How to make an interactive end card

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What is an end card?

End cards are a great way to increase your audience engagement, drive more video views, and boost subscribers on YouTube. They’re those short outros that you often see at the end of YouTube videos where the creator can:

  • * ask viewers to subscribe
  • * tease and link to other specific videos or playlists
  • * link to a related behind-the-scenes or making-of video
  • * link to an approved merch store
  • * link to other channels (this is helpful for videos where you’ve collaborated with other artists on YouTube)

Check out the end card at the conclusion of this video I made a while back if you’re curious what they look like, or how they work:

How long should my end card be? What elements should it contain?

End cards should be about 8-12 seconds long to give the viewer enough time to visually process what they’re seeing and what they’re being asked to do. And it’s best not to crowd your end cards with too many options. I always think end cards work best when you limit it to two recommended videos and a subscribe button. If you have an approved merch store, maybe add that one as well.

Creating a YouTube end card

The video tutorial above gives you a good idea of how to create these types of end cards in Premiere Pro, but the process is similar for most editing programs (iMovie, FCPX, etc.)

You have 3 options for creating end cards:

1. create a unique end card for every single video

2. use a template and customize it for each video

3. create one end card that you use on every video

Unlike YouTube intros (which can be added after-the-fact to videos you’ve already uploaded to YouTube), end cards must be part of the video file itself, so you either need to add them during editing or — the more complicated approach — upload a private clip to YouTube that consists of only the end card. Then any time you upload a new video you can use YouTube’s editor to combine your video and your end card into a new video.

Remember to add the annotations!

Once you’ve uploaded your video to YouTube, you need to add the appropriate YouTube annotations to the end card. Otherwise the elements within the end card that look like they should be links will just be confusing parts of a video file to lead no one, aren’t clickable, and frustrate your viewer.

Oh, and don’t forget to export a version of your video WITHOUT the end card

End cards are specific to YouTube since they’re powered by annotations. If you add your end cards within your editing program, be sure to export a version of your video without them for use on Facebook, Amazon, Instagram, etc.


What’s your method for making creative end cards? Let me know in the comments below (and leave a link to your YouTube video).

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