YouTube Cards

YouTube Cards: The Only Guide You Will Ever Need

Did you know you can almost double the number of views on your YouTube channel with just one simple optimization?

When your viewers drop off your videos, they often move on to videos on other channels that don’t benefit your channel in any way. But what if there’s a way out?
What if there’s a way to purposefully drive them on to other videos on your channel that can be useful to them?

Enter YouTube cards.

In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know to set up YouTube cards for your videos and to make the most of them. Let’s jump right in.

1. What are YouTube Cards?
2. Types of YouTube Cards
3. How to add cards to your YouTube videos?
4. YouTube card tips and best practices

1. What Are YouTube Cards?

YouTube cards are interactive elements that you can place during or at the end of your YouTube video. These cards appear as a notification on the top right-hand corner of the screen while your video is streaming.

You can place these cards to appear at any given point in time during the video. When your audience clicks on the card, it will expand on the video’s right-hand side to showcase links to other videos, webpages or playlists.


The card will disappear after a few seconds if the user does not click on it. These interactive cards work on both computers and mobile devices.

2. Types Of YouTube Cards

Depending on what you want your viewer to do, you can use several types of YouTube cards to suit your CTAs.

a. Channel Cards

You can use these cards when you have a second channel that you want your audience to check out or when you have collaborated with another YouTuber in a video. You can also place recommended channels on this card.

Channel Cards

b. Link Cards

You can add links to associated websites, merchandise sites, or crowdfunding pages. Note that you will have to be in the YouTube Partner Program to add your website links to the video.

  • Associated website – Send your viewers to your blog or other E-commerce websites.
  • Crowdfunding – Encourage your viewers to check out your projects on one of the approved crowdfunding URLs.
  • Merchandise –  Promote licensed merchandise from approved retailers using this card.

Here’s an example of Tim Ferris using a link card to send viewers to his website.

c. Video Or Playlist Cards

Guide your viewers to any other videos or playlists that are publicly available on YouTube. You can also link to a specific time in any video. Use this feature to promote the next video from the same series on your channel or other ancillary videos that can complement your current video. Here, Lilly Singh recommends other videos for her audience to watch next.

Video Or Playlist Cards

3. How To Add Cards to Your YouTube videos?

Step 1 – Go to YouTube Studio from your channel’s page
Step 2 – Go to the ‘Content’ section from the left panel

How To Add Cards to Your YouTube videos?

Step 3 – Select the video that you want to add the YouTube Card to. Click on the pencil icon to see details

Adding Cards to YouTube videos

Step 4 – On the next page, scroll down to see the menu as shown below on the right side of the page. And, then select ‘Cards’

how to add cards to youtube videos

Here, you will be able to add cards, as shown below:

adding youtube cards to your video

Click on the ‘Add card’ drop-down menu and select whichever card you want to add to your videos. You can add up to 5 cards in the entire length of the video.

Video/Playlist Cards:

Select from uploads and playlists or add a link from another channel. Write in your custom message and teaser text and click on ‘Create card’ once you are done.

Video or Playlist Cards

Channel:

Add the channel username or URL, your custom message and teaser text, and click on ‘Create card’ to link to another YouTube channel.

Create card to link to another YouTube channel.

You can set each card’s time by moving the cursor on the timeline as shown below,

Setting time for each youtube card

Simply close the window once you are done. And, your video will be updated automatically.

4. YouTube Card Tips And Best Practices

1. Stay relevant

Before you add cards to your videos, remember that there’s nothing more annoying than being targeted by videos with little to no relevance. You can decide your cards while shooting or editing videos, ensuring that they are relevant to the current video.

The main idea is to help your audience find more meaningful content, and if there’s an irrelevant video, they’ll bounce off. It’s better not to include any cards than one that isn’t relevant to the video’s content.

For example, here’s a video about Instagram growth hacks with relevant cards to other videos for hashtags, and multi-channel growth.

