YouTube SEO & Channel Optimization Best Practices - Cards & Endscreens (Part 3)

laptop on wood desk next to monitor
by Emilie DeLong
Senior Creative Producer, Odyssey Studios

A guide to optimizing your YouTube channel and uploading content with SEO best practices in mind.

This is a continuation of "YouTube SEO & Channel Optimization Best Practices - Optimizing Content (Part 2)."

Using YouTube’s Cards and End Screen Functionality

While not a requirement, using the cards and end screens functionality in YouTube can help drive viewer behavior, whether your goal is to increase subscribers or point viewers towards certain content (or both!), these tools can help.

The cards feature has many ways in which it can be applied to drive user behavior. A few examples:

  • Link to off-platform content (like website landing pages, social channels, etc.)
  • Encourage viewer interaction by providing a poll.
  • Play a teaser video to direct viewership to other content on your channel or another channel altogether.

The card will appear in the top-right corner and provide a preview of the card’s message to your viewers. If the viewer clicks, the card associated with the video appears alongside the video you’re already playing. So, users aren’t being directed away from viewing your video, instead the content is supplementing what they’re watching. 

brown cat in red collar

In the example above, the creator has created a card with a poll to engage his viewers on the kind of content they want to see more of.

You control when the card displays, it’s best to time this so that the card pops-up when a scripted call-to-action appears within your video (for instance, your video names a specific hotel, a card then displays for that hotel’s landing page). Cards can also be an effective way to revamp older content by pointing viewers to more recent, relevant videos on your channel.

Pro Tip: Take a look at the average watch time of your video and place cards within that time frame to encourage further engagement and subscribers.

The end screen feature allows you to promote up to four elements within the last 5-20 seconds of your video.  You can use end screens to:

  • Promote other videos, playlists, or channels on YouTube.
  • Direct viewers to subscribe to your channel.
  • Cross-promote your website and other 3rd party content (like your social channels).

When using an end screen it’s best to plan for this within your final video by leaving a bit of space at the end for the end card to “sit.” This can also coincide with a specific call-to-action at the end of your video, either verbal or visual. Please also note that you can’t use an end screen and a card at the same time.

Pro Tip: Users who watch an entire video are invested. Utilize end screen elements that foster growth, further content discovery and highlight other channels.

YouTube examples on black screen

In the above example, the creator has chosen to use the end screen function to display two relevant videos from his channel to keep viewers watching his content in addition to a call-to-action to subscribe to his channel.

As with any optimizations to your YouTube content, don’t feel as if you have to apply this across all of your content at once. Try these tools out on a few videos and see what happens!  Sometimes small adjustments can produce huge results, assess your individual goals for your channel and your content to see if these tools are the right fit to help you achieve.

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