Video Annotations: Creative Ideas for Interactive Marketing

July 07, 2010 | Brendan Cournoyer
Video Annotations: Creative Ideas for Interactive Marketing

At this point, most people involved with video marketing on YouTube are familiar with video annotations.  In most cases, these annotations involve a call-to-action or URL embedded directly into the video that viewers can click on for more information. In other cases, the annotations display a joke or additional commentary for a particular part of the video.

Recently, I read a post by Andy Harvard for Convince & Convert that detailed a different way to leverage video annotations that I hadn’t seen before. Basically, it allows users to actually embed other video content as thumbnails into existing videos.

“Many users have taken to using the clickable video URL YouTube allows, to make their videos look slick, professional and [it’s] a great way to showing off more of their impressive content,” Harvard explains.

The easy way to do this is to simply add image thumbnails to your video before uploading to YouTube, then highlight them as clickable images using the Spotlight or Label annotation. For example, here’s a cute little Sesame Street video that Harvard points to. It makes use of a similar technique at the 35-second mark:

View on YouTube.

As you can see, you can even pause the playback of your video, giving viewers time to review and make their next selection.

A technique like this can give viewers interactive options to view more of your video marketing content in YouTube. By creating a series of short video presentations, you can use this technique to further encourage your audience to view other videos in the series. As a result, you’ll make it easier for them to learn more about your products/services, and even extend your brand by promoting more thought leadership content.

Obviously, marketing videos created in Brainshark can also include interactive components such as clickable links, survey questions and quizzes. However, that functionality is lost when the presentations are converted to YouTube. Using annotation techniques like these can enhance the value of your videos as you make them available to broad audiences over the Web.

Note that this is just one way annotations can be used to leverage more video content for marketing purposes. Don’t overlook other video annotation options, like Notes and Speech Bubbles, which can also be optimized as calls to action and hyperlinked to drive viewers to your company website, related blog posts, and of course, more videos.

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