YouTube quietly announced that it will stop showing all existing annotations starting January 15, 2019.
Annotations were retired in May 2017. Users haven’t been able to create or edit annotations since then, but existing annotations were still shown to desktop viewers.
That will no longer be the case after January 15th.
Video creators typically used annotations as calls-to-action, directing users to other videos or links to other web pages.
The problem with annotations is that they never worked on mobile devices.
As more of YouTube’s viewership shifted to mobile devices, annotations started to become irrelevant.
In addition, YouTube had created more interactive in-video elements such as cards and end screens, which further lessened the appeal of annotations.
The use of annotations was rapidly declining since the introduction of cards and end screens.
By this point, those who stuck with annotations until the bitter end have likely grown accustomed to using one of the alternatives.
Viewers have also gotten used to seeing richer and more visually appealing calls-to-action while watching videos.
Annotations have reached relic-status, and will soon become a thing of the past altogether.