YouTube has done a lot to change how links are handled in videos in the past year or so. Not long ago, annotations were dropped for in-video links and end screens. Now, YouTube is preparing to kill off in-video links as well.

In-video links pop-up in the middle of videos when creators have them set up. In theory, they’re a handy way to promote a video or playlist relevant to what is being discussed in the video, or even things like a livestream. However, basically no one actually clicked on them.

Speaking to Engadget, YouTube says that a mere 1 in 20 people clicked on these in-video links, and many of those links led to videos or live streams there weren’t there anymore. Many users apparently felt that it was spam.

To clarify exactly what’s happening here, YouTube is referring to “Featured content.” Those are the small options that can be displayed at the end of a video or at a custom time according to the discretion of the user. You can see an example in the screenshot below.

Thankfully, end screens and cards are sticking around. That allows creators to push other video content and subscriptions on multiple platforms, and YouTube even says those are more effective in the long run.

Removing the in-video links is undoubtedly going to ruffle a few feathers. Quite often creators used these links to highlight other videos in the middle of another, even pointing them out while on camera. Regardless, dropping this clearly underused feature is going to benefit viewers who will no longer have their viewing experience interrupted by another pop-up.

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Ben Schoon

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