YouTube watch time is the king of all metrics.
Forget all those other metrics that other content creators rank themselves with...
Useless in the face of watch time.
Watch time is the single most significant factor that drives your content forward to larger audiences. YouTube doesn't want to admit it, but all those likes you beg for on every video are effectively useless.
You should be finding innovative ways to engage your audience for extended periods of time.
Why Is Watch Time On YouTube So Important?
Watch time on YouTube is the king of all metrics and should be the main one you use to judge the effectiveness of your channel.
Most would think that subscribers are the most critical metric, but it isn't. It is impossible to get subscribers, views, or likes without watch time.
Retaining your audience on your content for longer periods of time is how YouTube makes more money.
Think about it...
What is our world driven by?
This is what they mean when they say "follow the money."
When YouTube shows ads on your videos, they make a sizable cut in profit whenever someone clicks, so does the company behind the advertisement, and then lastly, you get a small portion.
Money is the underlying motivator for practically everything we do. And that is no different for YouTube as a platform.
The Holy YouTube Algorithm is literally designed around bringing in a profit.
That is done by pushing forward content that has high levels of audience retention. It is critical to understand this.
When a viewer watches an ad on YouTube, everyone gets paid, including you (assuming you're monetized), which means that the longer a viewer watches a video, the more advertisements can be shown.
This is why views, likes, and subscribers are nowhere near as effective compared to watch time.
The effect of those metrics comes after retaining your audience. If no one is watching your videos for long enough, why would people like or subscribe to your content?
Ok, sure, maybe they will comment, but don't expect it to be positive. They will most likely leave a nasty comment and then click off the video to something else more entertaining.
How To Increase Youtube Watch Time Simply
If you're a content creator, you know how hard it can be to keep people's attention engaged for lengthy periods of time. But, unfortunately, the current generation of technology demands our attention everywhere with flashy visuals and plenty of clickbait.
Say you have a 10-minute long video where you are explaining something to the camera. Yet you have a lot of time taken up by conversation that is irrelevant to the topic at hand.
Get rid of it.
Yes, take this seriously. If people feel like you're wasting time, they will go somewhere else.
Just look at the suggested videos section. There are plenty of related videos from different channels just waiting to steal those juicy views.
Keep your viewer's attention front and center with quality content, which is why we preach delivering value to your audience as much as possible.
Why should they stay when you're just trying to fill the air with tangents that aren't really what the viewer came to watch?
It's a harsh way to put it, but if you want to know why your channel isn't living up to its potential, this could be a reason.
The question you should be asking yourself is:
"How much of my content doesn't entertain, provide value, or interest my viewer?"
If you find that your content doesn't do any of these things...
You know what must be done.
So here are some general tips that will assist in keeping up your watch time:
- Make sure at every point in your video you're diving deeper into the topic or the reason the audience clicked on the video in the first place.
- You always want to be putting forth some level of original content. It's ok to copy a template or style from someone else as long as you're adding your own spin to it.
- Progress your story by adding in new environments and exciting scenes as much as possible. It's important to spice it up from time to time.
- Keep in mind that your competition wants to take those views, so either be better than them or collaborate with them.
- Keep any unnecessary content to a minimum. As stated, it's essential to appeal to the reason your audience clicked on your video to begin with.
- Potentially the most important tip here: always be creating content for your most loyal fans because they are the ones that will boost your watch time and views consistently.
These Roadblocks Are Killing Your Audience Retention!
There are small ways to increase your overall watch time on YouTube.
Too many creators make the mistake of adding in too much fluff, diminishing the overall value a viewer receives.
How do you find watch time roadblocks throughout your videos?
Open up YouTube Studio.
Then, hover over to a video you posted, press the analytics button, and scroll all the way down until you see a graph that says "key moments for audience retention."
This is one of the most essential graphs on YouTube! (PERIOD.)
Suppose you want to start growing your channel. In that case, you must be analyzing the audience retention graph frequently to see what is working throughout your videos and what isn't.
Let's ignore the content and look at the graph instead. What is the first thing you notice right off the bat?
