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Want The Most YouTube Engagement? Implement Cards

November 28, 2016

Want The Most YouTube Engagement? Implement Cards
A lot can happen in 40 minutes. You could, theoretically, get to a gas station in the next 40 minutes, buy a scratch off and win the lottery. You could watch almost an entire episode of Game of Thrones. Or…you could increase your company’s traffic and YouTube engagement online. The average YouTube session time is 40 minutes. That’s 40 minutes of consumer’s time you’re practically being handed on a silver platter. So incorporating video into your digital strategy is, at this point, a non-negotiable. From a content marketing standpoint, the advantages are obvious — visual content is 40x more likely to be shared on social media than other types of content. But when it comes to actually converting those views into YouTube engagement, your video content marketing needs to involve one thing in particular: YouTube cards. Today we’re talking all about how to increase engagement using YouTube cards, and the various ways you’re able to implement them into your digital strategy.

What are YouTube cards?

YouTube cards are those clever little white boxes that pop up while you’re watching a video. They’re marked with a lowercase “i” and, at the directed time, expand to display a message or cue. When clicked on they display one of five different interactive tools, which we’ll expand into later. Here’s an example of a link card at work: Increase YouTube engagement with YouTube cards; YouTube card at work To add a YouTube card, you’ll just need to log into your Google/YouTube account and click on the card button directly underneath your uploaded video: Where to find YouTube card button to increase engagement From there, you’ll have a couple of different options.

The 5 Types Of Cards That Increase YouTube Engagement

Video or Playlist

This card is going to be infinitely useful if you have a carefully curated YouTube channel, or other similar videos you know the viewer will enjoy. Selecting this card allows you to choose from any of your channel’s public videos or playlists and appears with a “Suggested,” cue, allowing you to navigate the viewer wherever you want them to go next. For the sake of your watch time, we suggest leaving cards like this for at least the last 45 seconds of video. The exception to this is if you specialize in series or how-to videos, and you know there’s a chance another video of yours will be of more interest or use.


This card is a little funny. The “channel” card allows you to create a pop-up to another YouTuber, which definitely comes in handy for networks of vloggers who rely on each other for views and support. It may seem counterintuitive to promote another business, but there are a few instances where this could be useful. If you have another channel, for example, for a secondary branch or an element of your business not in line with your brand, pointing a viewer in that direction could be incredibly useful for building a secondary following. Or maybe you just want to shout out the guys who made that awesome explainer video for you! Whatever your reason, the “channel” card is always an option.


The donation card gives you the ability to feature the charity of your choice (from Google’s approved list) and leaves your viewer only two clicks away from a philanthropic donation. That’s pretty awesome, considering one study reported 85 percent of consumers have a better outlook on companies that give to charity. We see this option working particularly well on videos that already center around philanthropy, but you could, theoretically, place donation cards anywhere in your video management.


For practically the entire history of the internet, we’ve seen the advantages of incorporating polls — they’re quick, easy and produce quantifiable proof that someone interacted with your content. The YouTube poll card springs your question across the screen, and all the viewer has to do is click to answer. We’d recommend implementing this card especially in videos that pose an interesting question or raise a debate. Even if that debate is just about the greatness of hot dogs in the summer, your viewers will relish (get it?) the opportunity to voice their opinion. Polls are one of the purest ways to get people interacting with your content, and your YouTube engagement will skyrocket once you incorporate them.


The link card will, unquestionably, be the most useful of the cards when it comes to directing YouTube traffic back to your site. It contains three elements: the card title, call to action and teaser text. The most important of the three link card elements is the teaser text, as that is what will actually appear on the video. It might help to think of link cards as two separate CTA’s — one to get the viewer to expand the card (teaser text) and another to direct them to your site (call to action). The card title is the largest text, when expanded, so be intentional with text there as well. Remember: you never want to confuse your consumer or overwhelm them with choices. We recommend only using one (maybe two) YouTube cards in each of your videos, and instead being purposeful with the action you want each video to inspire. Will you be implementing YouTube cards into your video strategy? What other ways do you increase YouTube engagement? We’d love to hear the cool ways cards have created engagement with your YouTube viewers. Tweet us @DigitalBrew_co with your thoughts, or send us a link to your latest video! We’d love to see it.