YouTube cards replace annotations, a feature that allowed video marketers to insert overlays with calls-to-action on their videos. For all its benefits, annotations had one serious disadvantage: They didn't work on mobile devices. In spring of 2015, YouTube fixed that problem by introducing "cards," a new feature that serves the same purpose while using a different approach.
Like annotations, YouTube cards encourage users to interact with videos, but they function slightly differently. Annotations offered messages contained in speech bubbles and pop-ups that often annoyed viewers, so YouTube created a less intrusive format. With cards, a small letter "i" appears in the upper right of the video that opens a small window of information when the user clicks on it. The other major difference is that cards are compatible with both mobile and desktop devices.
There are a number of different types of cards, and they can help to increase conversions.
Video creators are able to use up to five cards throughout a video, so you can mix and match different cards depending on the length of the video and its purpose. For each card, store owners add a customized image, title and call-to-action text. Store owners should pay careful attention to these elements to make them visually engaging and encourage viewers to click through. The call-to-action text should tell viewers what you expect them to do once they click through - for instance, registering for a newsletter or purchasing a product. To increase the effectiveness of videos, store owners can use cards strategically throughout a video. You may want to consider placing a card at a point where viewers tend to drop off.
YouTube cards benefit publishers while minimizing the obtrusiveness of overlaying calls-to-action in videos. Cards also use minimalist layouts that are clean and easy for mobile users to interact with. Video presents a tremendous opportunity for ecommerce merchants, and cards can help you make your marketing go even further, turning viewers into subscribers and even customers.