Do you have a YouTube channel?
Looking for ways to keep viewers watching longer?
Tweak the way you set up your YouTube videos will increase the number of views your channel generates and also deliver longer viewing sessions.
In this article, you’ll discover four ways to increase your YouTube watch time.
What Is YouTube Watch Time?
Before October 2012, total number of views was YouTube’s primary factor in ranking videos. However, when YouTube updated their algorithm that same month, watch time became the #1 ranking factor.
Watch time (or audience retention, as it’s popularly called in YouTube analytics) is the total amount of time in aggregate that viewers spend watching your videos. Ideally, videos topping in this metric result in higher overall viewing sessions.
With a boost in watch time, YouTube is more likely to promote your channel through search and recommended videos, which in turn leads to more views.
Create Quality Content
This is a no-brainer, but it still needs to be said. YouTube is full of average content. Don’t produce content that adds to that never-ending library. This stat is pretty mind blowing – every minute, there are 300 hours of video uploaded to YouTube. That tells you how fierce the competition is for watch time, so if you aren’t producing quality content, scratch that, EPIC content, why bother at all? The old adage, “content is king”, doesn’t just apply to written content, such as blogs or articles, it applies to videos, too. So your goal when producing content for YouTube should be to put yourself in the shoes of your viewers and think “what would make me want to stick around and watch this entire video?”
It doesn’t matter what your interests are – it matters what the interests of your target audience are, so always design your content for them, and ensure they will find it both relevant and engaging, otherwise your watch time is going to suffer dearly. If you aren’t delivering value to your viewers on YouTube, your time is best spent on other marketing activities that are going to produce better results. You want content that is going to teach your viewers something, content that is so great they won’t think twice about wanting to share it with their friends and family. The kind of content that stands out from the crowd that is going to boost your watch time and ultimately help boost your rankings in whatever niche you’re targeting.
Maximize On the First 15 Seconds
If you don’t capture your viewers’ attention right off the bat, they are going to lose interest in what you have to say pretty quickly. High bounce rates are bad for business, and will drive your watch time down big time. According to Your Social Voice, on average, the first 30% of videos do a subpar job at capturing the attention of viewers, and that is not a statistic you want your video to fall into. The first 15 seconds of your video need to be engaging, interesting, to the point, and inform your viewers of what they can expect from the rest of your video.
This isn’t the time for long-winded introductions (short and sweet is the best rule of thumb to follow), to talk about yourself, all of your accomplishments, or your business in detail (keep the branding at the end of the video if it’s going to be more than a few seconds long). Remember this video is for your viewers, and if it doesn’t provide value to them, they will have zero interest in it, so you need to stick with that mindset with every video you make. All of your videos should maintain the same overall message and tone of your channel for consistency. If you can hook your audience within the first 15 seconds, your watch time is going to benefit.
Have Relevant Titles & Thumbnails That Aren’t Misleading
When people are searching for videos on YouTube, the first thing they are going to see for any video is the title and thumbnail. So it is critical both are relevant and compelling, otherwise what reason do people have to click on your video, versus all of your extremely fierce competition? You need something that is going to entice them, something that is going to pull them in, but also something that isn’t misleading at the same time. The absolute worst thing you can do is trick people into watching your YouTube videos. A high click rate means nothing if you also have a high bounce rate to go with it, especially considering you are likely to be reported by the viewer for misleading content.
Consider this fact – there are 1 billion mobile video views on YouTube every single day, with the average time per mobile session spanning a whopping 40 minutes. So the thumbnail you choose for your video should be responsive on both desktop and mobile devices to ensure you’re capturing as much of that mobile traffic as possible. In addition to having a relevant and compelling title and an engaging thumbnail, don’t forget to write a description, which will be displayed directly underneath your video in search results. Here is a good example from Margin Media of titles and thumbnails that match up perfectly with the actual content of the videos:
Keep a Close Eye On Your Analytics
You need to keep a close eye on the Audience Retention report for every video you upload to your YouTube channel. This will enable you to see if there are any trends as to what point of time your audience is dropping off from the videos you are uploading so you can make adjustments as necessary, versus operating in the blind, so to speak. You can access the Audience Retention report by logging into your YouTube account, selecting your account in the top right and clicking on Creator Studio, then on the left selecting Analytics then Audience Retention. To view the Audience Retention report for individual videos you have uploaded, simply click on the name of the video then play the video to see how different parts are performing. For more information on this report, visit: https://support.google.com/youtube/answer/1715160?hl=en.
In the below example of an Audience Retention report from Vidooly, you can see most of the audience is dropping off between 0 and 45 seconds and at around the 3 minute 44 second mark.
Buy YouTube Video Watch Time product
- YouTube is the most popular video platform on earth. Millions of videos have been uploaded and shared on YouTube, ranging from movie trailers to amateur videos of cats and everything in between.
- Watch time per session refers to how much time someone spends in a single session on your video. Longer watch time per session increases the visibility of your video on YouTube.
- Apply to earn money through the YouTube Partner Program after receiving a minimum of 4,000 watch hours and 1,000 YouTube subscribers in the previous 12 months.
- Increase your video ranking on YouTube. Watch time or watch hours is the #1 ranking factor in YouTube algorithm. It accounts for 85% weight in YouTube ranking algorithm.
- With a boost in watch hours, YouTube is more likely to promote your channel through search and recommended videos which in turn leads to more views.
YouTube Analytics is a treasure trove of actionable insights that you can use to improve your videos and grow your channel.
It might look intimidating at first, but it just takes a simple overview to help you on your way to mastering YouTube data analysis and taking full advantage of all the amazing features and intel.
Remember, YouTube’s algorithm heavily rewards high Watch Time and Audience Retention. So the best wisdom we can impart is to keep your viewers engaged and coming back for more.
This is a constant process that should never stop – even if you’re smashing your goals left and right. The top-performers on YouTube are always digging into their YouTube Analytics metrics to see what’s working, what’s not, and how to bridge the gaps.
Which metric on this list have you found most useful? Let us know in the comments