YouTube doesn’t rest on its laurels and constantly introduces new developments and implementations. One of the latest is End Screens feature, which is expected to create a “powerful end-of-video experience for your viewers.” We’ve tried to figure out, what is it and how can it increase watch times, exposure or call users for a specific action.


End Screen: what is it and how does it work

New feature from YouTube developers, called End Screen, presents a number of thumbnails that encourage audience to perform several actions: watch another video, subscribe to a publisher’s channel, view a website or any other that creator wishes.  It was launched on the 26th of October and is expected to be beneficial both for publishers and users and, probably, to redress the balance with regard to branded visual content.

YouTube End Screen Feature

It works in the following manner: appears in the last 5-20 seconds of a video (the choice of a timeframe is up to publisher and his goals) in a 16:9 aspect ratio video and can contain branding watermarks or teaser ads.  It works both on mobile devices and desktop computers and takes into account users’ interests, activities and overall behavior. That is why, publishers and brands get an opportunity to monitor the performance of their target audience, analyze it with the help of YouTube Dashboard and adapt their visual strategy in accordance with what their clientele actually prefers.

Experts, however, suggest not trusting implicitly in End screens and considering that it can potentially let you down. “There may be instances where your end screen, as designated by you, may not appear. For example, we may skip the end screen when your video is playing in background mode, or adjust placement on very small screens.” – states the YouTube support. That is why, the new feature can operate efficiently and increase not only watch time, but also engagement and potential profit, however in order to avoid unforeseen obstacles, it is better not to include the most valuable content (or, at least, account for uncertainties).


Have we seen something similar before?

Yes, we have. But not completely similar. Firstly, YouTube introduced annotations, which were aimed at “holding a dialog with your viewers”. End screens, however, surpassed its predecessor and can be used on mobile devices, in comparison with annotations, which were available only on desktop computers. This is not just a tiny change; mobile users comprise a huge group, which in the aggregate has a significant impact on publishers’ channels and activities. Some experts even claim that the future belongs to mobile video channels and that in 2020 it can reach ¾ of the total traffic.

To confirm this hypothesis of mobile video importance, let’s look at some stats: the average daily number of mobile YouTube viewers is 1 billion. What is more, according to Google research, considering mobile devices only, YouTube reaches more 18-49 year-olds than any broadcast or cable TV network. Weighty argument for end screens (and mobile users), isn’t it?

YouTube End Screen Feature

Some naysayers would also claim that we have seen this before. In March 2015, YouTube introduces End Cards feature, which functioned on mobile devices and encouraged users to perform several actions as well. End screens do not differentiate completely, however they are more visible (and, therefore, user-friendly) and can be developed and customized more extensively. Moreover, publishers can choose a preferable timeframe, which is much more convenient.


Benefits for publishers

One of the arguments in favor of end screens, and probably the main, is availability on mobile devices, as it was previously mentioned. This increases the number of potential channel subscribers and even buyers, who are attracted by this mobile-friendly feature or just have enough time to click on the link and visit the website.

What is more, end screens can increase an overall watch time of brand’s videos, which, in its turn, influences exposure, loyalty and even search optimization. For instance, the new development is designed in a way that YouTube can use watch time metrics and organically promote content of the same brand in video suggestions and search results. That is why, publishers should implement a minimum of one end screen and see which impact does it have on other relevant videos and on overall channel.

And the last, but not the least, the usage of end screens is an opportunity to drive users for an action. Regardless of publishers’ goals and objectives, whether they want to increase the channel’s audience, to invite to some event, to promote product or service or just to publish a link for more information, end screen can do it for them. All that remains is to choose the timeframe of end screen and, certainly, create an attractive content.

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