YouTube Beta App Adds Annotations to Video

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YouTube has announced a new way to spice up your videos, by adding annotations to videos you upload. You can add background information about the video - useful or not - even clickable links to other videos, channels or YouTube search results. On the surface, it might not seem like a big deal, but there are big possibilities.

Linking to other videos would let you show a series without the user needing to search for it, or look to the sidebar for the next installment. Have you ever read any of the "Choose Your Own Adventure" books? Think about offering users the option to choose their own progression through a video series. Entering links to channels will open up any collection of videos you'd like to users that may not otherwise see your other offerings. Linking to search results gives a value-added service to your user base. You control the annotations, where they appear and when they show up and when they disappear. In the end, we're talking about interactive video and that's pretty exciting.

Now the downsides. You can't use the annotation in embedded videos, only in YouTube hosted videos. But I suppose if you link to the video on YouTube from your website, that would work. You also cannot embed links in videos outside of YouTube hosted content. But you can enter your website URL. It won't be clickable, but it will serve as a reminder for people to visit the website that is responsible for the content of the video. And that means more traffic.

Surely, there are hundreds of other good ideas to take advantage of this service ... please share them with some comments!

Check out an example of YouTube annotations.

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