Clicky Clicky: How to Add Calls to Action to Your Nonprofit’s YouTube Videos | npENGAGE

Clicky Clicky: How to Add Calls to Action to Your Nonprofit’s YouTube Videos

By on Jan 6, 2011


Videos are an amazing way to share your nonprofit’s story with supporters. But as with all forms of online communication, the goal should be to get that visitor to take an action. Thankfully, the YouTube Nonprofit Program has made it easy to add interactive calls to action to your videos.

What do Calls to Action Look Like?

Calls to action are simply the things you want web visitors do after viewing a piece of content. On a website it might be a “Subscribe” button and in an email it might be a “Donate” link. In YouTube videos, you can create links with the annotation tool, which you’ve probably seen before (they look like thought bubbles or text boxes.)

While thought bubbles are fun, with a little graphic design moxie you can use the annotation tool to create gorgeous graphical buttons. Check out the StillerStrong video below. They had their editor overlay a static image along the bottom of the video, then used annotations to make each button clickable. Genius!

Creating Annotations

First off, we should give a shout out to YouTube for providing this functionality for nonprofits! A typical user can only link annotations to other YouTube videos or a Google search results page. Participants in the YouTube Nonprofit Program can link their videos to any external donation or sign-up page – that’s a game changer! So, first things first: sign up for the YouTube Nonprofit Program.

Once you’ve done that and determined what calls to action are necessary (more on that below), have your video editor place a graphical button in the video. Or you could make an object in the video clickable (like a logo, a lamp, or someone holding a giant button that says “Donate!”). Upload this video to YouTube, open up the annotations tool, and put links over the graphical elements in your video – here’s how. Simple!

Choosing a Call to Action

Choosing a call to action depends greatly on your campaign’s goals, and it needs to reflect what you want the user to do. Most web visitors do not want to “Click Here”, so avoid using that phrase. Ideally, your visitors want to “Make a Donation”, “Subscribe to the Blog”, “Sign-up for the Newsletter”, “Volunteer”, or simply “Visit Our Website.” So find a nice action verb, and use it as your call to action.

I also like that StillerStrong displayed their calls to action throughout the entire video – no reason to hide them at the end, as a lot of video viewers drop off somewhere along the line. So keep experimenting and find something that works for your organization. You can also check out this video by YouTube’s amazing Ramya Raghavan to learn more about annotations and the Nonprofit Program. Annotations were also covered in 50 (More) Social Media Tactics for Nonprofits, where you can get 49 other ideas that can help your organization.

Is your organization using calls to action in your videos? Paste some links in the comments and show them off!


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