If you've landed here, you've probably been scouring the internet to figure out how to grow your YouTube fast enough to start bringing in the money.
Trying to figure out YouTube's growth mechanics can be a game of cat and mouse. You think you've got it, but then you're back at square one...
The worst part is it's not so much the mechanics, but how your content should appeal to the Holy YouTube Algorithm.
It's not easy to go viral overnight or pick up 100,000 subscribers from a single video. But, there is a way you can get there…
It's going to take some effort, and I'm sure at this point, you've realized that consistent growth is the key. Even if you had one viral video, it's not enough.
One of the main ways you can start bringing in more views everyone's after is by paying attention to your analytics, specifically, your audience retention.
Audience retention is one part of the Holy Trinity regarding what YouTube's algorithm looks for:
The Trinity is as follows:
- Click-Through Rate
- Audience Retention
Ensuring that you are focusing on these three metrics is what will guide your YouTube channel to success.
We will discuss 4 ways to use the audience retention graph to grow your channel so you can reach these numbers.
1: Look For The Dips In The Intro
Dips can reveal where you mess up.
Once a user clicks on your video after stopping to click on the thumbnail, they have a set expectation for your video.
For example, let's say you create an eyecatching thumbnail and a fire title that gets 12% of the users that saw your video to click-through.
However, once they click on the video and watch it for 30 seconds, they realize that it is complete trash and has nothing to do with the topic presented in the title and thumbnail.
Naturally, the viewer will usually click back to the home screen or the search page and look for another video that fulfills their needs.
You need to be fulfilling viewers' expectations right away once they click on the video.
That is why most successful channels implement short 3-4 second introductions then jump STRAIGHT into the content without any fluff.
If you disappoint your viewer, you will see the line in your audience retention graph drop, then continue dropping gradually as the video progresses.
Every video will have a drop in retention naturally, so don't be discouraged if you see it in all of your retention graphs. However, you should see a dip that continues to dip aggressively.
That is why we tell beginner YouTubers NEVER to add more than 3-4 second intros. We don't care how cool the intro is; viewers will skip the introduction, which will cause your audience retention to drop.
The viewer didn't click on the video to watch the intro; they clicked to watch the content you promised to deliver.
If you're going to add an intro to your prerecorded content, the sole purpose of using it will be to brand your channel quickly, nothing else.
We only think long intros are suitable for the channel when you decide to do live streams, especially if you already have a loyal fanbase. The intro will hype the viewers and present them with a video to watch as they're waiting for the stream to begin.
That's the ONLY situation where we support drawn-out intros.
2: You Can See Steep Dips In The Middle Of Your Videos
Have you noticed that sometimes your video will dip in viewership at a certain point? The chances are that you are presenting something that causes the audience to skip through a particular section.
This usually will occur when you present the advertisement for too long.
If you're going to advertise your services or sponsor a brand, make sure the segment is short.
If you watch how Linus Tech Tips plugs their products, you will realize how quick and straight to the point it is. For example, if Linus wants to promote his water bottle product, he will quickly mention what he's selling, including humor, and then move back to the topic.
If you drag it out too much, your graphs will look like this…
This advice usually only applies to beginners. However, as your channel grows, you will receive more affiliate opportunities, especially if your audience fits the advertiser's ideal demographic.
Sometimes, the affiliate will force you to present the advertisement for some time to get all the information across, causing your retention to suffer. However, the tradeoff to this is making money or attracting new leads.
However, once your channel grows big, you will notice that audience retention for specific videos will not matter as much as it used to.
If you want to avoid all of your videos from dropping in audience retention from an advertisement, you could always use this scheduling method:
- First Day: Discoverable Content - Content that is likely to get lots of watch time, viewers, and subscribers. The sole purpose is to attract new viewers to your channel.
- Second Day: Sales Content - Content integrates certain aspects of discoverable content. The main goal is to either attract new leads to your products/services or promote an affiliate (The best example is Alpha M.)
- Third-Day: Live Streaming - Content that focuses on communicating with your audience, presenting large amounts of information/entertainment, or collaborating with other YouTubers.
(Repeat for 3 more days.)
- Extra: YouTube Shorts - Throw in daily or a couple of shorts per week. Make sure to have your shorts conclude with a call to action telling viewers to watch an old video you posted (with an end screen card).
You don't have to copy this schedule, but it's a general guideline as to how most successful YouTubers present their message while making money in the process.
3: Spikes In The Audience Retention Graph
If you see a spike in the audience retention graph, it means that viewers went back to watch a specific section of the video.