The video immediately dips when the video begins because of the intro.
We include the FreshandFit podcast intro at the beginning of each video for branding purposes. So naturally, most viewers will skip past it to get straight into the content.
**Note** We continue to include the intro without worrying about losing a little bit of watch time. We do it because the channel has grown to a point where small mistakes don't matter as much as they used to.
It's up to you if you want to add an intro at the beginning of each video. Still, we usually don't recommend it for most beginner YouTubers who desperately try to grow their channels. (unless you really want to start pushing your branding.)
Suppose you're trying to squeeze every last minute of watch time out of your viewer. In that case, you should be going straight into the content to ensure that your viewer doesn't get bored and click out of the video.
Viewers want content right away. So stop trying to add fancy intros that provide zero value to your viewers.
You shouldn't be thinking about cool intros at all, especially if you're new to YouTube.
The intro might be cool when you watch it but annoying to everyone else.
If you insist that you need an intro for your shorter form content, make it 3-4 seconds MAX. That's it. Nothing longer.
And so should you!
Let's go back to the graph we were analyzing earlier…
Notice how the graph stays flat with minimal dipping throughout the video?
If your video looks similar to this, it means that you are doing a great job at keeping your viewers watching. This usually happens when the creator knows how to tell great stories or keep his viewers entertained.
If you consistently keep your viewers watching with minimal dipping, your channel will grow. But then, it will only be a matter of time when you start skyrocketing once the YouTube algorithm starts recommending you to a wave of new viewers.
Obviously, you won't be able to get all of your videos to get insane audience retention, and that's ok! So some videos will fail, and some will succeed.
The video shown in the graph blew up because the conversation between the high-value man and woman provided a highly entertaining and relatable conversation that most of the audience enjoyed watching. This resulted in a very high "average percentage viewed" after receiving a 67.7%.
In other words, the video provided insane amounts of value to the viewers causing the video to get pushed heavily in the YouTube algorithm. Furthermore, as the video was getting pushed, other big channels reviewed it, causing it to get shared across social media platforms other than YouTube. If you learn how to create the best content that gets high amounts of watch time, you will produce viral videos.
Creating content that gets high watch time will make you go viral.
Let's analyze another factor that you need to patch up to increase your video watch time.
Fix your conclusions.
Stop dragging out every conclusion and using exit language!
What does this mean? It means that you are hinting to viewers that your video is about to end. When viewers sense that the video is reaching the end, they will immediately click out of your video.
When you say:
- "Hey guys, we're going to wrap up the video right here."
- "So guys, if you liked this video…."
- "Thanks for watching my video!"
- "Follow me on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook!"
How do you not expect viewers to drop off when you say these things?? Stop saying it and start cutting off your viewers early before they know it. Viewers should be surprised when the video ends similar to a cliffhanger.
Once they get surprised to see the video end, they should immediately be hit with end screen cards that direct them to past videos you posted.
Stop repeating the same script every mediocre YouTube channel is repeating! Instead, you need to get more watch time, which can quickly be done by referring your viewers to older videos.
Why would you forget about your older videos? Make sure to utilize them every chance you get.
Your video will end up dipping similarly to the "High-Value Man Roasts Woman" video by using ending language. Notice the steep dip?
We should have cut off the video earlier when we had the chance. However, it wasn't that big of a deal because the content was so good.
Your content can make up for the mistakes you make throughout the video, but you might as well not make a mistake once you figure out what causes viewers to drop off.
Do This And Your Watch Time Will 10x!
You can 10x your watch time simply by telling stories and adding elements throughout the video!
It will take you time to master both skills, but it's a process that is guaranteed to get you results.
How do you do it? First, you need to begin learning how to understand what it takes to create stories that viewers love to hear.
If you want to learn how to tell better stories, we highly recommend checking out the book "Storyworthy" by Matthew Dicks.
If you're a terrible storyteller, don't worry because it's a learnable skill! The best way to practice storytelling is to publish videos consistently.
