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    Google is shaking things up again with the introduction of YouTube cards — a roll-out plan that will eventually replace annotations.

    They’re like mini-ads, which at first glance appear to provide a better user experience by giving the viewer a choice to view more information or not. Where as it is now, annotations pop up during the video wherever the publisher decides. They’re also compatible with mobile devices as where the current annotation system is not.

    On the downside, cards could be a potential problem for businesses relying on forced call-to-actions or pop-up style affiliate links, but I think most companies will enjoy the friendly design and clarity of information presented on the cards. It allows publishers to add video, images, links, titles, and custom call-to-action text.

    How YouTube Cards Work

    • A teaser is shown in the top right at the beginning of a video for few seconds, then hides behind the “i” with a circle. The card is available during the rest of the video by clicking on the “i” icon when you hover over it.
    • If you don’t hover on the video, the “i” icon doesn’t show.
    • On mobile, the card appears below the video when tapping on the teaser or cards icon.
    • The publisher can add multiple cards to a video. If you have multiple cards, you can scroll through them while the video plays.
    • There can be up to five cards in a video, but the YouTube account needs to be in good standing.
    • If you have a featured Video or Playlist in your video, they will be hidden when cards are used.
    • Videos displaying cards will not show a Call-to-Action overlay.

    Types of YouTube Cards

    There are six types of cards so far.

    1. Merchandise
    2. Fundraising
    3. Video
    4. Playlist
    5. Associated Website
    6. Fan Funding

    Merchandise:

    This card can promote a creator’s licensed merchandise directly from the video, but needs to accept the Terms & Conditions, as well as number of approved destination URLs and the top-level URL will display. View the approved URL list here.

    Fundraising:

    The fundraising card can link directly to a project on Google’s whitelisted fundraising sites which can be viewed here.

    Video or playlist card:

    Here you can link to another public YouTube video or playlist. This includes the ability to link to a specific time in the video.

    Associated Website card:

    Links directly to an associated website, or business page. An Associated website needs to be added to your account. Learn how to add an associate website here.

    Channel card:

    The Channel card allows the publisher to link to a channel you’d like to call out to viewers. For example, you can use this type of card to thank the channel for their contribution to your video or for a general recommendation.

    Fan Funding card:

    Let’s fans show appreciation for videos by making monetary contribution directly on the video page. To set this up you’ll need to enable “Fan Funding” for your channel. Learn how here.

    Currently, there are a number of available metrics within YouTube Analytics that can track the success of cards. These include:

    • Card teaser impressions: The number of times card teasers are shown. Teasers can have multiple impressions per view.
    • Card teaser clicks: The number of clicks on a card teaser. Card icon clicks get attributed to the last teaser shown.
    • Card teaser CTR: The click-through-rate of card teasers, which is the ratio of teaser clicks to teaser impressions.
    • Card impressions: The number of times a card was shown. A card impression is logged for each card on a video when the card panel is opened
    • Card clicks: The number of clicks on a specific card
    • Card CTR: The click-through-rate of cards, which is the ratio of cards clicks to card impressions.

    tl;dr

    Watch this interactive video overview, it says it all.

    Have you implemented YouTube cards into your digital marketing strategy? Leave us a comment below we’d love to hear your opinion on the new system.