YouTube Is Killing Its Annotations Editor May 2 in Favor of Cards, End Screens

Unlike Annotations, End Screens and Cards work on mobile and desktop

Improvements to and increased use of Cards and End Screens led to the demise of YouTube’s Annotations Editor.

Product manager Muli Salem announced in a blog post that the Google-owned video site will discontinue Annotations Editor as of May 2.

As of that date, YouTube video creators will no longer be able to add new annotations or edit existing ones—they can only be deleted. Existing annotations will continue to be displayed via desktop PCs.

Salem wrote:

Based on your feedback, we’ve made Cards and End Screens even better over time. You told us you wanted Cards to link to videos within a playlist, so we made it happen. You asked for the ability to import End Screens from other videos and use smart elements, so we incorporated it. We’ll continue to listen to your inputs, as always.

  • End Screens and Cards work on mobile: Annotations Editor launched in 2008, before the world went mobile. With 60 percent of YouTube’s watch time now on mobile, why go through the work of creating annotations that won’t even reach the majority of your audience? End Screens and Cards work on mobile and desktop, giving you more bang for your buck.
  • End Screens and Cards are more engaging for your viewers: End Screens and Cards generate seven times more clicks across YouTube than annotations. In fact, viewers generally don’t love annotations, and on average, they close 12 annotations before they click on one of them. And more and more viewers turn off annotations altogether.
  • End Screens are easier to create: You told us that adding annotations at the end of your videos is hard. With End Screens, that process is now much quicker and easier—in fact, up to 10 times quicker. You can now import End Screens from other videos or use dynamic overlays to save yourself even more time. David Cohen is editor of Adweek's Social Pro Daily.