How To Use YouTube End Screens With Your Videos

How To Use YouTube End Screens With Your Videos

Videos are an effective way to tell your brand’s story or to demonstrate a product. Add video to an email, and see how click-through rates increase! When they add genuine value, videos increase the amount of time website visitors stay on a page and are associated with higher conversion rates.

If you are you using videos as part of your marketing strategy, you may also be hosting them on a YouTube channel. At least you should be. YouTube has over one billion users! That is more than 30% of the entire internet audience!* If you have not launched your video marketing strategy because you are camera shy, then consult my recent post on, “How to Create Video Content Without Being on Camera”, which demonstrates several ways to help you get your brand on YouTube.

One of the challenges video marketers face is how to deliver the viewer to the conversion with the least number of clicks. Meaning, if someone is watching a video on YouTube, how do you make it easy for the viewer to click over to a website or campaign-landing page to make a sale? YouTube offers several optional features to make videos clickable. These include end screens, annotations, cards, and channel branding watermarks. Each feature is available to all channels.

If you are trying to build your viewership on YouTube, end screens are a feature that is easy to add to any video to help you increase your number of subscribers and watch channel time. YouTube end screens can help increase subscriptions on your YouTube channel, send viewers to your website, sell online, or even crowdfund.

YouTube end screens are both prominent and clickable.[Figure 1] An end screen shows as two overlay images that appear at the end of a video. Content creators may choose to use up to four end screen elements to show to viewers such as subscribe to the channel, suggest the next video or playlist to watch, promote another channel, or link to an approved website (yours or an ecommerce site like iTunes.)

Figure 1 Photo credit:

I recommend choosing the “subscribe” element to encourage users to subscribe to your channel. When a viewer subscribes to your channel, as opposed to just watching videos and leaving, they receive an email notification from YouTube every time the channel has a new video uploaded. The email notification encourages the reader to watch the new video, which in turn, increases your watch time.

Encourage viewers to remain on your channel by suggesting the next video to watch with an end screen. Choose the “video or playlist” end screen to direct viewers to watch another one of your videos or playlists. Don’t let your viewers stray to another channel’s content; suggest what they should watch next on your channel!

Choose to “link to an approved website” to get more potential customers to your website or ecommerce platform. I use this option to send viewers to my own website. If you are selling online with a major ecommerce platform like iTunes, Google Play, or Shopify, then add a link to your store with an end card. This option is also useful for crowdfunding campaigns.

The biggest downside to end screens is that they only appear during the last 20 seconds of any video! That means if your watch time is short and viewers are not staying until the end, then they may never see your end screen. Another negative is that end screens also suppress the channel’s branding while they are showing. That is easily corrected by choosing the “subscribe” option as one of your end screen elements. With three templates available for easy setup, end screens look very professional! Just choose which elements you want to use.

Besides end screens, YouTube offers two other features that are also clickable – annotations and cards. Video creators can opt to use either one to direct viewers to watch another video, to promote a channel, or to link to an approved website.

As with everything, there are advantages and disadvantages. I always recommend using YouTube cards with your videos. Cards can be used in conjunction with end screens, annotations, and channel branding. They appear as a small notification in the upper right corner of a video, as the letter “i.” Like end screens, cards show on both desktop and mobile devices. Unlike end screens, cards are not especially prominent.

The advantages of annotations is that they can be designed to be prominent, they can occur at any time in a video, and they can prompt users to take action. However, annotations only work for desktop viewers, and with over half of YouTube views occurring on mobile devices, end screens may be the better choice!

End screens and cards both work on desktop and mobile devices. They can be used separately or together. However, content creators cannot use end screens and annotations together, as YouTube does not allow both to exist on the same video.

Review your channel analytics to see what devices your viewership uses most. Look at your channel analytics, specifically at watch time reports and devices, to determine what is best for them and what is going to work for you. If you see that your users are not sticking around to the ends of your videos, then an end screen may not be the best choice for you.