YouTube end screens are the latest and greatest way to capture your audience’s attention and keep them coming back for more of your amazing content. No matter what your goal, use an end screen to solidify your connection to your audience: use them to remind viewers to subscribe, direct them to a fundraising site, and more.
What are YouTube end screens?
A YouTube end screen is a clickable box that appears at the end a YouTube video, leading the viewer to whatever the next step should be. When a user hovers over an end screen on the desktop or taps on them on their mobile device, the thumbnail expands to show more information. “Watch this next video,” “subscribe to my channel,” “check out my best friend’s channel,” and “RSVP to my…” are all possible and clickable with an end screen. YouTube added end screens at the end of last year to make it easier for viewers to take action within five to twenty seconds after a video ends.
What can end screens be used for?
YouTube end screens are powerful marketing tools. The biggest benefit? You’re reaching a viewer right when they’ve finished watching your video and are probably already hooked. A YouTube end screen is the next step in connecting with that viewer. You can use the end screen to point viewers to other videos, playlists, or channels on YouTube. An end screen is also a great moment to call for subscriptions to your channel. YouTube end screens can include up to four elements, and in addition to promoting your videos, they can be used to promote non-YouTube content like websites, merchandise, or crowdfunding campaigns. Depending on your goals, an end screen is the perfect point for a call to action.
Cards & annotations vs. end screens
You may be familiar with YouTube cards and annotations, which are other ways of inserting a call to action into your video content. With end screens, lots of changes are coming to the ways you should utilize these various tools — and here’s what you need to know.
A YouTube card is the information box that appears in the right hand corner of a video. Cards are viewable on mobile and desktop, and are great branding tools.
YouTube recommends always using a card within your videos. There are four types of cards for you to choose from: video, playlist, channel, and link. Each of these options will show up in the dropdown when you choose to add a card to your video.
YouTube annotations were a desktop-only tool that allowed you to add clickable links to your videos and to manually create end screens. Annotations have now been phased out: as of May 2nd, 2017, creators are no longer able to add or edit Annotations to their videos, but can delete old ones. Now YouTube creators can add links to external URLs to their videos exclusively via cards and end screens. This is a good thing: end screens and cards generate seven times more clicks across YouTube than annotations. In fact, viewers close an average of 12 annotations before they click on one of them.
Annotations and end screens can’t exist together — you must choose one or the other. As more and more users tend to watch and share videos on mobile, consider replacing your annotations with end screens to keep your video content relevant. And, as annotations phase out completely, it will be more and more important to make sure people are watching your videos until the very end to view your powerful end screen.
How to Set Up End Screens for Your Videos
Great news: end screens are so much faster and easier to create than annotations. You can now import end screens from other videos, or use dynamic overlays to save yourself even more time. Here are some easy steps for setting up end screens:
- 1. Sign in to your YouTube account. In the top right, click your account icon > Creator Studio.
- 2. Upload your video and click through to the “Video elements” tab.
- 3. Choose “Add an end screen”
- 4. Or, click into an existing video and hit “End screen” on the right-hand side.
- 5. Choose the timestamp in your video where you want the element to appear
- 6. Click “+ ELEMENT” and choose between video, playlist, subscribe, channel, and link. You can add multiple to the same video.
- 7. Add in your link, or choose your desired video, playlist, or channel. (Or choose from “Best for viewer” or “Most recent upload”)
8. Adjust the placement and size of each element on the grid. Adjust the time for the element to show in the timeline.
- 9. Click Save! You can preview the element as you edit to make sure it’s perfectly timed and positioned. You can go back and edit the end screen and its elements at any time to change things up.
End Screen Tips and Best Practices
What makes an effective end screen? These last impressions are meant to create a powerful end-of-video experience for your viewer. To make the most of your end screen, encourage viewers to click using calls to action that are relevant to the video content. Test different variations of your end screen and review the performance of each. You can check the performance of your end screens in YouTube Analytics. Go to your Audience Retention Report or use the End Screens Report in your Creator Studio page.
Play around with your end screen by featuring elements that you show in the video — images, graphics, branding, etc. If you use a custom image, YouTube recommends keeping it at least 300×300 pixels. Leave enough space at the end of your video for the end screen to show — remember that the end screen can last up to 20 seconds! Lastly, use your end screen in combination with cards to create a unified experience across your content.
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