YouTube giveth, and YouTube taketh away. The Google service has announced that it is getting rid of annotations, the obnoxious boxes that popup over a video to provide a link to a different video or some random, usually unwanted message, such as, “Mike meant to say…” or a spelling fix. Getting rid of these boxes used to mean carefully hovering and then clicking their small X button, but those days are numbered.
YouTube annotations have largely been used as a way to market other videos and things to viewers, making them a favorite feature to content creators. For viewers, though, annotations mostly range from unneeded to outright annoying or disruptive to the video. And, most importantly, they have never worked on mobile, meaning any pertinent info in them is never seen by many viewers.
It’s for that latter reason (lack of mobile support) that YouTube has decided to ditch the feature. While the annotations editor will be disappearing and no future annotations will be available, existing annotations will remain on videos that are already published.
YouTube expects Screens and Cards to be a better replacement for annotations, not the least of which is because they support mobile (and desktop). As well, YouTube says both tend to get much more clicks (to the tune of 7x) than annotations, the latter of which users typically just close, says the company. End Screens in particular are easier to make, too.
SOURCE: YouTube Blog