Streaming live is one of the quickest ways to learn storytelling. You're forced to interact with your audience in a casual manner instead of having to script yourself on camera.
You will begin to develop connections with your audience with streaming, which causes you to become more confident and natural in front of the camera.
There's a big difference between filming scripted content and streaming live.
Scripting is excellent for releasing straight-to-the-point videos, but it's harder to build an audience from it. Streaming can sometimes be planned out with the topics you plan to present. However, the videos will be unpredictable and casual.
People want to see the real you. Streaming can offer that.
And do you want to know why streaming is so powerful? Your streamed videos will usually significantly outperform your scripted content in watch time.
It's more likely that your regular viewers will watch your live videos longer because of how long a stream can run. So when you're streaming for 1 hour + and you get a collection of 100 loyal fans watching your videos, expect the watch time numbers to be on the higher end.
Let's compare FreshandFit's clip and stream watch time. There is a BIG difference in watch time, and subscribers gained. However, the views between the two videos aren't too different.
Watch time = more subscribers, views, and comments.
Streaming is increasing in popularity throughout YouTube. It's easy to set up, a fun experience, simple to post content, allows you to converse with your audience, and gives creators the ability to attract a shit ton of watch time.
However, if you have the time and energy to script videos, we highly recommend doing it.
Some people want all of their information in a condensed format without the filler that most streams have. Sure, you won't be getting as much watch time when you compare it to a stream, but you will please an audience that wants it.
You should always be satisfying your viewers and making your channel a comfortable environment. And if you plan to sell products and services down the road, scripted content is one of the best ways to pitch whatever you're selling.
We'll explain how you can edit your scripted videos to optimize for the most watch time...
Video Editing Techniques To Boost Your Watch Time
Effectively using post-production techniques can significantly increase your overall YouTube watch time.
This will reel in your viewers as you create smooth effects and transitions.
First and foremost, the jump cut.
The jump cut is the most used video effect of all time regarding every aspect of media. Cutting out useless pieces of content to skip to more exciting parts is vital in retaining the tiny attention span of your audience.
Obviously, this is not intended to offend the human race as a whole, but on average, our attention spans are very low and tend to bounce all over the place. Unfortunately, it's only going to get worse as technology gets better as well.
Essentially you should be designing your content in a way where a bunch of intelligent monkeys could enjoy what they are seeing.
The jump cut allows you to keep things fast-paced and entertaining. This will be the primary tool you use to cut down your content to stay focused on the topic and deliver value and/or entertainment.
Next, you want to be utilizing a lot of B-roll footage if you're not doing that already.
Cutting to B-roll is necessary because you want to match the visuals with the current emotion of the content.
For example, you're discussing dating for men and mentioning what you should be doing when you go out to a bar to meet women.
During that explanation, cut to B-roll of a few guys at a bar trying to talk to women.
You don't have to match the exact process of what you're talking about with B-roll, but you must match the emotion.
Emotion is always going to speak louder than logic and words.
These essential tools are crucial in developing quality content. Of course, video editing can go into more depth, but everything you do should tell your story or deliver value to your fans.
As you begin to combine all of these tools to create videos on YouTube, you'll naturally increase audience retention over time.
The most crucial piece of the puzzle is watch time on YouTube. If you're not able to keep your audience watching your content all the way through, you will have a tough time growing.
To be successful at this requires a level of creativity and persistence to appeal to the Algorithm.
Using the general tips presented in this article, you will notice incremental increases over time, but you must persevere. Otherwise, it's pointless.
Also, by making adjustments and not shooting yourself in the foot, the shackles of resistance will fall off your channel. Having intros that aren't engaging and using exit language will only harm your chance at success.
Content creation is all about telling a story ultimately. As humans, that's how we remember events in life and how we communicate; it's time to start appealing to that.
Basic editing skills will take you a long way. Just keep it clean to continue to provide a smooth experience.
If you're still hungry for more tips and tricks, you can find us down below. YouTube Evolution is committed to making growth easy for content creators looking to make an impact.
We take the pain from learning YouTube and make it easier for anyone looking to juice up their channels fast!