Earlier this week YouTube released a new feature called ‘Annotations’ that allows you not only to annotate your uploaded video with captions, but also to create links within the video to other video clips or to your YouTube channel.
Easy captioning is a handy function, but it is the interactivity offered by the embedded links that makes this new feature particularly interesting. There are several simple demonstrations of what’s possible already on the site, including one involving the good old ‘pick a card trick’ shown above (which jumped from 300k to well over 2m views in a day – showing the level of interest in the feature) and a ‘find the shell’ game (keep going to the ‘hard’ video and just see where it leads you;-).
Interestingly, the annotations seem only work on YouTube and not when the videos are embedded elsewhere – which is unfortunate (and presumably why embedding on the ‘pick a card’ video has been ‘disabled by request’).
Ever since YouTube took-off I’ve had countless discussions about how best to use videos on the site to engage with consumers beyond simple viewings, comments and ratings- other than just including a URL for them to type into their browser. While still restricted to links within YouTube, this new feature does offer a new level of interaction which has the potential to be used in interesting ways by non-profits. For example as the basis for a personally guided, interactive video presentation of your work or support opportunities.
Thinking ahead, if links out of YouTube are added then the potential becomes even greater. Allen Stern at CentreNetworks suggests that external links could offer a new way for YouTube to monetize – through a small fee being paid to link products in videos to the product owner’s site or ecommerce sites.
Many non-profits are already making use of YouTube – so who will be the first to get into YouTube interactivity?