Cards are all the rage in digital circles it seems, so YouTube has jumped on the bandwagon adding a cards feature as a way of creating greater interaction.
Think of cards as ways to add information to another piece of information. For example, Twitter Cards allow you to add a video to a tweet and WordPress supports plugins that allow you to add cards to widgets and sidebars so that information supporting other information comes to life.
With YouTube’s version of cards, you can embed a call to action that urges the viewer to click for more info. It’s kind of annotations, but in my opinion a lot more engaging. You can create card types for merchandise, fundraising, video, playlist, associated website and fan funding.
To add cards to your video open the video and click on the i circle icon and choose to add a type of card at the appropriate place in the video.
For merchandise, an author might use a book trailer and have a card pointing to the book’s website. A video, playlist of associated website might allow you to create a series of videos and prompt the viewer to watch the next in the series or check out a course sales page. (To point your card to a website the site must be associated with the YouTube account via advanced channel settings. My guess is this a good thing from a Google SEO world anyway.)
There are other tools that allow you to add overlays and other calls to action but native YouTube features just seem to make sense to me.
In the example, above I’ve linked a series of educational videos to a course they are drawn from but also linked them together so a viewer would go through the entire series much like a playlist. You can check out an example of YouTube cards in action here
You can check out the help topics on Google Cards here.