YouTube's Associated Website Link Annotation feature and new agreement with Virgin America help brands increase site traffic.

YouTube wants to be everyone’s top online video channel. The social site has recently made great strides toward that gain by unveiling new features and partnerships that make it easier for internet users to access branded content.

With the social video network’s new Associated Website Link Annotation feature, marketers can publish video content with clickable links within the footage. While YouTube has allowed these links to appear for some time now, the annotations were only eligible to lead to internal pages. However, YouTube now allows marketers to develop video marketing campaigns that take advantage of the social site’s reach, while also allowing brands to guide viewers to ecommerce pages directly through the visual content clips.

Of course, in order for brands to benefit from YouTube’s new feature, they must become part of the site’s partner program. This requires companies to verify that their channels are official representations of their brands, which can be done through the site’s settings feature. Brands that insert clickable annotations into their custom content are able to drive YouTube traffic from branded channels directly to company websites. While the advantages of having a well-maintained YouTube presence are well known, the social site’s recent partnership with Virgin America Airlines shows it’s got even bigger aspirations.

YouTube SkyGoogle announced that it signed a deal with Virgin America Airlines to provide in-flight YouTube videos to passengers as part of the available entertainment package. But rather than offer access to the full YouTube library, Google will feature videos from several popular series, which hopefully drives traffic to the site. Brands may be able to advertise their products or services in-between video clips, also taking advantage of YouTube’s new entertainment offerings.

“Bringing YouTube aboard Virgin America is part of a larger effort to bring you more of the videos you love, at heights you’ve never seen them before,” Google YouTube marketing manager Kate Berland wrote in a company blog post. “Sample these great series on your flight, and then visit YouTube to enjoy the full seasons.”

The service will be limited to Virgin America flights in the United States and Mexico. Google may have additional deals in the works, so YouTube content may be available on more flights in the near future.

Ted Karczewski is an Executive Communications Associate at Brafton. He works to develop his own voice and apply his passions to the evolving world of SEO and content marketing, but he doesn't shy away from writing for fun. After graduating from Suffolk University, Ted used his Communications degree to test out Sports Journalism before Marketing at Brafton.