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YouTube Annotations 101 – How To Use YouTube Annotations

In this article we are going to discuss YouTube Annotations. First, we need to understand what an Annotation is. If you are watching a video and you see a clickable link on top of the video, that is an annotation. If you look at the picture below the Annotation is in the upper right hand corner of the video and it is linking to the subscribe button for the channel.


YouTube annotations are a great way to drive traffic to your other videos. If you have links to similar videos OR on topics that you are discussing in your video, I have found that this is a great traffic generator for older content.

In order to add an annotation to your videos you need to login to your YouTube account and go to your video manager. If you don’t know how to get there just click your username in the upper right hand corner when logged into YouTube and you will see some options. Click on Video Manager. For a full rundown of your Video Manager and how to use it Click Here.

Once you are in your Video Manager click on “Edit” below the video that you want to add Annotations to.


After you have clicked the edit button below the video you want to add annotations to, you will then be presented with multiple customization options for your video. You want to click the Annotations tab above the video. It will look like this.


Once you are in the annotations editor you will see many different options.

The first thing you need to decide is what type of annotation you want to add to your video. Here are the different types of Annotations and what they are below.

  • Speech Bubble – This annotations looks like a cartoon Speech Bubble. It is great to put in vlogs beside you if you are speaking about a specific topic or video that you want to link to.
  • Note – The note annotations is very similar to the Speech Bubble except it doesn’t have the line and bubble shape. It is great as well for linking to videos and topics.
  • Title – This annotation is one that allows you to draw a box around large text within your video to link to a video.
  • Spotlight – This is a great annotation to use around videos or pictures. I use this at the end of my videos to link to similar videos. If you want to see an example of this go watch this video and fast forward to the last 45 seconds.
  • Label – The label annotation is similar to the Spotlight annotations except it has text and a box border to place around objects and text within your video.

As far as which one is the best to use it all depends on the content you create as well as the way you are going to use them. I prefer the spotlight and label annotations for my videos because you can actually have some other videos/images at the end of your video that link directly to them and it is visual. I think the visual aspect of those annotations make a big difference in CTR (Click Through Rate).

The purpose of putting annotations on your videos is to have you viewer watching your content longer. The thought is if they have direct and convenient links to your other content they will be more likely to stay on your channel page and then in the long run possible subscribe to your channel.

Tips and Tricks When Using Annotations

  • Do NOT Clutter your video with to many annotations. There is nothing more annoying than trying to watch a video with annotations littered all across the screen to the point you can’t even see what the video is about. Use them in moderation.
  • DO NOT link to outside links and affiliate links. This is frowned upon within the YouTube space. You cannot link to another website UNLESS it is your connected personal site that you have linked to your YouTube channel.
  • Make sure you spell things correctly. It looks extremely bad when you are trying to gain more viewers and you have misspelled something on your annotation.
  • EXPERIMENT – Growing a youtube channel is a process and sometimes it boils down to trial and error. Try different types of annotations and see which one works best for your content!

Here is a video tutorial talking about YouTube Annotations and How To Use Them:

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