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YouTube’s annoying annotations will soon be a thing of the past

YouTube has announced that come January 15, it will delete all the existing annotations and will also stop showing existing annotations to viewers.

In a bid to provide an uncluttered video watching experience to its customers, Youtube has decided to remove all annotations from the content on the platform. Updating its “Discontinued annotations editor” announcement, the video-hosting platform has announced, “We will stop showing existing annotations to viewers starting January 15, 2019. All existing annotations will be removed.” For those who don’t know, YouTube annotations are those huge, annoying translucent text boxes which appear on videos that you immediately remove by clicking the ‘x’ on the edge of the box.

The move seems to be correct because YouTube says that more than 70 percent of the watch time comes from mobile devices and these annotations are exclusive to the desktop version of the platform. So there is very less usage of these annotations. YouTube says that the use of annotations has decreased by over 70 percent. As an alternative to this, the company had introduced products like cards and end screens, which are mobile-friendly tools that let creators poll their audience, link to merchandise, recommend videos, and more. Soon after these products started to gain traction, YouTube discontinued annotations editor in May 2017.

Creators can add cards to add interactivity to their videos. Cards can point viewers to a specific URL (from a list of eligible sites) and show customised images, titles, and calls to action, depending on the card type. The other option is End screens, which are card-like links that can be added to the last 5 to 20 seconds of a video. Creators can use them to promote other videos, encourage viewers to subscribe, among others. End screens and cards work on mobile and desktop, and are more engaging. YouTube claims that end screens and cards generate seven times more clicks across YouTube.

“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,” the company had found. Also, YouTube says that End screens are easier to create as the process is claimed to be up to 10 times quicker, and easier. Creators can import End screens from other videos or use dynamic overlays to save time — something they couldn’t do with annotations.

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