This Monday, YouTube announced a new feature on their Creators blog designed to make videos even more interactive. The feature, called “Cards,” lets you overlay text and images linking back to your website, a product page, a fundraising campaign, or a YouTube video or playlist. You can see cards in action in the video below.
If you’ve already been using annotations on YouTube, you may be wondering how cards are different. Well, not only are they better looking and more customizable, but they let you customize the URL, description, call to action, and image – and they also work on mobile. Mobile video viewership is on the rise: According to a recent article from The Next Web, the fourth quarter of 2014 showed that “digital video viewing nearly doubled on smartphones, year-over-year.” Knowing this fact, the new ability to drive traffic from YouTube mobile videos directly to your business is huge.
How does it work? Setting up YouTube cards on your videos is easy. Navigate to the video you’d like to add a card to, and then click on the Cards icon beneath the player (seen below). Alternatively, you can navigate to the cards editor through the “Edit” dropdown menu in your Creator Studio.
Once you’ve entered the cards editor, you’ll have the option to add a card linking to an associated website, a fundraising site, a merchandising site, or a YouTube video, or playlist. Business owners will most likely use cards to link to associated websites, which is what we’ll focus on here. However, you can check out a list of supported merchandising and fundraising websites on YouTube’s Help site.
Note: If you want to link back to your business website, you’ll have to add an associated website first in your settings. To do so, first verify your account at youtube.com/verify. Then, head over to your advanced channel settings and follow the instructions under “Associated website.”
Once your associated website is added and verified, you’ll be able to add a card linking to it and any subdomains in a matter of clicks.
When you click to create an associated website card, you’ll be prompted to enter the URL you’d like to send viewers to. This could be your homepage, an about page, a product page or any page on your website – just make sure it’s relevant to the video and your viewers.
Once you’ve entered your URL, it’s time to add a website title and call to action. You can also select an image from the page you selected, or upload an image of your own. Make sure to select a title, call to action and image that accurately portray where the viewer will be sent.
Once you’re done, simply click Create card to add the card to your video. In the timeline beneath the video player in the Cards editor, you can slide the card around to indicate when you’d like it to pop up while your video is playing. In the image below, our card pops up around the 0:25 second mark. Once this is done, you’re ready to go.
Going forward, YouTube plans to increase the functionality of cards to a point that they can replace annotations. We’ll be sure to update you on new card features (and other YouTube features that may be helpful for your business) as they launch. Follow us on Twitter or like us on Facebook to stay in the loop.
Have you tried out YouTube cards yet? If so, what do you think? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below.