You munch the last of your popcorn and slurp the final drops of soda as you lean forward in the comfy theater seat for a climactic conclusion. The final scene fades to FIN in big, silvery cursive lettered across the black screen. Red velvet curtains draw across the stage, and the movie has ended. Fin! Finito! Done-zo! No matter the format, every filmic creation includes something to signal its conclusion. On YouTube, we can use a handy end screen specifically made for the end of videos. These tools provide neat ways to remind your viewers of what the video discussed. They also give you another chance to promote content beyond that individual video.
What is an end screen?
An end screen is a clickable box added to your video through the Creator Studio. They can only be included for the last 5–20 seconds of your video, but there are many opportunities for personalization within that range. You can decide how long the end screens appear, as well as their size and location on screen. They look like transparent rectangles filled with whatever content you wish to promote; they light up if a cursor passes over them, providing a visual cue urging people to click ahead.
There are four actions you can promote through end screens. You can encourage viewers to hit that sweet subscribe button — an obvious choice — or you can ask them to visit another website. Typically used for crowdfunding or merchandise, that website must be officially associated with your channel before you can link to it via the end screen. You can also link to another YouTube channel, which is great for promoting your collaborators.
End screens provide a neat conclusion to each video, helping you appear more polished and professional.
Finally, you can use the end screen to promote another video or playlist from your own channel. For this option, you can either choose a specific video, your most recent upload, or a YouTube-selected video to best suit that individual user. Given the efficacy of YouTube algorithms to keep people watching, I’m personally a fan of the last one to suggest something based on the viewer’s content preferences.
Promoting your channel
Overall, the end screen is a great way to promote more content while reminding viewers of other links and content you referenced in the video. They also provide a neat conclusion to each video, helping you appear more polished and professional. No matter what kind of content you make, it’s handy to include goal-posts so the viewer knows what to expect: a consistent ending helps build trust so the viewer knows what to expect from your channel.
Similar to making room in your scripts for in-video ads, you can make an end screen more effective by including verbal calls to action. You can monitor this through your analytics tab, but people are much more likely to click on something if they have both visual and audio cues. It’s up to you to figure out the most natural way to incorporate that for your content!
End screens also smooth the use of an old-school YouTube trick: It’s always best to make a call to action at the end of a video, rather than the beginning or middle. Let people watch the video without distracting them! Once the content is wrapping up, that’s the perfect time to remind folks that you have fresh t-shirts or a new curated cat playlist they need to check out.
Or like, whatever else fits your channel! The most important thing will be choosing relevant things to promote. Anything that doesn’t fit for the end screen can just be a link in the description box. End screens are best used for promoting more of your own work.
End screen best practices
While you’re crafting these finales, it’s good to consider whether the end screens will play over the continuing video, or if you have a specific outro that’s consistent across your content. Regardless of that choice, there are some design aspects to ponder.
End screens will change position based on the device that the viewer uses. That means an end screen might appear differently if the viewer watches your video on a desktop computer versus a tablet. With that in mind, it’s best not to have an identified place for the end screens to reside.
End screens are best used for promoting more of your own work.
For example, a fancy outro with spots dedicated to the different end screens might not work as well across devices as a simpler design. If the end screens just play over the continuing video, you might look a bit silly if you ask people to hit that subscribe over *there* when the end screen is actually positioned over *here*.
With all of these handy tools at your disposal, you can use end screens to engage your audience in new ways in no time!