How to Use YouTube Annotations

YouTube developers introduced a feature that makes it easier for video creators to promote their content and gain more followers. This feature is the YouTube annotations. Most of you might have come across this feature when watching a video on YouTube but never knew how it worked.

So, what is a YouTube annotation? If you are a keen observer, you might have noticed that some videos on YouTube contain an executable link that keeps appearing on the upper part of your video screen. That link is what we refer to as a YouTube annotation. It is beneficial for content creators as it allows them to promote their content and increase their YouTube followers. We will discuss in detail what YouTube annotations are and why you should use them in your videos if you are a content creator.

Why Add Annotations to Your Videos?

As a YouTube content creator, video annotations allow you to add essential links and texts to your videos. Viewers will get a suggestion while watching one of your videos that redirects them to your channel, website, or videos. 

You can also use this feature to call for action by telling your viewers to like, comment, and subscribe to your channel for more exciting videos.  

For long videos, annotations can guide your viewers to a different part of your videos, so they can skip to the exciting part without watching the introduction part. 

Types of Video Annotations

There are various types of annotations to choose from. Some of them are quite similar except for slight variations. Go through the list of annotations below before deciding which will work best for you.  

Speech Bubble Annotation

These are annotations that pop up in the form of a bubble. They appear on the viewer’s screen for a set period and often contain text to communicate with viewers. You can easily edit the annotation’s color, text, and size to make it more appealing and thus grab viewers’ attention much more easily.  

Note Annotation

Note annotations are very similar to speech bubbles. Just like speech bubbles, you can adjust its color, size, positioning, and duration before adding it to one of your videos. The only downside to using note annotations is that, unlike speech bubbles, they don’t have the option to include a bubble shape. 

Title Annotation

In contrast to other annotations that we have looked at in this article, title annotations cannot be linked. Despite this obvious disadvantage, these annotations work as useful branding tools. The best way to use them is to describe the contents of a particular video. However, the options when creating such annotations are quite limited. 

Spotlight Annotation

Spotlight annotation is one of the annotations for videos and pictures. They are almost entirely transparent and appear on parts of a video when the user places their cursor on them. This can be useful when you are advertising or reviewing various items such as cars, shoes, or clothes. All the user has to do is move the cursor to the listed items, and the price will appear. 

Label Annotation

Label and spotlight annotations share a lot of similarities, except for one part. In label annotations, the viewer will see text inside the same video frame, but in spotlight annotation, the text usually appears on the outside of it. Label annotations can also be linked to playlists, videos, and channels to make videos more captivating.  

Pause Annotation

The pause annotation feature was made to enable video creators to pause their videos for a set period. When combined with YouTube cards or other video annotations, pause annotation can become even more useful. For example, you can use pause annotation with note annotation to give viewers sufficient time to read through the text in the note annotation. However, we don’t recommend pausing your videos for a long duration. Viewers could easily get bored or impatient due to the long wait and look for content elsewhere.

YouTube Cards

YouTube cards are small cards that serve the same purpose as YouTube annotations. When a viewer clicks on a YouTube card when streaming content, a thumbnail containing promotional links will be displayed.

Interactive cards are activated when you press the ‘i’ key on the video. This is different from YouTube annotations that appear at specified times when viewers are streaming. The main advantage YouTube cards have over annotations is that they are smaller in size, thus visible even to viewers using their mobile devices to watch YouTube videos.

How to Add YouTube Annotations

To use the YouTube annotations feature on one or several videos on YouTube, follow these steps:

  • Once you are logged in to your YouTube account, start by clicking on the video manager tab
  • Through the search bar, locate the video you want to add annotations to
  • Click on the arrow that appears on the ‘edit’ tab below the video section (represented as a screenshot) and select annotations when the drop-down menu appears.
  • A pull-down menu will appear containing the various types of annotations available. Choose the one you’d like to add to your video.
  • Configure your annotations by adding text, selecting colors, and adjusting the opaqueness level. If you would like to add a link to the annotation, click the checkbox next to ‘link’ and select the page you want it linked to.
  • Using your mouse, reposition the annotation and resize it if necessary by clicking and dragging the box corners. You can also use your mouse to set where you’d want the annotation to begin and stop.
  • When you are done formatting and making other necessary adjustments, click on publish.

How to Remove Annotations on YouTube?

We understand that you may want to disable or completely remove YouTube annotations from your videos in the future. When this is the case, you can permanently disable this feature by following the steps below: 

  • First, go to your account setting and elect the playback option.
  • Look for the checkbox next to ‘annotations’ and uncheck it to remove the feature from your videos.


Annotations allow viewers to enjoy interactive content. Content creators also benefit from the feature since they can advertise their content and YouTube channels and amass more YouTube followers. Use any of the listed annotations to make your videos more interesting and fun to watch.

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