How to Optimise Your YouTube Videos With Cards and End Screens

Cards and end screens are in-video optimization techniques that YouTube provide, which allow you to increase engagement and watch-time.

As part of your YouTube SEO strategy, it is important to consider how to place cards and end screens for maximum effect.

What happened to annotations?

YouTube first introduced annotations in 2008, whereby you could place different ‘notes’ in your videos that could link to another video or to subscribe to a channel.

The problem was that those annotations would not appear on videos played via mobile devices – which is where 60% of videos were watched at the time

Since the introduction of cards and end screens, the use of annotations plummeted and has been taken over by the mobile-friendly way of catching and retaining audiences.

What are YouTube cards?

Cards are essentially a way to inform your YouTube viewers about other videos on your channel, polls, merchandise, websites etc.

They appear as a small information icon at the top right of the screen, and when clicked, will find the relevant information regarding the title of the card.

You can choose when in the video you want to place the cards – allowing you to match them up with relevant content during specific timeframes in your video.

Keep in mind that to avoid people spamming links, you must be a verified YouTube partner to link cards to external websites.

What are end screens?

End screens are overlaid modules which appear in the final 20 seconds of your video.

They can contain up to four modules that can link to another video, playlist, or display your channel icon so users can subscribe.

It is best practice to place relevant content in your end screens to encourage more clicks.

For example, if you make a cooking video on baking a chocolate cake, you can use an end screen module to link to a video where you cook another type of cake.

This relevancy can increase watch-time – which is a vital YouTube ranking factor.

Should you always use them?

Yes. And here’s why:

Apart from other video optimization techniques, YouTube includes a way to help encourage more engagement within all your uploaded videos.

It would be silly not to make full use of these features since the majority of all popular content creators use them – why shouldn’t you?

In-video optimization techniques can be just as impactful as optimizing metadata, as such you can entice your audience to continue watching your videos and avoid drop-offs.

Important ranking factors

It’s clear that optimizing your YouTube videos for keywords that you want to target are essential for new viewers to find your content, however, if they only view a small proportion of your video, it signals to YouTube that your content is irrelevant, no matter how well you have optimized it.

Many people undervalue the importance of watch-time as a ranking factor, and the use of cards and end screens help to increase this, by offering more interactive elements to videos.

As a rule of thumb, incorporate cards whenever there is relevant content in the video which you can use to give more information to the viewer.

In terms of end screens, they should always feature one module that allows users to subscribe, and the other three modules can be used to display relevant videos/playlists.

Concluding thoughts

Whether you’re a new content creator or a YouTube celebrity, in-video optimization techniques can massively impact your views and subscribers, which is what we all want, right?

It’s worth checking your YouTube analytics dashboard to spot any changes in views or watch-time a few weeks after implementing cards and end screens – you may be surprised!

Written by Itamar Bauer

About the Author Jeremy Harrison

Jeremy started Hustle Life as a typical crappy affiliate marketing site and was attractive to the elusive allure of "passive income" but after years of learning, he learned that online marketing is more about HUSTLE than sitting on your @$$ doing nothing and he want's to pass on his hard-earned lessons to you.

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