Google announced recently – or rather quietly updated a YouTube help page from years ago – that all existing annotations that were created before the annotations editor was discontinued will be removed from videos by early next year.
Back in May of 2017, Google discontinued the annotations editor due to creators putting an unreasonable amount of annotations on their video uploads. These colored blocks caused viewing to become obstructed and, quite frankly, laborious – videos looked disorganised, and the pop-ups were distracting.
However, these annotations were a convenient method for video creators to advertise their other content or favorite products or anything else that they wanted to share with
To answer these needs in a less-obtrusive manner, Google introduced cards and end screens in 2016, both of which are still used today. Cards are more cleanly designed pop-ups that appear in the top corner at designated points in a video. Tapping on this can open up a menu of additional links, videos, polls, and more all in an organised fashion.
Alternatively, end screens are a fairly self-explanatory interface option: users can choose that a screen shows up at the end of their video which can feature basically anything they want to highlight – channels, products, even more links.
Both of these work on the mobile platform as well, unlike annotations, and generate seven times more clicks across the platform. Annotations, on the other hand, were far more often closed than they were tapped, so when all are removed as of Jan 15 of next year, it's unlikely anyone will be heartbroken.