YouTube End Screens Explained

On most YouTube videos, you are likely to encounter an ‘End Screen’. It’ll appear in the last 5- 20 seconds and is sometimes also called an ‘End Card’ or ‘End Slate’.

An End Screen is an interactive call to action, essentially. Videos, playlists and external websites can be promoted using the YouTube End Screen feature.

Does your video need a YouTube End Screen?

A YouTube channel could generate more traffic, views and subscribers from effective use of YouTube End Screens.

So yes, your video definitely needs an End Screen!

After watching a YouTube video, a viewer could do one of many things. They might watch another video, they might check out a suggested video in the sidebar, or they might disappear into the internet and find something else to do!

However, using YouTube End Screens gives you the advantage of getting more views and subscriptions by nudging your viewers in one (or several) directions of your choosing after they’ve watched your video.

Best Practices for YouTube End Screens

Decide what you want to promote

To make effective use of your End Screen feature of YouTube, you must first decide what you want to promote on the End Screen.

You are only allowed to promote 4 “Elements” on each End Screen. They are:

  1. The Subscribe Button: Through your End Screen, you can insert your YouTube channels subscribe button, which allows people to subscribe to your channel with a single click.
  2. Video or Playlist: You can link to a video or channel that you think your viewers will be interested in watching next. It doesn’t even have to be from your YouTube channel either!
  3. Channel: If you wanted to cross-promote another YouTube channel or a partner, you could direct your viewers to another YouTube channel.
  4. External Site: You can direct your audience to other YouTube-approved websites or other associated websites provided you are part of the YouTube Partner Programme.


There’s a lot of flexibility with where and how many Elements you can include on your End Screen, but it is best to keep them to a minimum. 2 or 3 Elements is perfectly sufficient. If you overwhelm your viewers with many Elements, they might likely not choose any of them and disappear to another page.

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Choose an appropriate video or playlist to promote

One of the simplest ways to keep people engaged with your brand after watching your video, is to feature another video on your End Screen.

This is an excellent way to keep viewers on your channel and grow the views your YouTube channel gets. In turn, the more people that view your content, the more likely they are to subscribe too!

But which of your videos should you put on your End Screen?

  1. Choose your most popular video. If there’s a video that has bought in the most leads or followers to your brand, it makes sense to feature this at every opportunity. Find out which video has the most views or comment and go for that one.
  2. Choose a similar video. If you’ve already produced a video in a similar vein to the one you’re posting, feature it on the End Screen.

    Add a Subscribe button

    Adding a subscribe button to your YouTube End Screen is easy and a no-brainer too!

    Everyone want’s to drive more engagement to their YouTube channel, and subscriptions are a great way to go about that. Your channel icon will be overlaid here so make sure your channel icon is well designed and shows what your channel is about.

    However, as YouTube will only show a graphic of your channel icon, it’s always a good idea to add a text graphic onto the video to help viewers. A simple animated YouTube icon with the supporting text ‘Click here to subscribe’ should make it clear enough what they have to do!


    Link to an external website

    It is possible to link to an external website from an overlay on YouTube End Screens.

    But it’s not as straightforward as it used to be!

    In order to add link Elements to your End Screen, you need to be part of the YouTube Partner Programme, which amongst other things gives creators greater access to YouTube advanced resources.

    Here are a few of the requirements:

    • You need to have more than 4,000 valid public watch hours in the last 12 months.
    • You need more than 1,000 subscribers.
    • You should have no active Community Guidelines strikes on your channel.


    How To Set Up YouTube End Screens

    YouTube End Screens can be between 5 and 20 seconds long and can only be shown at the very end of the video.

    To add your End Screen to an existing YouTube video, do the following:

    1. Head to studio.youtube.com
    2. Click on Content
    3. Hover over the video you want to edit and click Details
    4. Click End Screen

    You’ll then be presented with a screen similar to the one below.

    Click Element in the top left to add various Elements to your End Screen.

    The Preview Window in the top right allows you to move the Elements around the video frame

    The Timeline at the bottom allows you to extend or shorten the duration of each Element. The Preview Window updates as you drag the playhead (the vertical black line) horizontally along the timeline, giving you an accurate representation of how your End Screen will look.

    Hit the Space Bar on your keyboard to play the video and see the End Screen Elements overlaid at the same time

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    Enhancing YouTube End Screens

    Adding animated graphics onto your YouTube video will add greater impact to your End Screen. You can use these graphics to signpost different End Screen Elements and add significant production value to your videos. Here are a few ideas:

    • Add labels to your videos
      • Use additional text such as “Watch Next” or “Next Video” to encourage clicks.
    • Add social icons / URLs
      • Whilst these will not be clickable, adding in social media icons will at least show viewers that you are active on other platforms. Then, should they decide to take the conversation with you back to their favourite social platform, they now know they can do that!
    • Add a verbal call to action
      • If you decide to use the full 20 seconds allowed with a YouTube End Screen, why not take advantage of that time by adding a call to action to your voiceover narrative? Encourage people to click through, give them a taste of what they might find on your socials or ask them to subscribe to your channel

So there you go! A simple guide to YouTube End Screens. For a more comprehensive look at YouTube, check out our Essential Guide to YouTube.

Let us know if there’s anything else about YouTube you’d like to know! Get in touch! Find us on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter and let us know your thoughts!

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