Content Interactivity

Within last week’s Cinematic Study Guide are clickable links that YouTubers use called annotations. This might be an over-explanation for many, but I think annotations are brilliant. The annotations can be used as links to other videos, the main channel page, or to immediate subscription to the host channel. They finally added the ability to link to fundraising campaigns on sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo, but those are the only off-YouTube sites you can link to within the videos. The annotations interface is a little rough around the edges, but it’s specific enough. It’s usually used to put little boxes in the upper corners at the beginnings of videos so people can easily maneuver to the previous or next video on the channel. Then people started making end-screens for the end of their videos where people can maneuver to other relevant content from the channel. I mostly use the spotlight version of annotations to frame objects I already put in my video and then make them clickable links. Such as in the last Study Guide. I edited the Evil Dead posters into the video in Final Cut, framed them with spotlight annotations, and they deliver you to unlisted videos that you can only access through that original gateway video. Not only does it give the viewer the ability to choose their own experience, giving them a better feeling of control. It makes them an active part of your channel. My buddy Craig uses it to wonderful effect in choose your own adventure videos where the viewers have to guide him through many dangers by choosing his route, like helping him get off a isolated desert island:

Not only is it a fun way to be a part of what you’re watching, but that gateway video gets many more views by virtue of the fact that people have to keep going back to it to make the other selections. The view count gets inflated and it makes that particular video look more popular. The Evil Dead Study Guide already has a much higher view count than the other Cinematic Study Guides.

Also handy is the new ability YouTube gave all channel creators to have a clickable link to your channel or playlist of your videos always present in the corner of every video, like a watermark. I don’t have to do a thing for that to work. Eliza went into Photoshop and monochrome’d a small version of the PoPS logo, I uploaded that in my channel settings, and it appears on every video I make, allowing people an easily accessible gateway to my main channel where I have the PoPS in 77 seconds intro video and they know what I’m all about. YouTube is some smart folks, yo. Smarties indeed.

Thanks for reading.

–Jarvi

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