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Case Study: Decrease YouTube Video Annotations For Increased Viewing Time and Clickthroughs

Playbook-promo-large-annotationsAnnotations on YouTube videos are potentially a powerful marketing and sales tool but too much can undermine viewer interest with noise. Matt Gielen, Director of Programming and Audience Development at Frederator, noticed just how annoying Vimeo's music video annotations were and realized he needed to take a look at how his team was using annotations at Cartoon Hangover. The results didn't surprise me but they may just surprise you.

As part of his duties for Frederator Matt Gielen leads the programming team that's building Cartoon Hangover, a YouTube channel with well over a million subscribers.

Gielen says he was watching the "[truly] epic" music video, "Turn Down For What," and became "more and more irritated" at the intrusive "InVideo Programming" annotations encouraging him to go watch a different video long before this one was over.

This experience apparently caused him to reevaluate Cartoon Hangover's use of annotations.

Before Removing In Video Annotations

image from onlinemphdegree.netFirst the team checked current stats on annotations and found that annotations shown during the video had a clickthrough rate below 1% and "very high close rates."

But annotations shown in end cards, an extra bit of video at the end for extra things, has a strong clickthrough rate and very low close rates.

So they pulled all the annotations that would normally appear during the video and shut off InVideo Programming.

After Removing In Video Annotations

The results were dramatic. Clickthrough rates "skyrocketed" while close rates "plummet[ed]."

Gielen concluded:

"By reducing our use of annotations, we actually increased our click-through rate on annotations across all episodes by over 27%. In addition, chances are removing the annotations that appeared during the video caused far less people to turn off annotations all together, which probably had a hand in increasing our click-through rate on the end cards."

You can look more closely at Gielen's case study or head over to YouTube for more about annotations.


Hypebot Senior Contributor Clyde Smith (@fluxresearch) posts music crowdfunding news @CrowdfundingM. To suggest topics about music tech, DIY music biz or music marketing for Hypebot, contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.