YouTube is killing annotations in favor of End Screens and Cards. There are several reasons for making this change, but the main one seems to be that everyone hates annotations. Or, as YouTube rather more diplomatically put it, “viewers generally don’t love annotations”.
Annotations, for those not familiar, are those boxes that pop up randomly during a video. Content creators use annotations in a variety of different ways, such as correcting misinformation, sending viewers to other videos, and making unfunny in-jokes. But YouTube is now killing annotations once and for all.
Annotations Are Obsolete
Since annotations first became a thing in 2008, the online video business has changed somewhat. Crucially, the world has gone mobile, with most people watching YouTube videos on their smartphones. And YouTube annotations have never worked on mobile devices.
In the meantime YouTube launched End Screens and Cards, two products that work on desktop and mobile, and which between them offer pretty much the same functionality as annotations. And YouTube clearly feels that the combination of End Screens and Cards renders annotations obsolete.
On the YouTube Creator Blog, YouTube Product Manager Muli Salem explains, “As adoption of End Screens and Cards has grown, the use of annotations has decreased by over 70 percent”. What’s more, viewers “close 12 annotations before they click on one of them”. In fact, most viewers “turn off annotations altogether”.
As a result, YouTube is discontinuing the Annotations Editor on May 2nd, 2017, after which content creators will only be able to delete existing annotations. It should be noted, however, that existing annotations will remain visible to desktop users, at least until YouTube decides otherwise.
Splitting Opinion Amongst Creators
YouTube’s decision to kill annotations seems to be splitting opinion amongst content creators. However, as a viewer I’m pleased to see them disappearing for good. They rarely added value to any videos I watched, and ended up just annoying me instead. So, sorry, YouTubers, but this viewer is 100% behind YouTube on this particular occasion.
As a viewer, how do you feel about YouTube annotations? Did you ever click on them or just close them instead? As a creator, how do you feel about YouTube annotations? Are you happy switching to End Screens and Cards instead? Please let us know in the comments below!
Image Credit: Anthony Ryan via Flickr