YouTube to Remove its Annotations Feature in January 2019
YouTube now finally decides to remove its annotations feature, after having discontinued the annotations editor earlier.
It was in May 2017 that Google discontinued the YouTube annotations editor, after finding that the use of annotations has dropped by over 70 percent. Now, the Google-owned YouTube, which gets over 1.9 billion users every month, has decided to do away with annotations altogether. YouTube would stop showing the existing annotations starting January 15, 2019.
An announcement on the Google support page reads, “Update: We will stop showing existing annotations to viewers starting January 15, 2019. All existing annotations will be removed.”
With this decision being implemented, YouTube users can no longer add new annotations or edit existing ones. The Google announcement states, “We’re committed to helping you reach more fans and keep them engaged. That’s why we built products like cards and end screens, which are mobile-friendly tools that let you poll your audience, link to merchandise, recommend videos, and more…As adoption of end screens and cards has grown, the use of annotations has decreased by over 70%. For this reason, we discontinued annotations editor in May 2017.”
It further says, “This means you can no longer add new or edit existing annotations, only delete them. Existing annotations still show when using a desktop computer.”
Thus, the YouTube annotations would vanish from its videos forever and users would get to use other tools to promote content inside YouTube videos; these tools include Cards and End Screens.
Cards and End Screens look more professional and by default work on mobile devices. While cards are used to point viewers to a website, to show titles or image overlays or to embed a poll, end screens allow the creators of YouTube videos to encourage subscriptions and also to promote other videos.
There definitely are many who hate annotations, but experts point out that the feature had its uses as well. PCMag writes, “Those who hate them may rejoice, but removing annotations completely will cause a few problems. When annotations were the only way to add new content to a YouTube video they were used to point out mistakes or correct a link stated in the video that was no longer relevant/working, for example. So after Jan. 15 next year, those mistakes will remain in the videos, but the annotations correcting them will no longer appear.”
But Google has its share of justifications to make; Google clarifies, “We launched the annotations editor in 2008, before the world went mobile. With 60% of YouTube’s watch time now on mobile, why go through the work of creating annotations that won’t even reach the majority of your audience? End screens and cards work on mobile and desktop, giving you more bang for your buck.”
Google claims, “We’ve found that end screens and cards generate 7 times more clicks across YouTube. In fact, viewers generally don’t love annotations, and on average they close 12 annotations before they click on one of them. And more and more viewers turn off annotations altogether.”