YouTube cards: How to set and use them

I hope you are familiar with YouTube cards. If you aren’t then watch the short video below to know what cards are:


The pop-up thing that you see in the video which promotes another video is a card. You can also promote another channel, a playlist or a website by using it. You can even take polls from viewers through YouTube cards. Now let us learn how to use them and make them most effective.

While you’re on your channel’s video manager, click on the drop-down sign next to the ‘Edit’ option of the particular video where you want to add cards; a drop-down menu will emerge from where you’ll be choosing ‘Cards’. You’ll arrive on the page for YouTube cards.

YouTube cards

Use ‘Audience retention’ to set up YouTube cards

It is best to add two or three cards to a video, although you can add up to 5 YouTube cards. Before adding a card, simply pause the playback of the video. Now you need to decide at what time-instants to add the cards. You should use ‘Audience retention’ for the particular video to determine where to add the cards. You will add the YouTube cards at instants where there is a sharp decline in audience retention. Thus when the audience or the viewers tend to leave your video, they would still stick to your channel through another video which in turn would be good for your channel’s growth.

If you don’t see any sharp/sudden decline in audience retention, then add a few cards at your will. Here be sure to place the first card before your average view duration is reached. To know your average view duration visit the ‘Analytics’-overview page. Now to find the ‘Audience retention’ you have to go to ‘Analytics’ page first, then under the ‘Analytics’ tab you will find many sub-tabs/links, you’ll have to click on the ‘Audience retention’ link. At the lower part of this page you’ll see blue links to the videos on your channel. The top videos will remain at the top. Choose the video from here in which you would like to add the cards. The first page of ‘Audience retention’ may not show your desired video, to find that go to the lowest portion of the page and use the tool depicted in the following picture.

YouTube cards

The options you have while adding the cards

Now that you have determined where to add the cards, it’s time to go ahead. While you’re on the ‘YouTube cards’ page, click on the big blue ‘Add card’ link, a drop-down popup menu will unfold. Choose ‘Video or playlist’ if you like to add either of them, or you may choose to promote another channel (owned by you or someone else). Like we said earlier, you can even take polls from audience through a card, or promote a website approved by YouTube.

Whichever you choose just click on the ‘Create’ button next to a particular element and the ‘creation’ procedure will start. In case of ‘Video or playlist’ you will have to choose a particular video to promote, you can choose that from the scrolling down list or by providing the link. In order to add a playlist first you’ll have to switch between tabs showed in the following pic and then choose the playlist or put its link.

YouTube cards

To promote a channel, you’ll have to choose ‘Channel’ instead of ‘Video or playlist’ and provide the link to your desired channel. In case of ‘Polls’ you have to provide the question first and then the options/answers. You can even put your website’s link to promote it. In order to do that first of all you have to get your website approved by YouTube.

How to space the YouTube cards

Now that you have added your ‘YouTube cards’, it’s time to space them apart. You can follow the ‘Audience retention’ graph for this particular video to do the spacing. Suppose you have added two videos and a channel as cards and you have decided them to show up at instants 0:30, 1:00 and 1:30. Now watch the short video to learn how to space them properly at these time-instances.


As you can see from the above video that the last added item/card stays on the top, so you’ll have to deal with (drag and drop) it first. That’s why the ‘channel card’ was dealt with first, by placing it at 1:30 time-instant. Then the second-lastly added card had to be dealt with, which happens to be the second video in our case, this was placed at 1:00 time-instant. Finally we dealt with the first-added item/card and placed it at 0:30 time-instant. One thing to remember is that YouTube cards are most effective when they are not placed very close to one another.

Also my personal suggestion is that you consider your average view duration to place the cards. Suppose your current video duration is 6 minutes like most other videos of your channel. And your average view duration is 2:30 minutes. If I were you, then I would place three cards at 2:15, 3:00 and 4:00 time-instants. That way I would be able to ‘retain’ the audience more towards my channel.

How to identify if YouTube cards are there?

There might be a question now as to how you know whether these cards really have been added to your video. When a video has YouTube cards within it, there is a ‘i’ sign in a white circle in the upper-right corner of the video screen while play-backing/viewing, like in the pic below:

YouTube cards

This special sign is seen right from the beginning. You can click on this icon at anytime to see what YouTube cards this particular video has. You have to scroll down a bit to see all the cards if at least three have been added, like in the following short video:


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