YouTube terms

Video Annotations

Text overlays that used to appear on videos, now deprecated but still relevant for older content.

What is a video annotation in YouTube?

A video annotation in YouTube is a feature that allows creators to add interactive commentary to their videos. These annotations can take the form of pop-up speech bubbles, spotlight annotations, or notes that can be used to share background information, create interactive games with viewers, link to related YouTube videos, channels, or search results from within a video. They can also be used to promote interaction, such as liking, sharing, or subscribing to a channel.

However, it's important to note that as of May 2017, YouTube has discontinued the annotations editor. This means that while existing annotations will continue to be displayed on desktop computers, creators can no longer add new annotations or edit existing ones. Instead, YouTube now encourages the use of cards and end screens to provide similar functionality in a more mobile-friendly way.

How to add video annotations in YouTube?

To add video annotations in YouTube, you first need to sign in to your YouTube account and go to the YouTube Studio. From the left menu, select "Content" and then choose the video you want to add annotations to. Click on the "Details" tab and then select "Show More" in the video details section.

Scroll down to find the "Cards" or "End Screens & Annotations" section. Click on "Add" and you will be directed to a new page where you can add annotations. You can choose the type of annotation you want to add, such as a speech bubble, note, title, spotlight, or label. After selecting the type, you can customize the text, color, and position of the annotation. Once you're done, click "Save" to apply the changes. Please note that annotations are only visible on desktop computers and not on mobile devices.

Why can't I see video annotations on YouTube?

YouTube officially discontinued the annotations editor in May 2017. This decision was made due to the fact that annotations were not compatible with mobile devices, which make up a significant portion of YouTube's viewership. Annotations were replaced with Cards and End Screens, which are mobile-friendly tools that can direct viewers to other videos, playlists, websites and more.

However, even though the annotations editor has been discontinued, existing annotations were supposed to remain visible to viewers. But in January 2019, YouTube decided to remove all existing annotations from videos because they believed that annotations were outdated and were often used for spam or other inappropriate purposes. Therefore, you can no longer see video annotations on YouTube.

Are video annotations still available on YouTube?

No, video annotations are no longer available on YouTube. YouTube officially discontinued its annotations feature in May 2017. The decision was made due to the significant decrease in annotations usage, as more and more viewers were engaging with videos on mobile devices where annotations were not supported.

Instead, YouTube now encourages creators to use features like Cards and End Screens, which are mobile-friendly and offer more flexibility. These features allow creators to share other videos, playlists, websites, or even prompt viewers to subscribe, and they can be used at any point during the video, not just at the end.

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