist.

7. Choose how to build your End Screen:

  • Add Element: You can add up to four elements to a video. At least one element must be a video or playlist. Select each element and fill in the required information, then click Create Element.
  • Copy From Video: You can copy an end screen from another one of your videos and edit the elements.
  • YouTube Template: You can choose from predefined formats that show combinations of elements. You’ll need to define the content for the elements in the end screen, such as add the channel to be featured.

8.bAdjust the placement and size of each element on the grid. Adjust the time for the element to show in the timeline below.

9. Click Save! You can preview the element at any time by selecting Preview on the top left of the player. You can always go back and edit the end screen and its elements.

End Screen Tips and Best Practices

What makes an effective end screen? These last impressions are meant to create a powerful end-of-video experience for your viewer. To make the most of your end screen, encourage viewers to click using calls to action that are relevant to the video content. Test different variations of your end screen and review the performance of each. You can check the performance of your end screens in YouTube Analytics. Go to your Audience Retention Report or use the End Screens Report in your Creator Studio page.

Play around with your end screen by featuring elements that you show in the video — images, graphics, branding, etc. If you use a custom image, YouTube recommends keeping it at least 300×300 pixels. Leave enough space at the end of your video for the end screen to show — remember that the end screen can last up to 20 seconds! Lastly, use your end screen in combination with cards to create a unified experience across your content.

Looking for more YouTube marketing ideas? Biteable is here to help! Check out our blog for resources, templates, tips, tricks and more.

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