How to Improve Viewer Retention On YouTube

There are a lot of things to consider when reviewing the performance of your YouTube videos. But arguably one of the most important metrics is viewer retention (or sometimes known as audience retention). You may be wondering, “what is viewer retention and why should I care?”. Viewer retention is the average amount that viewers made it through your video (e.g. a viewer retention rate of 50% means that viewers made it through half of your video on average).

So why is audience retention important? First and foremost, it’s a crucial metric to pay attention to if you want to understand what your audience is looking for, what is working in your videos, and where you can improve. Secondly, viewer retention is also an important metric in the eyes of the YouTube algorithm. A video with a higher viewer retention rate is more likely to rank higher on the YouTube search results page. Note that viewer retention is not the only factor that YouTube is considering when ranking, but a higher retention rate certainly does help!

Now that you understand the importance of your viewer retention rate, it’s time to discuss how to increase retention rate. There are some tips and tricks that are going to work really well for some video types and not as well for others, but the following are 6 foolproof ways that you can increase your retention rate regardless of the type of content you produce.

1. Review Your Video Analytics

YouTube gathers data on every video you post. You can see how many people view your video, engagement with your video (comments, likes, shares, etc.), subscriber growth, and so much more. These data points tell a story of how well your videos are doing and where you can improve. 

If you’re looking to increase your viewer retention, take a look at your analytics to find the videos that top the list and the videos at the bottom. Before you start making any conclusions based on this top and bottom list, it’s important to consider the total number of views as well. Your top video in terms of viewer retention may only have a handful of views so far and all of those views happened to be full watches. This will skew the viewer retention of that piece of content to be artificially high. So, be sure that you’re giving yourself a holistic view of the video data when considering the viewer retention rate – it may make sense to remove some outliers on either end.

Once you’ve got your slimmed-down list of your top and worst performing videos, make a list of the differences between them. Is it related to content? Are there differences in quality? Do your viewers seem to gravitate towards a certain length of video? By identifying these features, you can make a checklist of things to include in your videos moving forward so that you’ll be more likely to increase your audience retention as you create more content.

2. Hook Viewers Quickly

The average view duration on YouTube is about 50-60%, but all it takes is a small group of viewers to only watch 10% of your video for your viewer retention rate to tank. So how do you prevent viewers from leaving in the first 10-20%? It’s all about your video hook. 

Viewers’ attention spans are short. They’ve got access to endless amounts of content, so if you don’t hook them in the first few seconds, they’ll move on to the next. Grabbing the attention of your viewers can come in many different forms. You may give a sneak peek at what info is coming up in the rest of the video. You can start off with something shocking that you promise to explain as the video goes on. You can tug at the heartstrings of your viewers. Whatever hook makes sense for your video, just be sure that it’s accurate and that you can deliver on the promise made in the first few seconds. That way, you hook the audience and then also keep them engaged.

3. Keep Viewers Engaged

Speaking of keeping the audience engaged, another important aspect of increasing your viewer retention is keeping your viewers watching throughout the video. A lot of content creators focus on the hook, and, as we mentioned above, the hook is very important. But you also need to be sure that your content in the middle of the video is just as engaging. Your hook does you no good if people drop off 30-40% of the way through your video.

4. Be Concise

The number one killer of viewer retention is videos that are too long. Now, note that we said “too long” not just “long”. Longform videos can have incredible audience retention rates, depending on the content and who posted the video. Whether your video is 1 minute or 20, it’s important to only include the necessary content. If you’re not sure if something should be included or cut, you can always put it in another video. That way you’ll keep your first video concise and also have another idea for a new piece of content.

5. Be Consistent

Staying consistent with when you post, how often you post, and what to expect from your videos will help to boost your viewer retention rates. Viewers like to know what to expect and when they have their expectations met, they’re more likely to stay engaged. That’s not to say that you need to keep formatting of your videos identical every time. In fact, it’s proven that switching up visuals can help to keep users engaged. 

Rather, be consistent with your content. If you typically post financial tips, you probably won’t get a high viewer retention rate on a video about fashion. If a new topic corresponds with what you typically post but isn’t exactly aligned, try it out as a test, but be sure to pay close attention to your YouTube analytics.

6. Create High-Quality Videos

Last but not least for how to increase retention rate is the quality of your videos. Are viewers having trouble seeing you because of poor lighting? Can they not hear properly because of improper sound equipment? The first step in a successful video is the quality.

If you’re not sure how to make a good YouTube video, then you’ve come to the right place! We’re the experts! We can help make your viewer retention dreams a reality with high-quality, creative videos that are sure to grab and hold your viewers’ attention. Send us a message or give us a call at 831-824-9660 to get started today!

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