By Eoin Harmon
As per the challenge set by my colleague Charlie, I will now discuss the YouTube Cards feature in greater detail.
They’ve been available for nearly a month – an eternity in the internet age, but if you are still unfamiliar with YouTube Cards, now is as good a time as ever to learn about them. For me, as a gaming YouTuber with a small subscriber base, it can be difficult to get my content around and viewed reasonably consistently.
However, if I use the Cards system correctly, I can turn it into a gift that keeps on giving. Rather than constantly barraging my viewers with reminders to watch videos that they may have missed, I can add a Card to my newest video to highlight a playlist or individual video I want to share.
What’s more, I found you can include more than one link in the same Card, so I can add a second video of mine or even one that belongs to someone I’m subscribed to (see below). I have yet to notice positive feedback for helping others as the Cards system must be clicked on to expand what is seen. However, if other, more prominent YouTubers served others like this regularly, then I feel the community that they belong to can benefit and grow organically.
I fear too many people will toot their own horn with Cards, especially in this early phase, but all you need is the correct URL to share any YouTube video, playlist, third party website or charity.
The immediate assumption to this new feature is that it’s a more discreet form of the annotation, especially since you can time Cards to appear for as long as you like. YouTube themselves plan to phase out the annotations entirely so the Cards can become the norm for interactive edits post-production (and cross-platform too).
I’ll gladly admit annotations are deathly annoying when overused, but they are still far too handy to abandon just yet, which YouTube agrees with. If you made a minor error or your quality stutters, you can warn your viewers in advance and tell them you are sorry or to cover up what is wrong. If you want to add a meaningful or humourous quote or message to a video at any stage, you can do so only with an annotation.
I am sceptical about YouTube Cards replicating the usefulness of the annotations until they can be moved around the video player freely. But for now, they have great potential to be used as a vital tool in guiding your viewers around your YouTube archives and giving them a swift call-to-action to a new site.
It’s rare for YouTube to change for the better these days, so enjoy it as much as you can!