Welcome back to another episode of How To’s Day, with your host, Andy Smith. This week is a quick one, focusing on the correct placement of YouTube annotations and some other advanced features.

I’m going to assume that if you’ve been a part of the ReelSEO community for any length of time you already know how to place an annotation. If you don’t, there is a very useful set of instructions from Google Support or you can follow the in-depth YouTube annotations course on our site that will give you everything you need to know. In this post, we are going to re-confirm where you should place annotations, and the reasons why.

Where NOT to place Annotations on YouTube Videos

Common convention is constantly changing as YouTube tweaks features. YouTubers like Shaycarl found great success early on by placing call to action annotations in the bottom third as close to the like button as possible. This converted into a lot of clicks on that like button.

Since then, much has changed relative to YouTube annotations, but one thing has remained the same. The placement of your annotation can drastically impact its success rate. If you consider the following, I’ve divided the YouTube screen into these zones:


Video Zone #1 – Center Frame

Nope. Don’t do it. Any annotation that covers the main subject of your video is an absolute no. The only exception to this rule would be the end-slate, where center screen annotations can be beneficial depending on the layout.

Video Zone #2 – Lower Third

Current convention is to avoid the lower third of a video when placing annotations. It’s not the worst zone, but its close. Overlay ads block annotations in the lower third and on mobile, this area is also used for the progress bar. It is also common convention to place branding or watermarks in the lower right corner which would further compound the problem. There are much better places to place annotations.

Video Zones #3, 4 and 5 – Upper Third

I like to define the upper third as three areas, one for each corner and the center section. Were it not for mobile’s use of the upper third for various menu options, it could be prime real estate, especially in the upper left hand corner.

Aside from the mobile menu, the upper left hand corner and center zone is not used for anything that could potentially block your annotation. I’d lean towards the upper left corner for preference here, as viewers’ attention is more likely to pick up on annotations in the corners. My least favorite zone in this group would be the upper right. Be careful if you decide to use this area so as to ensure it doesn’t coincide with the in-video programming feature.

Video Zones #6 and 7 – Sides

By default, this leaves the sides as the safest areas for annotations. While the corners provide some natural pull for the eyes, the sides are the only areas in the video that do not have a conflict with either ad placement, in-video programming, mobile menus or some other YouTube feature. Pay attention to your editing and use the side that best fits the framing used at that particular time. Always be mindful not to obscure your primary subject.

If you follow along with the above template, you can ensure that your annotations are perfect in placement. The closer you can get to the corner without entering the upper or lower thirds the better off you’ll be in the majority of scenarios.