YouTube Cards: A Guide for Small Businesses

YouTube Cards: A Guide for Small Businesses

YouTube has become one of the biggest social media platforms, thanks to the popularity of videos over text and image-based content. Apart from YouTubers, the people who make a living by sharing their content through the platform, small businesses can also now use YouTube to drive traffic to their websites for substantial growth. The best way to do this is to use YouTube’s ‘Cards’ feature.

If you own a small business and have just started with your business channel on YouTube, read on to know what YouTube cards are, how they work, and how you can make the most out of them.

What are YouTube Cards?

YouTube cards, previously known as annotations, are elements that content creators on YouTube can add to their videos. As these cards are interactive, content creators typically use them for a variety of purposes. If used creatively, they can work really well and can boost not just the popularity of your business’ YouTube channel, but also propel your business to greater heights.

How are YouTube cards added to videos?

YouTube cards work like notifications that can be placed inside a video, popping up in front of viewers in the form of small rectangular boxes. Cards can be used to redirect viewers to other YouTube videos on your channel, gain real YouTube subscribers, other channels, or other websites.

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how you can add cards to your YouTube videos:

  • Go to the top right-hand corner of your channel page and click the channel icon.
  • Click the ‘Creator Studio’ option.
  • Once the ‘Creator Studio’ page appears, click on ‘Video Manager’ on the left-hand side of the page.
  • Choose the video you want to add cards to and click on the arrow next to the ‘Edit’ option below the title of the video.
  • Choose ‘Cards,’ after which you will see an ‘Add card’ option.
  • Click on the ‘Add card’ option and select the type of card that you want to add. We will discuss the types of cards you can use in a while.
  • Once you have customized the card according to your preferences, you will be able to place the card at any point in time within the video.

Types of YouTube cards

  • Video or Playlist: By using this card, you can notify viewers about an older video or another video that may be relevant to the video to which you add the card. You can also notify viewers about a playlist through the use of this card.
  • Channel: By using this card, you can notify viewers about other channels. The ‘Channel’ card is commonly used by content creators who collaborate with other content creators to create videos. For example, a popular YouTuber may collaborate with a less known YouTuber to make a video. The former can then inform viewers about the latter’s YouTube channel using this card. The ‘Channel’ card also comes in handy if you have more than one YouTube channel.
  • Donation: If you support a social cause and want to raise money for it, you can use this card to ask for donations from viewers.
  • Poll: The ‘Poll’ card can be used to create viewer polls to know more about their opinions. For example, you could ask your viewers a simple question such as ‘Should I do more product demonstration videos?’ If ‘Yes’ gets the majority votes, it gives you a clear indicator as to what your audience wants.
  • Link: The ‘Link’ card allows content creators to add links to their social media pages or external links. For small businesses, this card is vital, as viewers can be encouraged to visit business websites by placing it in different videos.

The best ways to use YouTube cards

Content creators can add a maximum of five cards per video.

The best ways to use YouTube cards

Now that you know what cards are, how you can add them, and what types of cards you can place in your videos, it’s time to look at how to use the cards effectively.

  • Make older videos relevant again: If you want your YouTube channel to be popular, you have to keep adding new videos. YouTubers are generally advised to add at least one video every week. Failing to do this may lead to YouTube subscribers unsubscribing from your channel, leading to long-term losses for not just your YouTube channel but also for your business.

    However, adding new videos has its own set of challenges that content creators have to deal with. One of the biggest challenges is to keep older videos relevant. But with YouTube cards, you can encourage viewers to check out older videos. You can also do the exact opposite to increase views on your newer videos. Viewers watching older videos can be encouraged to watch newer videos.

  • Keep users hooked to your channel: YouTube offers content creators certain tools and reports that they can use to analyze viewers’ behaviors as they watch videos. The ‘Audience Retention report’ is one such report that you can use for every video to understand the viewing trends and see when most users stopped watching a particular video.

    The report is presented to content creators in the form of a graph, with ‘valleys’ indicating the exit of most viewers during a certain point of the video. While nothing more can be done to change the video that has already been uploaded, you can spice things up by adding cards to these ‘valley’ points within the video. While it is not a surefire strategy of holding on to viewers, if your content is engaging and entertaining enough, there’s a high chance that viewers will stay on your channel.

  • Create custom messages: Cards can be modified by adding custom messages to them. They can often drive home the point of why you added a certain card in the first place.

    For example, if you add a ‘Video or Playlist’ card to one of your videos, you could leave a custom message such as ‘Watch this video for more’. However, this custom message is ideal only in situations where the video card includes the link to a video that is in some way related to the video that viewers are watching.

  • Use gestures and other cues: Gestures and verbal cues can be used creatively within a video to direct the attention of viewers towards cards that appear in a video. If the subject of a video is human, gestures can work wonders.

    For example, you could time a card to appear just when the subject points to a certain area of the screen. Many content creators use gestures to encourage their viewers to take polls, watch other videos, or visit one of their social media pages.

    However, for an infographic video, you could leave space for a section where the narrator says, ‘For more videos, click on the cards that appear on your screen.’ You can place cards precisely at this point to promote your channel and your business website.

  • Promote a Product that You Sell: The ultimate goal of a YouTube channel for a small business will be to increase sales. That’s why all videos should be closely related to the business, with natural mentions of products that the business sells.

    To encourage viewers to visit your website and view a certain product, you can add a ‘Link’ card when there is a mention of a certain product that you sell. Apart from adding the ‘Link’ card on YouTube, you should also ensure that the product pages on your website are updated and provide all relevant information about it to your target audience.

  • Promote Videos with the Highest SEO potential: Search Engine Optimization (SEO) plays a big role in ranking your YouTube videos as well. But for your videos to rank well, you can’t just rely on targeting keywords in the title and description of a video. You need more YouTube views for Google to start ranking your videos high up.

    Identify the videos that have been optimized for SEO and promote them through cards. As more and more viewers engage with these videos, their rankings are bound to skyrocket.

How to analyze the effectiveness of cards?

YouTube lets content creators analyze their card performance as well. Thanks to detailed reports, you can see how many viewers interact with your cards, the card types interacted with the most, the videos with the highest performing cards, and more. With the help of this information, you can add cards more creatively and effectively in the future.

Ultimately, it has to be said that cards can be incredibly effective in establishing a small business’s online presence. However, as a small business owner, you need to ensure that your videos are well-made as well. No matter how many cards you use in your videos, they will not work if your videos are not engaging enough.

If you have just started with your YouTube channel, you should make a variety of videos and analyze viewer engagement after some time to determine the most successful videos. Small businesses typically create product demonstration videos, unpacking videos, and explainer videos. So go ahead, experiment, and see what works for you.

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