By Brandon Houston on April 12, 2016

As video marketing continues to improve in interactivity, you don’t want to miss opportunities for your audience to respond to your ads. You want to see how customers react to your products and thought leadership in the industry. Additionally, you want to know if they watched the entire video, as that reflects an honest interest in what you offer. That’s why the ability to implement a call to action within YouTube videos is so important now in the field of advertising and marketing.

However, implementing a call to action is not as simple as delivering a “call right now” at the end of the video, especially when it’s supposed to be interactive. There’s a greater degree of nuance involved in the process. You don’t want to end your video with a simple black screen, as noted by tech blog Tech.Co, but you don’t want to inundate the viewer with something unappealing just so they convert. By improving your CTAs on YouTube, you can get conversions while creating a seamless transition from viewer to customer. Such an omnichannel-like approach will strengthen your brand and your marketing potential.

To overlay or to not overlay
That is the question of CTA format. One of the simplest ways to implement a call to action on your videos is to create an overlay or annotation that will play at the beginning or middle of the video, as noted by marketing firm Internet Marketing Ninjas. Usually, the former device can be very simple – akin to a placed search ad – while the latter brings to mind interactive flash animations from the 2000s.

There are benefits to these mechanisms, namely that you can place them at any point in the video. It creates opportunities to be strategic in your message delivery. If you don’t need your audience to watch the whole video just to make the next step, this plays to your favor.

“Ad blockers can prevent overlays from appearing.”

Still, there are risks in using overlays in particular. Ad-blocking programs consider overlays to be a form of intrusive advertising and will prevent the overlay from appearing when you want it to. Certain annotations also possess this issue. As such, its use may be better suited not for critical messaging but for boosterism such as directing to a social media page.

Meeting you at the end
The other major option for video marketers to create a call to action on YouTube is the end card. This essentially is a static screen with boxes containing at least one video link that’s different from what the viewer just watched, along with ways to interact outside the site. It creates two separate CTAs: an inbound one that goes to another video on YouTube, and an outbound one that carries the viewer to a landing page of your choosing. It could lead to an embedded video, thus keeping the experience seamless.

How do your CTAs influence your audience?How do your CTAs influence your audience?

End cards can vary in function depending on how you deliver them. In the inbound route, it helps bolster interest in your brand on YouTube itself, with the ultimate intent of subscribing to either your channel or partner page. External calls to action are more straightforward in function. With that said, it can be risky to use this solely to garner interest off-site, simply because viewers can just move to another video just like they would another channel. A mixture of end cards, overlays and annotations may do you favors by giving viewers multiple means to interact, as long as it doesn’t overwhelm them.

“Who’s the audience, and what do they get from watching?”

Directing their conversion
To consider the right mixture and create the ideal CTAs on your YouTube video, you should first consider what you want to accomplish overall in the campaign itself, as recommended by the Content Marketing Institute. You start by taking your video and asking what the goal is in presenting this video to the public. Who is the audience, and what should they get out of this? That can have a great impact on what CTAs you want.

In turn, another question to ask is what your CTA will do in achieving the goal of the video. Should the customer be inspired to learn more through a white paper with your end card? Are you making a personal plea to get people to go in a specific direction in the conversation through an annotation? Or is the video merely an opportunity to develop a stronger YouTube channel? In answering this, you have a direction for which your calls to action can follow.

Once you implement the CTAs, you should then take the time to measure and test them. YouTube has a great tool called Audience Retention from which you can identify points in the video where viewership drops off. While this may help you understand where something goes wrong in the video, it may also help you better place annotations and overlays so that people don’t miss the chance to click. Combine that with a click-thru rate, and you can make adjustments so that your calls to action actually deliver your audience to the message you want them to see and hear.

 

Want to know how video can help you?

Leave a Comment

Please keep in mind that comments are moderated and rel="nofollow" is in use. So, please do not use a spammy keyword or a domain as your name, or it will be deleted. Let us have a personal and meaningful conversation instead.