When you see spikes like this, ALWAYS make sure to go back and analyze why this happened and take a mental note of it.
For example, let's say you were presenting important facts about generating more crypto, and you mentioned some super-secret loophole that can generate 100x more Bitcoin.
In this situation, the viewer will watch this section, listen to the information, and scroll back to absorb the information again.
Once the viewer skips back to the section, the audience retention graph will record the information. If a group of viewers skips back to watch the section again, the data for the exciting section will compound and show up as a spike.
These spikes can reveal a lot of important information. First, it can tell you that the viewers enjoyed the video section, giving you future topic ideas.
If you're running a channel that mainly focuses on streaming, you could go back and use the spikes to create content.
The graph is literally doing the work for you. So use it!
4: Audience Percentage Numbers
This is a straight-to-the-point tip!
Your scripted videos that are typically 5-15 minutes should be reaching on average about 50% and above.
If it doesn't reach this number, no big deal. Don't be discouraged and keep aiming to reach these numbers.
No set audience retention percentage number guarantees that you will be pushed in the algorithm, but anything above 50% means you are doing well.
Now let's talk about what percentage you should get at the end of your video...
If you get 50% at the last second of the video, you absolutely killed it! Great Job!
Always aim for a 50% audience retention number at the end. The only way you will reach this milestone is by concluding your videos very quickly and recommending your viewers to the following video.
Cut the video off without using ANY concluding language!
** Note** You can still have a video blow up with less than a 50%. However, videos that reach a 50% average usually outperform videos that have lower percentages.
5: Content Strategies For Maintaining Higher Audience Retention
Alright, so you know why audience retention is necessary, so how do you go about retaining your audience?
The start of your video should always begin with a hook, and if your audience isn’t reminded why they clicked on the video to begin with, they will lose interest immediately.
There are different ways of creating a hook for your next video. One of the first ways is by showing off the main scene of the video right at the start for a few seconds before cutting to your intro.
A second way is by starting the video with something that captures the audience's emotions.
Whether that's creating content to make the viewers laugh or feel something intense, as long as it's related to the topic.
By sparking interest in your audience, you'll make them want to stick around and watch more.
Ask yourself: If I clicked on this video on the homepage of YouTube would I continue watching it after the first 30 seconds?
If you can't answer yes to that, you can be sure your audience will follow suit and find something more interesting.
Another strategy you can apply throughout your video is to pick up the pace.
If any points in your video seem to drag on for too long and don't have any appeal,
Cut it out.
You'll find as you continue to get better at editing your videos, you'll be cutting out a lot of useless content.
This is a good thing.
This goes into the next strategy…
Shoot loads of content.
Always make sure you allow yourself to have a range of content to choose from in the final edit.
This includes shooting more than enough B Roll if that applies to your content.
Think about it, when you've just started stitching together your first videos, you probably realized you didn't have enough footage to choose from in post-production.
The bottom line for this tip is, you can never have enough content. So always film as much as possible.
Want another tip? Of course you do.
Mix up your environments.
If possible, stop shooting content from your grandmother's garage six days a week.
Find a way to shoot content in new places and new venues from time to time.
Of course, if your garage is home base, then that's totally fine (you'll upgrade someday).
Changing your location helps at the very least give your audience the illusion that you have an exciting life.
That's really what it comes down to at the end of the day when attempting to increase your channel's audience retention.
Doing things differently in fun and new ways is what captures a viewer's attention.
Studying your audience retention data may be a factor that is responsible for blowing up your channel later down the road.
Look for the dips in the chart. They will tell you what you're messing up.
It's the perfect indicator to understand the performance of your content. For example, you may notice a segment of your video not performing so well. By studying that chart, you will have everything you need to know!
Do you have advertisement/sponsored segments throughout your content? Maybe you're noticing a drop off in your audience retention.
Consider pulling the reins up on it a bit on extensively long ads, even if integrated. They can be such a bore if a viewer was originally enjoying your content.
Maybe your audience hasn't enjoyed a certain point in the video where you made a tedious transition, or you were discussing some useless information?
Now you know what footage to cut out when you're editing for your next art piece.
Any spikes you see in your audience retention graphs, make sure to take note. It means you provided your audience with some value they were more than happy to watch on repeat.
We cannot stress this enough, the bottom line is:
Do more of what your audience likes and less of what they don't like.
Compile your data over time. Then, as you begin to understand what your audience enjoys and what they dislike, you'll be well on your way to becoming a YouTube star.
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