What Are Annotations On YouTube?

Make your videos interactive using YouTube annotations and cards.

Have you ever seen a YT video with graphical, clickable links? If you have, those are annotations and cards. While annotations were used only for videos on the YT website, on the other hand, cards were introduced for the mobile versions of YouTube videos. Before, YouTubers could only add annotations to their videos. But with the newer updates, cards were added to the YT creator studio, where creators can edit their videos. So let’s see in detail what annotations are on YouTube and the difference between YT cards and annotations.

What Is The Difference Between Annotations and Cards On YouTube?

Before we begin with what are annotations on YouTube and adding cards and annotations to YouTube videos, let’s learn the key differences between the two interactive prompts. While both have pros and cons, knowing the differences will make you decide if annotation or cards is better.

YouTube annotations vs cards


By providing a call-to-action, annotations in YouTube videos are a fantastic method to ‘have a dialogue with the audience. An annotation is a text or a picture specially created to ask the viewer to visit the channel, a particular website, or other videos. In addition, annotations function as a CTA since they are clickable. There are 6 types of annotations. Each helps you get a different interactive box for the video, which is explained below.

1. Speech bubbles: Resemble a comic strip’s conversation box. For example, the speech bubble can be moved in any direction where the speaker is speaking. Highlighting the crucial points from the video.

2. Titles: These are lengthy passages of text that appear either at the start of your video or between its several sections. Although the titles on YouTube are not very attractive, they are a good option if you cannot access video editing tools.

3. Spotlights: These have a light border and are transparent. Only when a viewer hovers over the spotlight does your text display. Spotlights are excellent for creating connections out of specific parts of your video.

4. Labels:  Labels are transparent, and users do not need to hover over them for the link to be visible. The link will be directly available on the label. They are very similar to Spotlight annotation.

5. Notes: These come in a small range of colors and may be made to occupy no more than 30% of the player screen. Sometimes you need an extensive annotation to make a point clearly, but doing so too frequently, especially at the start of your movies, can bother viewers. If you need to include a signed note annotation, do it later in the video when the audience is engaged and less inclined to leave.

6. Pauses: These are no longer accessible for you to add to your video, but any Pause annotations you made before their removal still function. A YouTube annotation’s appearance pauses your movie for a predetermined time.


The main difference is that while a card can be used on desktop and mobile platforms, an annotation cannot be used on a mobile device. However, since 50% of YouTube users use mobile platforms, YouTube has now made it simple to link mobile to your website, helping you generate leads and sales.

Cards do not appear, in contrast to annotations. Instead, when the user hovers over them, they appear as a list in the top-right corner of the video, acting as a teaser. On the desktop, it offers a slide-in/slide-out interface that is engaging and attractive.

On mobile, cards that are both discreet and accessible are shown below the video. However, given their versatility, annotations may also be creatively employed if they are put in the appropriate spot at the right time. Here is how to add annotations as picture thumbnails to link viewers to other videos.

How To Add Annotation To YouTube Video?

Now that you know what are annotations on YouTube, let’s learn how to add them to the video. Since YouTube restored annotations, it has been a delight for the YouTubers. You need a video uploaded on your channel to add an annotation to a YouTube video. You must follow the steps below:

add youtrube annotation

  • First, go to your Youtube channel and open YouTube studio.
  • Then, go on to the video tab and click on Edit.
  • Select the video you want to add annotations on.
  • Next, click on the End screen and annotation tab.
  • Now, click on Add element and select the annotation you want to add.
  • Next, adjust the position of the annotation and edit the part of the video on which you wish to do the annotation.
  • Finally, click Apply changes.

choose the elelment YouTube annotation you want

To remove the YouTube annotation, you can go to the annotation you want and tap on the ‘X remove’ icon on the side of the annotation.

How To Add Cards On YouTube Videos?

The same rules as annotations apply to cards. You need a video already uploaded on your channel, and further, you can follow the steps below. Annotations are similar to YouTube cards, but they are more interactive. They permit the video’s creator to include pictures and other links. The cards are activated by clicking on a little box that appears.

add card to youtube video

  • On YouTube studio, go to the video tab and choose the video to which you want to add cards.
  • Click on Edit and click on the Cards tab.
  • Now, click add card, and select the card you want to add from the drop-down.
  • Next, click on Create.
  • Once you have completed the necessary information, select Create Card.
  • Choose the timeframe so that the playhead appears and the card slides.
  • Finally, click on Apply changes.

click on the cards tab youtube studio

The Final Verdict: YouTube Annotations Or Cards?

YouTube Annotations and cards both have advantages and disadvantages. Cards have the advantage over annotations on smartphones, but annotations provide greater versatility on desktops than cards.

Because annotations can be scaled and positioned anywhere in the video, they let you explore different creative possibilities. On the other hand, cards are restricted to five per video and cannot be changed in size or placement (they can only be put in the right-hand corner).

YouTube annotations are simpler to use and occasionally have been shown to promote improved click-through rates, despite their somewhat awkward look. Additionally, putting them on outros provides a fantastic method to keep people interested.

Cards might be helpful when you need to include several elements in your video. They can also be of various forms, such as related websites, merchandising, fundraising, and fan funding, in addition to YouTube videos and playlist cards.

We would suggest going for YouTube cards as they have the plus of working on desktops and mobile devices. So, to sum up, what are annotations on YouTube, and how to add annotations to your YouTube videos? Along with that, we have also included additional information about YouTube cards and how they work.

Cards are an extended version of annotations as they work on mobile and desktop devices. So go ahead and prompt your videos with all the interactive CTAs. Also, remember that whatever videos you upload on your channel, do not add more than two YouTube annotations or cards to your video.