How to Create Call-to-Action Overlays on YouTube [VIDEO]

Call-to-Action Overlays are a great way to generate free traffic to your website. Here is a tutorial that explains how to make the Call-to-Action Overlay available in YouTube in the first place and how to set them up correctly. Call-to-Action Overlays appear at the bottom left corner of a video and redirect people to any URL upon clicking.

Here is a brief video tutorial and there is also a written guide with screenshots below.

A Call-to-Action Overlay can include a 74×74 logo (optional), a 25 character headline, a display URL, and appears both on videos used for YouTube ads as well as regular YouTube videos.

Getting Started

To get started you need to log in your AdWords account and go in the video campaign overview:

call to action overlay

This option is not available if you have never created a video campaign. So if you don’t see “All video campaigns” on the bottom left, simply create a new video campaign.

Note: Call-to-Action Overlays need a video campaign in AdWords to work! That does not mean that you have to run that campaign, all ADS CAN STAY PAUSED. Creating those ads will merely make the Call to Action Overlay tab appear in YouTube, so whether you are running the campaign you are creating or not is irrelevant. As long as the campaign is there – paused or active – and set up the way described below, your Call to Action Overlays will show up for both regular videos and also video ads should you decide to have some of them active.

Should you not see “All video campaigns” on the bottom left, create a new video campaign by clicking on “+ CAMPAIGN” and then on “Online video.”

call to action overlays

The next step is to link Youtube and AdWords (if you haven’t done so already) by clicking on “Linked YouTube Accounts” below “All video campaigns” and “Shared library”:

call to action overlay

AdWords will then ask you to find the channel you want to link to by inserting the URL of a video that is hosted on that channel:

call to action overlay

Last but not least, select the method that you want to use to link the accounts depending on who owns the channel:

Image 6

Ad Creation

You need to create one ad message for each of the videos that you want to use Call-to-Action Overlays for. As mentioned earlier, Call-to-Action Overlays do not require that you run the video ads, just that you create them. Feel free to keep them paused as long as you are creating a video ads for each video you want to have a Call-to-Action Overlay for.

Once you created the ads, feel free to go ahead and pause them right then and there if you are not planning to run any YouTube ads right now. You can decide to never run any ad but still get access to call to action overlays only for organic views.

You can create a new video ad by clicking on an existing video campaign or creating a new one and then clicking on “+ VIDEO AD”:

Image 7

Creating the Call-to-Action Overlay

Go over to YouTube and go to your Creator Studio:

Image 8

You now need to click on “Edit” for the first video that you created a video ad for (the process is the same for every other video):

Image 9

The video editing section will now display the Call-to-Action Overlay tab:

Image 10

You can now create your Call-to-Action Overlay which includes a headline, a display URL, and a destination URL for all videos that have been used as a video ad.

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Christina Baldassarre is a brand strategist, entrepreneur, and speaker. She is best known for being Managing Partner at ZebraAdvertisement. She was shortlisted for Best Use of Social Media in a Search Campaign by the US and European Search Awards and is a two-time Google Partners All-Stars Competition Winner. Clients include Facebook, Microsoft, Bing, Google, Yellow Pages, Thomson Reuters, and over 6000 businesses of all sizes.

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2 thoughts on “How to Create Call-to-Action Overlays on YouTube [VIDEO]”

  1. Dan Izycki says:

    Regarding Call-to-Action Overlays can the destination URL be an affiliate link? Does Youtube allow this or is it not permitted?

    1. Christina Baldassarre says:

      Hey Dan,

      We have seen affiliate links getting approved and disapproved, so my recommendation would be to give it a shot. We asked YouTube for an official statement regarding that several times but never heard back. We also reached out to our contacts at YouTube and AdWords but nobody wanted to say anything specific. This leads me to believe that this is a lovely gray area for now 🙂

      Best wishes to you and your family for 2016!

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