Internet Marketing Ninjas Blog

How To Put A Linked Call-To-Action Within Your Youtube Video

YouTube is one of the most powerful content marketing platforms. All we have to do is look at a few stats to understand the power of YouTube:

  • Over 6 billions hours of video are watched by 1 billion unique visitors every month.
  • YouTube provides access to 61 countries across the globe.
  • Subscriptions happen in the millions every single day.

Obviously, you want to be using YouTube as a marketing platform and video host.

When you put together a video, you have two major outcomes you are looking for. The first is that people view that video, and do all the things associated with viewing it (commenting for engagement, sharing for visibility, etc). The second is that they view other videos that you have put out, or other content you have produced on that and other websites.

Further reading: 5 Tips for a Winning Youtube Custom Video Thumbnail

But how do you get from one video to the next? Or to another websites entirely? It is called a call to action, and putting them into a video can greatly enhance your chances to gaining views on your other content.

Call To Action Overlay


When you apply it to your video, this tactics is called a Call To Action overlay. These are the little ads that come up at the bottom of the video player during your clip. Another form is a final slide on your video directing the viewer to other content on your channel, or on related channels you are affiliated with.

Call To Action overlay

[Screenshot via Business2Community]

Each of these has their own benefit, and the easiest way to break it down is this:

  • CTA overlays are good for directing people to third party sites, such as your website or social media page, for more information/engagement/content/signups/products/services/etc.
  • End cards are good for pointing out other videos they will probably like, getting them over to your partner channels, or having them subscribe to your channel for updates as you upload new clips.

You should be using both to enhance your videos, and gain better results.

Creating CTA Overlays


Making an overlay for your YouTube video is very simple. Sign into your account where the video has been uploaded, or where you intend to upload the video. Once it has been successfully uploaded, go to Account located at the top of your dashboard.

There should be a section titled My Videos, and under it Uploaded Videos. Click on this and it will give you a thumbnail version of each clip that has been uploaded to your account. Next to each thumbnail will be an Edit button.

Editing the video will give you a Call To Action Overlay section with a series of text boxes. Fill these out with the necessary information, then click Save Changes.

Once you have completed these steps, head to your video and watch it. You should see the little CTA boxes appear.

Keep in mind that you have to have Google Adwords enabled, but overlays are free. Also, Call to Action overlays are subject to review for adherence to Google AdWords Advertising Policies. There may be a short delay while your overlay is being reviewed.

Creating End Cards


There seem to be two kinds of end cards that people go for on YouTube. The first is just a standard set of grid boxes linking to other content on their channels, showing a video preview with either audio in tact, or a musical sting.

The second is more popular for single person videos, or those that focus on a small group of people. It is the personal appeal end card, where one or more people from the video will specifically ask people to subscribe, or to check out their other videos.

You have to put these in manually, but YouTube gives you the option of directly linking within the video if you choose. Or, if you are doing a personal end card and the aim is channel subscriptions and likes/shares, you can skip in-video linking and just direct them to the buttons below.

Channel Greetings


Finally, we have the third option that isn’t directly related to videos, but it is an attempt to promote and gain loyal followers to your channel. This is a video greeting on your channel’s front page, which auto plays when they come onto your page. Here you can ask them to subscribe, to comment, or to offer suggestions for future videos.

When you make a playlist of all of your videos (which is a great idea) make sure you are putting this welcome video at the front of the queue. It will ensure that people who just decide to check out the playlist, which will be at the top of any search, see the call to action right away and are reminded to subscribe so they can easily find you later on.



You can see examples of these concepts in the YouTube Standouts section. The site has put together a list of things like annotations, end cards and CTA overlays into a single playlist. So you can see how it works in practice, and start using the same tactics yourself.

Youtube call to action

One thing you will notice is that end cards offer a very creative way to engage with your viewers. CTA overlays, on the other hand, are just targeted ads that are dry and alert people to your other content. Creating the overlays takes a couple of minutes to fill out information. Your end cards should have a little more effort put in, though they are still relatively quick and easy.

Use the end cards as an opportunity to brand your sign out. Your viewers will come to recognize it as much as they will an intro, and anything that makes you stick in their mind is a good thing. Notice how in the examples, they are all different and while there is a standard they each have something a little bit different. That is what you want to achieve.


Adding calls to action in your YouTube videos is a must if you want to milk as much out of them as you can. Something as simple as reminding them to subscribe can have a lasting impact on your visibility, and lead to you going from unknown to viral.

Take a little time to properly enhance videos with these marketing tactics, and you will see a fair return growing with each upload.


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