How to Include Clickable Links to Your Website inside Your YouTube Videos

by Michael

If you have a YouTube video which gets considerable amount of views everyday, then you can improve your CTR with this method. In a YouTube video – usually we are allowed to include links only to other YouTube videos or links to Channel or subscribe page. This is usually done using the annotation feature.

But this method will allow you to add external links inside the video! Usually we get traffic from YouTube videos through the link in the description and as we all video marketers know, the CTR is very low in that case. To quench your curiosity, let me show you how it looks…

In the above picture you can see an overlay in my YouTube video. This is called a ‘Call-to-Action’ overlay. You can also add a thumbnail image in this overlay which would be more effective. When a user clicks on this overlay he or she will be redirected to the URL of your choice.

To enter the call to action overlay details you need to go to your ‘Video Manager’ and click on Edit in the corresponding video. You will get a tab named Call to Action Overlay in the settings like shown below. You can enter all the details here and your overlay will be ready to rock.

Now if you go to your YouTube account and do the same, you will not find the call to action overlay feature enabled in your video yet.

Activating the Call to Action Overlay Feature

To activate the CTA Overlay feature you need an adwords account. You should promote your YouTube video to get the feature. But do not worry, you need not pay anything for the campaign. You can setup a very low budget campaign – like $1 per day, let it run for a few days and then pause the campaign. Until you completely delete the campaign, your CTA Overlay would be active. Actually you will get this feature as soon as you setup your campaign. You need not even wait for the ad to be approved and start running.

If you login into your adwords account, you can see a link ‘All Video Campaigns’ in the bottom-left corner. Open the page and click new video campaign as shown below.

YouTube gives this special privilege to the videos which are being promoted but the special advantage is that this overlay links are displayed even when the video is being viewed from other sources of traffic. So if one of your videos went viral or gets a good amount of views from YouTube internal search or through Google search, then this is a good opportunity to redirect more of that traffic to your own squeeze page or blog.

Hope you found this method useful. I would recommend that you setup tracking for your links with your tracking system of choice or something as simple as URL shortener and see what kind of text in the overlay gives you the maximum CTR. There is no golden rule for copywriting except testing it.

Awaiting your comments and feedback!

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Robert Blake May 15, 2012 at 3:20 am

Thanks Deepak. You saved me five bucks on a current WSO that offers this method.
Very generous of you indeed.


Michael May 15, 2012 at 3:22 am

You are welcome :)

I did not even buy that WSO. Many people have explained it in their blogs already. I have been applying this method for more than a year now and getting a lot of free clicks from my own video assets!


John MacConnell May 15, 2012 at 5:42 am

Many thanks, Deepak! First, you saved me $5.00 – but more than that, your instructions let loose a flood of ideas on how to use this in my marketing. Generous, yes – and I am grateful. But even more grateful for the flood of ideas that came to me. Best thanks for that.


Michael May 15, 2012 at 7:09 am

Thanks for the comment. Feels good to be blogging on topics like these. Whatever you need to know about video marketing, let me know and I will make a blog post about it.


Mario Bruneau May 15, 2012 at 1:57 pm

Hey Deepak,

Thanks a lot for this.

Video Marketing… Yeah, I’ve been publishing videos on YouTube and DailyMotion for a while but don’t know too much about optimizing them for Video Marketing.

Posts like yours today really help me in that direction.



Michael May 15, 2012 at 2:54 pm

Thanks. I have created a video version of this post which I will be posting soon!


Don Vance June 2, 2012 at 2:17 am

Why can I not find the …..need to go to your ‘Video Manager’ and click on Edit in the corresponding video. You will get a tab named Call to Action Overlay in the settings???

Where is my video manager that I can find the call to action overlay button? I can only find it without that button on YouTube?? Sorry? Help!


Michael June 2, 2012 at 2:31 am

Please go through the tutorial again. You will get that tab only if you setup a campaign for that video in adwords!


Simon January 11, 2013 at 3:47 am

Thanks for the clear and interesting video. One minor suggestion: with people racing like maniacs to extract the vital information, few take the time to actually read/listen, hence the various comments from people who started acting before listening to the entire video, and thus missed key steps. For example, at 1:00 you say: “you need to go to your ‘Web Manager’ [transcript says 'Video'] and click on Edit in the corresponding video.” but only later (1:31) “To activate the CTA Overlay feature you need an adwords account.”. To avoid confusion, this needs switching round. For info, not having an adwords acct yet, I’ve not tried your method out.


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