YouTube Card Tips

2. Make the cards more clickable by optimizing teaser text and custom messages

YouTube allows you to add custom teaser texts and messages to make the cards more clickable.
Teaser text is the text which appears on the card before your audience clicks on it.

Make the youtube cards more clickable

A custom message is what you see after your viewers click on the teaser text and the card expands.

Youtube cards best practice

Best practices for teaser text:

Use words that describe the benefit of watching the video and let your audience know what they will get out of it.

For example, instead of saying: ‘Check out this video on Instagram growth,’ you can say ‘Go from zero to 100k followers on Instagram.’ It’s benefit-driven and tells the audience what they can expect from the video.

Best practices for custom messages:

In the custom message, add a CTA that compels them to watch the video or follow the card’s link. Make it clear what you want them to do by saying, ‘Watch the video here’ or ‘Visit this link to learn more.’

Add CTA that compels user to take an action

3. Draw attention to your cards by having verbal CTAs pointing out to them

YouTube cards are easy to miss. To maximize your audience’s chances of clicking on the card, include a scripted verbal call-to-action. With a bit of planning, you can include a CTA in the script and present cards simultaneously.

While presenting the card, you could say, ‘Hey, if you liked this video, you may also like our related video on X topic, which you can watch right here.’

In this video, Vanessa Lau recommends her viewers to check out another relevant video on hashtags with a verbal cue.

4. Use cards when people are most likely to drop off to retain them

The best way to use action cards is to place them strategically at the points where your audience is exiting your videos. This way you can move them to another video that’s still on your channel as compared to letting them move to another channel altogether, thereby substantially increasing your channel’s overall watch time.

To do this, look at the audience retention graph for your video in the analytics section and make a note of the dips in the graph- these represent the points where your viewers are jumping off of your videos. You’d want to insert action cards at these points leading them to other relevant videos or playlists.

audience retention graph

5. Add cards in the second half of your video to avoid distracting them

YouTube also suggests that you place your cards in the last 20% of your video. Ideally, if you include them in the first half, they might jump onto the card, leaving the current video. So, wait until you’re nearing the end, and then present your cards when they’re about to drop off.

Add cards in the later half of your video

There are obviously some exceptions to this. If you have a video or a playlist that adds to what you’re talking about at any point in the video and can be super beneficial for your audience to go check out after the current video, you should by all means showcase them.

For example, this video by Ahrefs is on ‘Digital Marketing for beginners,’ so they’ve placed relevant cards like ‘SEO tutorials for beginners’ and ‘YouTube SEO’ in the first couple of minutes.

6. Use action cards to get your best videos to rank higher on YouTube search results

YouTube SEO has a lot of factors that determine the ranking of your videos. One of the most critical ones is the audience retention score, which indicates the percentage of your video the audience watches. The videos on your channel that have a much higher retention rate have a much higher chance of ranking on YouTube search as compared to the ones that don’t. Hence, you can leverage action cards to drive people to these videos and maximize the number of eyeballs they get.

In order to find the videos with the highest retention rates, go to the YouTube Studio > Analytics > Engagement. Here, you’ll find the ‘Average percentage viewed,’ which represents the retention rate for each video.

Send your viewers to these videos from your most recent uploads via action cards and you’d have automatically increased the number of views your best videos get by a significant margin.

7. Use analytics to see which cards are working and which aren’t to improve them

Experiment with the positioning, text, and links for your cards. Analyze the performance through YouTube analytics and see which cards are performing best with your audience.

Through this, you will understand how many clicks a card got, which cards are performing the best and which videos have the highest performing cards, among other details.

youtube analytics

Image source

Use this information to plan for your upcoming videos. Edit your cards and play with the teaser text and custom messages to see how you can retain your audience better.

Closing Thoughts

Now that you know everything about action cards and how you can use them, it’s time to incorporate them into your YouTube strategy. If you are just starting out on YouTube, you’d want to check out our guides on YouTube equipment and YouTube video ideas.

Have more questions about YouTube cards?

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