How To Increase Audience Retention on YouTube
Audience retention is one of your most important stats on YouTube. It is even more important than your view count. Your view count really only tells you how many people are finding and clicking on your videos, not whether they are actually watching them. Audience retention refers to how much of a video a viewer watches before clicking away, which is very useful information to have. If you know when people are leaving your videos then you know what you need to work on.
5 Ways To Increase Your Audience Retention
1.Compare your videos against each other. Using YouTube’s Audience Retention Report you will be able to see a percentage representing the retention rates of your individual videos. If you have one that performs better than others then consider what you did differently in that video and try to replicate the technique in the future.
2.Jump right into your main point. One of the best ways to lose a viewer is to ramble and make them wait for you to deliver on the content promised by the title of your video.
3.Change is good. Audiences will be more engaged with a video where the screen changes often. A video of you delivering information, interspersed with footage of a demonstration or scenery, will have higher retention than one where all viewers see is you sitting and talking. Including movement, ‘b roll’ footage, or graphics like pop-up text will help to keep people interested. Too much of exactly the same frame will bore viewers and cause them to click away.
4.Make shorter videos. Longer videos can perform very well for popular YouTubers, or in niche genres like gaming, but in general people will watch more of your video if it is shorter. A viewer watching three minutes of a ten minute video is not equally valuable to a viewer finishing a three minute video. Besides the negative impact on your retention stats, the viewer’s behavior after they leave your video in these two scenarios is likely to be different. The viewer who finished the three minute video probably enjoyed it up until the end and there is a good chance they will click on another of your videos. The viewer who clicked away from your ten minute video less than half way through was probably bored. This person is unlikely to consume more of your content.
5.Tease your viewers. Although you should not make people wait for your main point, it is fine to promise a special tip or fun outtake later on in a video to keep people watching for it.
Audience Retention Report
YouTube will produce reports to help you keep track of your audience retention. There are two types of audience retention reports; absolute and relative. Absolute allows you to view a graph of your video’s retention and see when people might be clicking away, or if they are skipping to later parts of your video. If you lose a lot of viewers in the first 15 seconds of your videos then that is a clear indication that your content is not what the viewers who find your videos really want. The relative report is where your video is compared to the average retention of similar videos.
Note that by ‘similar videos’, YouTube means videos of a similar length. There is no way to compare your videos only to other videos in your genre. The relative report will always be somewhat skewed because your videos will be measured against very different content.
To see an audience retention report log into your YouTube account and go to your Creator Studio. There, select Audience Retention under Analytics.
Audience Retention and SEO
Audience retention can help you rank higher in YouTube’s search results. One of the most important factors for YouTube ranking is Watch Time, which is related to audience retention. Watch time is a measurement of how much time a viewer spends on YouTube as a result of your video. This includes time spent watching your video, but also factors in whether the user found and watched other videos as a result of clicking on yours. Increasing your audience retention will have a positive effect on your video’s watch time despite not being the only factor.
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