Okay folks, be honest. How many of you produce web videos without a call to action (CTA) in them?  I’ll be the first to say that I have been guilty of this in the past.  I would spend hours working feverishly to produce a compelling video for my target audience, only to include absolutely no conversion opportunities whatsoever.

What was I thinking?

Let’s spend a few minutes covering just how easily you can incorporate call to actions in your video, using the Annotations tool in YouTube. Annotations are simply clickable text overlays that you place in your video, providing your viewers with opportunities to interact and convert through your content.

Why Use Annotations

Annotations can be used creatively in a variety of ways to produce effective CTAs.

You can:

  • Drive subscriptions to your YouTube channel
  • Link directly to other related videos and content
  • Give viewers the opportunity to like, favorite, or share your videos
  • Allow viewers to send a private message to you
  • Allow Video Responses to your video
  • Encourage comments on your video

Things to Consider

You'll want to avoid using annotations in the bottom third of your video. YouTube has set aside this area for advertisements, and your CTA is likely to be blocked or unclickable if placed here. Also, be sure to place your annotation where it won't be distracting to the viewer, and won't block the subject matter they're trying to view.

In most cases, your annotations should not be visible for the duration of your video. Consider displaying no more than a few annotations per video, each for a relatively short period of time. Placement at just the beginning and end of the video works best. Otherwise, your content might be seen as too distracting, or even spammy, and your viewership will likely decrease.

How to Annotate in YouTube

You can activate the annotation tool by clicking the Edit Annotations button in the top menu of your YouTube Channel.

Edit Annotations

 

Annotations menu

Using annotations to engage your viewers creatively through CTAs not only gives you more exposure, but also influences Google’s search algorithm. The more clicks your video gets, the better off you'll be.

Learn More about Annotations and Simplifying Web Video

If you are located in the Washington D.C and Baltimore metropolitan areas, and you’re interesting in learning more about simplifying video for your website, join us at the next HUG Washington DC user group meeting on February 2 at 6:00 pm in Tyson’s Corner, Virginia. Please RSVP for the next meetup here. We'd love to see you there!

This is a guest post by HubSpot customer and leader of the Washington D.C. HUG (HubSpot User Group), Walter Pollard, who last year was honored as HUG Leader of the Year. Locate a Local HUG in your area.

 

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Originally published Jan 19, 2012 8:00:00 AM, updated January 13 2014