One of the most important goals of any avid YouTuber is – increasing the watch time of their videos. Watch-Time is nothing but the amount of time spent by users on a YouTube video. It is the number one ranking factor that affects your video and decides the success of your YouTube channel.
Importance of ‘Watch Time’
The YouTube search algorithm works in such a way that videos which keep viewers hooked till the very end tend to rank much higher in search results, thus resulting in higher CPMs. And with YouTube’s newly released YouTube Red Subscription service, watch time is more important than ever. Income that a channel gets from YouTube Red will be devided based on watch time, not views. According to YouTube, the creators’income from ad-free playback of videos on YouTube red will be determined by the watch time. So, longer a viewer watches your videos, higher your revenues will be.
Since ‘watch time’ as a metric is so important, it needs to be at the top of your mind when you’re creating content for your channel. In this blog we list down 5 useful tips that can help increase the watch time of your videos:
1.Study the analytics
Keep a close watch on the Audience Retention report for all of your videos. (Creator Studio->Audience Retention->Select Video button below the graph->Select any video)
By analyzing the Audience Retention graph, you can find out at what point of time the audience is dropping off from the video. For instance, in the image below you can see that majority of the audience is dropping off at the beginning of the video (between 0 and 45 seconds) and at around 3 minute 44 seconds.
What you can infer from this-
– The title and thumbnail of the video must be misleading. People are landing on the video and dropping off right at the beginning after realizing that they aren’t seeing what they wanted to.
– At around 3:44 people are losing interest in the video. You can tackle this issue by adding an annotation to a related video or another playlist of your channel.
2.Thumbnails stand out from the crowd
Be creative with your thumbnails as much as possible. Make your thumbnails stand out from the crowd by breaking the clutter. Design your Thumbnail in such a way as to arouse the curiosity of the viewers and force them into thinking about what that video could be about or how it ended. Here, you could use a freeze snap from your video which is highly dynamic and rates high on visual delight.
Say you got a channel on adventure sports and feature a video on bungee jumping then it will be but obvious to choose a snap cut from the “Jumping”-motion. So in the process, the viewer might as well get hooked on to see till the end of the video. All in all, make the thumbnails click –happy!
Note: Don’t use an unrelated yet attractive thumbnail just to get clicks. You might get a lot of clicks, but just like in the example shown above, you will see a major drop off right at the beginning of the video affecting the watch time.
Read More: How to optimise your YouTube Thumbnails
3. Announcements & Freebies
Hey well, just so you know, it’s no crime to bribe Your Audience with a little extra. Make important and special announcements like offers about some product or news about your next video right at the beginning of the video in order to hook the audience right at the start. Remember the first 15 seconds of the videos are very crucial as maximum audience drops off during this period.
Apart from this if you are doing a How –To-Series , then you could very well put in snippets of your past and future videos through creative annotations right at the beginning or at the end of the video to maximise on the length of your video. Hence, You should be able to promote your ‘other’ videos through your end cards.
4. Use your Playlist to your advantage
Organize similar content into a series of videos. This not only improves the viewers’experience by guiding them in a meaningful way, they will also watch more of your videos per session increasing the overall watch time. Use annotation in between your videos and link them to these Playlists to enhance ‘watch-time’. However, always remember to put your Playlist annotation in the middle or at the fag end of your videos. (This is primarily because in the first five seconds of the video, psychologically a viewer is only interested in the video clicked and any deviation from that video will only lead to traffic loss. It’s the mid-length where most of the viewers click away and you need to capitalise this time frame)
The boost in clicks will automatically be picked up by the YouTube algorithm which will start showing your videos on other search related suggestions as well. Thus, playlists can also indirectly help increase the visibility of your videos.
5. Shorter Videos
Yeah, that’s right, barring certain content where time consumption is inevitable, you can always snip and craft your content which is short and simple. Yes, time for a quickie. This is mainly because YouTube consumption on mobile is picking up pace rapidly and most consumers would not want to exhaust their precious data on a 10-minute long video. They would rather watch a 1 -3-minute video which consumes less of the data comparatively.
Some more tips:
Besides these main pointers, there are a few other ideas that can help increase the watch time.
Keep the audience informed: Sometimes, requesting your viewers to stick around for some more time actually works! If you’re planning to cover multiple topics in a single video, let the viewers know what what to expect. If you’re planning something exciting for the end of the video, let the viewers know or at least give them a hint.
Keep the beginnings short and sweet: A video that starts with a lot of explanation/introduction is a strict no-no. The attention spans of the users these days is short and they can get bored easily. Long winded introductions or irrelevant content should to be trimmed.
Be creative: Introduce an ending ritual which keeps changing with every video just to add a dash of fun element in all your videos. Loyal subscribers will start waiting for these fun endings.
One of the best ways to increase the watch time of your videos is to build a loyal fan following. Loyal subscribers will always watch your videos for a higher duration than the others. And Vidooly can be a great tool to build fan engagement.
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Subrat is the CEO and co-founder at Vidooly. A passionate Entrepreneur by heart, he oversees the product and marketing strategy at Vidooly.