Yesterday, YouTube rolled out a new feature that is intended to eventually replace Annotations, those video overlay messages that ask you to subscribe to the video publisher’s YouTube channel, among other things.
The thing you notice right off the bat is that YouTube Cards are a lot more elegant and aesthetically-pleasing than Annotations. YouTube Cards also work on mobile device, while Annotations do not. You will probably want to consider adding YouTube Cards to your bag of video marketing tricks.
Linking To Your Content Within YouTube Videos
You can link to content outside of YouTube with Cards but not just any old content. If you want to link to your own content, you first need to verify your website with YouTube. You do that in the Advanced settings, under Associated website (see the highlighted area at the bottom of this screenshot):
After you’ve enabled that feature, you can link to content on your site. You can now use YouTube videos as a tactic for driving traffic to your site or blog.
Types Of YouTube Cards
Now, when you edit a video, one of your tab options will be Cards. As you can see from the following screenshot, there are several types of cards:
Associated Website: This option, as you have surmised, allows you to place links to content on your website. The above example shows a segment from my podcast and I will use the Associated Website card to link to a blog post at which I include additional content related to what is being discussed in the segment.
Fundraising: This option allows you to link to fundraising that have been approved by Google, ranging from Indiegogo and Kickstarter to Change.org, Doctors Without Borders and Gofundme.
Merchandise: This is what it sounds like: Sell stuff. You need to link to Google-approved sites, so you can’t link to your own online store. Pre-approved sites includ iTunes and Google Play, Shopify, Cafepress, Bandcamp and SoundCloud, Eventbrite and StubHub and Ticketmaster, and Etsy but no eBay and no Amazon and no PayPal.
Video or Playlist: This also is what it sounds like: Link to other YouTube videos.
Fan Funding: This option is not show in the screenshot, but if you’ve got Fan Funding enabled for your YouTube channel, you can include a Card to encourage viewers to contribute to your virtual tip jar.
[Tweet “Cool Tool: YouTube Cards #VideoMarketing”]
YouTube Card Creation
This is what the editing screen looks like for an Associated Website card. You plug in the URL of the page you want to link to, a short headline, a call to action, and choose a photo from among those on the landing page or upload a unique photo for the card:
YouTube Cards Timeline
Once you create your Card, you place it on your video timeline to determine at which point in the video it will appear to the viewer. Once it shows, it will remain for the duration of the video in the form of an “i” for information icon in the upper righthand corner of the video.
YouTube Card Appearance
This is what the Associated Website YouTube Card looks like when a viewer clicks on the icon. It pops up a preview of the linked-to content, complete with a photo and, headline, and call to action link. That’s much more compelling as clickbait than the often-times annoying Annotation overlays.
YouTube Card In Action
Here’s the actual video you’ve been seeing in the screenshots. The YouTube card appears about 20 seconds into the video: