How to Increase YouTube Watch Time & Average View Duration

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0:00 What is Audience Retention & Watch Time?
14:16 6 Tips for Increasing Audience Retention

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About:
In this video, Sean breaks down how to increase watch time and average view duration on your youtube channel. These audience retention tips will help you get more views and grow your youtube channel.

Disclaimer: Please see the link for our disclaimer policy for all of our videos on the Think Media and Think Marketing YouTube channels. https://www.seancannell.com/youtube-disclaimer

=================== text video ====================

in this video we’re going to be talking

all about audience

retention what exactly is audience

retention why does it matter so much for

getting views and succeeding on

youtube and we’re going to be revealing

six different tips

for how to rank your videos higher in

search

and getting youtube to actually

recommend your videos

you got to just press record my name is

sean cannell and i’m fired up to talk

about

how to trigger the youtube algorithm

with these seven tips for increasing

watch time

audience retention and youtube views so

what’s the average

audience retention on youtube well

according to some reports

the average audience retention on

youtube is between 50

and 60 percent now audience retention

is your ability to hold someone’s

attention on your

video if you look at your analytics

which we will do shortly

there’s sometimes the hockey stick

effect where someone clicks on your

video and they’re gone immediately so

the question

is how quick how how long can you hold

attention

this is across digital platforms now

have you ever started a netflix show

watched a few seconds or minutes and

thought ah i’m not even going to commit

to this and you bailed well

it didn’t keep your attention if a video

that you love

holds your attention you might click on

it and watch it all the way into the end

and watch multiple videos from that

creator

and so some data revealed that if you

can keep someone’s attention

over half of the length of your video or

even over 60 percent

you’re doing a pretty good job there’s a

couple terms we need to know

and and we also need to know why

audience retention is important and

here’s some quotes

from youtube themselves they’ve said

that we’ve started adjusting the ranking

of youtube videos

to reward engaging videos that keep

viewers watching it’s not just views

because you know a view can just be one

second

but a minute that means you’ve held

someone for 60

seconds youtube rewards content creators

that create engaging videos and you know

when it comes to engagement

sure likes are okay comments are great

but the most significant signal is

whether

or not someone keeps watching your video

that’s watch time that’s audience

retention

they go on to say that videos with

consistently

high audience retention and watch time

have the potential to show up more

frequently

in search and suggested locations

so not only is having a high

audience retention going to help you

rank your videos in search

it’s also going to help your videos be

recommended by the youtube algorithm to

new

viewers so audience retention is very

important

now there’s two specific terms that we

need to know

to understand this and the first one is

average

view duration so this i know there’s a

lot of technical terms

audience retention average view duration

well this is the way that youtube kind

of defines

audience retention and it’s how many

minutes have people watch your vid

videos

average view duration in the case of

this video right here this video has

been viewed

for seven minutes and three seconds and

remember this is on average

because of course some people might

start the video and say ah this isn’t

what i thought it was

i’m gonna bail but some people are gonna

watch all the way until the end

so the total combined viewership

averaged down this video is able to hold

viewers attention for seven minutes now

consider this

this video is doing very well and

youtube continues to recommend it to new

people

and therefore on average even people

that potentially don’t

know me or haven’t seen my content

before their attention is being held

for seven minutes of time

in a world where we can barely have the

attention span to scroll through

instagram or go from this thing to that

thing and we’re so busy

giving your attention for seven minutes

to something is significant

minutes matter most i’ve seen stats

reveal that the average

view duration on youtube is around five

minutes think media kind of

hovers between four and five minutes

across all of our videos

so if you start getting to 7 minutes 8

15

and if youtube recommends that video to

new people and you’re holding attention

well then of course they would keep

showing it to even more new people

because the avd the average view

duration is significant

the second stat is just another way of

thinking about the same thing

but it’s average percentage viewed now

let’s say you had a one hour video your

average view duration could be ten

minutes

but that would only be six percent or

whatever

you know 10 minutes out of 60 minutes

would only be 12

or something like that whereas if you

had a 10 minute video

and you had a 50 average percentage

viewed that means it’s five minutes so

it’s

how long on average are people cr

consuming of the entire video length

and by youtube showing us these two

stats they’re revealing to us what they

care about they’re saying hey keep

people

on the platform for as many minutes as

possible

and then also if you can create videos

that people are getting closer to the

end

of that are that they’re watching at

least half the video 60

of the video or higher then this is like

a one-two

punch of audience retention that could

really trigger the algorithm and cause

your videos to be

promoted now youtube has given us

some new insights and they’re always up

upgrading the studio

to show us things and when you’re on a

specific video

you can come down to key moments and

audience retention

and this chart guide is right here on a

little question mark let me zoom in for

you

and so what we can see is this is

youtube

explaining what the chart means now it

may be self-explanatory but this is very

important the first thing that it tells

us

is when the line is flat

well the first thing it says a percent

greater than 100 percent may mean that

people re-want

rewind and watch the sequence more than

once so if you ever wonder

why is there a spike how could i have or

how could it go

up when it was already going down it

means someone’s either clicked bla

clicked back or clicked to that specific

point

but flat is your ideal so this video is

doing very well on think media

and this video is not flat but you can

see it’s kind of close

to flat i mean 50 average view duration

which is

great over most people or the

all people that watch it average down to

finishing over half of the video

and there is a gradual decline but by

the end of this video at minute

4 16 38 of people are still watching

so it’s not as aggressive this is more

aggressive on this video

but again what it’s telling us is that

if you can keep it flat that’s what

winning looks like

you are literally holding keeping in

mind too the average person

like if strangers watch the video like

they can’t turn away they gotta watch

the whole thing

gradual decline the second um

thing that youtube defines here means

viewers are losing a bit of attention

over time so then you’re saying okay

how can i decrease the slope and i’ve

got six tips for you in a second

how can i make the decline not as

significant

of course what you don’t want is the

hockey stick effect where it just

drops you know really fast

kind of flattens out and maybe only a

couple percent finish the video

next spikes appear when more viewers are

watching

re-watching or sharing a moment

or moments from a video so spikes are

these kind of

it gives us green because green is good

it’s sort of these up moments where

maybe people

go to a part rewind from a part the

other reason

you might trigger this is because of

time stamps and we do use time steps to

let people skip through the points

on certain videos and they may get the

idea and they may just kind of click

through

to get each time stamp um that’s fine in

my opinion because i want the viewer to

just be served at the highest level i’m

not trying to hold anybody hostage you

know so

if they want to click through to the

points but another thing that spikes

could be just telling you is that that’s

a very dense part or popular part

here’s a power tip if you’ve ever seen

some youtubers and even bo burnham did

this on his recent netflix special

they sometimes flash something so flat

uh so fast kind of like a fight club

thing

they flash a scene or flash a word that

your super fans or any fan may want to

rewind and be like and try to pause it

what was that

and that could create a higher spike of

engagement at that moment

and so that would be the up and then of

course dips mean viewers are skipping or

leaving that specific part of the video

and if i click here notice it says

here’s the intro

viewer’s still watching around the

30-point mark which is this blue section

and then it says dip and if i click the

dip it actually skips to where there is

a significant drop

and naturally that’s when i’m like well

alrighty then leave me a comment we’ll

see you later

and that’s going to typically be you

don’t want to necessarily let people

know you’re ending your video

and once they know it’s gone they start

to leave and that makes sense so

the biggest thing though is if you have

dips in the middle you want to ask

yourself what can i learn from that dip

so let’s look inside of our analytics

and then we’ll get to our tips here

and the first thing for measuring

audience retention

and seeing kind of doing a checkup from

the neck up

of your status is some ways to track how

well you’re doing the first

is channel wide avd

that’s channel wide average view

duration so if you start in your studio

you go to analytics and then you go to

your engagement

you can see that across all of your

channel

on think media right here we get 4

minutes and 12

seconds and that’s up in the last 28

days always trying better storytelling

hold more attention have an increased

average view duration so that’s kind of

a

macro metric of how are you doing on

your channel think media

in the last 28 days got 3.2 million

views and so that’s spread out across

all of those views next is going to be

the top

videos in this period and that’s

whatever period that you set

by default it’s 28 days let’s just say

over the last 365 days for fun in the

upper right hand corner

and then we can see these right here

these are the top videos in the last

year

on think media now notice two things

that it shows us at a snapshot and this

really reveals

what youtube cares about the most it

says

average iteration and it gives us the

total minutes and the percentage viewed

and then it gives us the views it’s like

hey this video is getting two minutes

and 27 seconds of average view duration

and it lets you kind of compare

and you can notice that some of these

really big videos i mean this got over a

million views

it keeps getting suggested to new

audiences notice a very low percentage

view to only 16

but 21 minutes and 16

seconds of total minutes viewed this is

a very longer tutorial it’s a longer

tutorial

and so again minutes matter most even

though that’s a horrendous percentage

viewed

it’s an insane amount of time spent on a

video

and so that is another place that you

can check so to recap

you have channel wide avd average view

duration

you can see the top videos in this

period and be studying

what’s your average view duration your

average percentage viewed

then you want to go to your top videos

and you can click see

more for even more data so

i’m going to go back to the last 28 days

i’m on engagement inside of youtube

studio

and i’m gonna go down to top videos and

say see more

in the back end here we can see a whole

stack of videos

so it goes much more than the top ten

and it breaks down our click-through

rate

our views our average view duration is

shared right here and this is where the

average is coming from four minutes and

12 seconds

across all these videos and i could see

this is interesting the

average view duration on this best

camera q a with

with me is an hour it’s insane

like that’s crazy uh and and then you

can see some that are maybe only 37

seconds or whatever

so that’s another place where you can

dive into your analytics a little bit

deeper

and then finally still watching at 30

seconds and lean in for this one

and hit like if you’ve been getting

value out of this video because again

this is going to tell us what really

matters to youtube

and so inside of your studio

under engagement scroll down a little

bit you’re going to see

key moments for audience retention and

this is significant because this is

showing us

out of our recent uploads how many

people are still watching at 30 seconds

this is very clear about how important

the hook of your video is right

because they’re saying if if people are

bailing in the first 30 seconds like

you’re in trouble

so in out of our last few videos

our best video has 71 percent of people

still watching after 30 seconds when i

hover over it

we can see that the average iteration is

five and a half minutes

and 40 percent of people basically

consume that one and then it drops to

our worst performing is still four out

of 10 people are still watching

at um 30 in the first 30 seconds

these are signals when youtube tells us

what they’re measuring

then it tells us how we should architect

and craft our content

to get more views and hold more

attention it also

gives us the ability to actually measure

if the tweaks we’re making to our

content our videos and our topics are

working

and never forget what gets measured gets

improved so i know that sometimes the

data can be overwhelming

but consider studying your data even

looking at it while it feels

overwhelming because you will start to

notice trends and patterns

and places where you can improve your

videos if you’re seeing a dip think

about

okay how can i trim the fluff on my next

video improve

the audience retention average view

duration and the more that goes up the

more youtube is going to spread your

content

throughout the internet faster than a

tesla

in ludicrous mode let’s get into the six

tips tip number one for powering up

your videos boosting your audience

retention

is craft a powerful hook i won’t go into

this at length

because we have some great resources on

this but it’s ultimately

you really need to craft those first 10

20 30 seconds of your video you may

notice some hooks are even going much

longer

hooks of videos are a minute two minutes

now depending on how long

the content is but it’s just thinking

that as soon as the video starts cut to

the chase

tip number two talk fast or faster

and use video editing now hear me this

does not mean that there

aren’t youtube channels that have a

slower pace to them

sometimes you might hear asmr at a very

slow and soothing

pace sometimes there’s videos that are

more reflective or meditative and that

could be very effective especially

consider the viewer’s intent what is it

they expect but most people

have this modern energy of just wanting

the information fast we don’t want to

wait around and if we feel like there’s

a moment

of we’re not getting what we came for

then

we may want to speed up to hold

attention it doesn’t mean you have to be

super frantic it doesn’t mean you have

to be crazy

but studies have been done to actually

count

words per minute and that the higher

words per minute

on youtube usually holds attention

better than lower words

per minute and another way to do this is

with video editing

it could be as simple as you just talk

at your normal pace in your normal tone

but there’s a level of jump cutting that

sort of cuts out the ums and the breaths

and this is a pace and a cadence that

you’re going to want to determine for

your

yourself but it’s certainly a tip that

could

help people just stick with it because

the information is coming fast enough

that they do not get bored tip number

three

use a script or an outline prior

planning prevents poor

performance when you start a video you

get into a video

if it’s disorganized if it doesn’t if

it’s disorganized and you lose people on

the journey

then that might be the moment they

bounce because

again it was you were able to cut that

part out but you didn’t really plan it

out ahead so like that’s when people

lost attention if you have a good

outline an orderly outline

a logical outline or a good story curve

or story arc

then that’s going to help you hold

attention by scripting your videos ahead

of time they’re going to be a lot more

powerful

number four trim the fluff man one of

the best ways you can make your content

stronger

i learned from jizza from the wu-tang

clan

and he said too many rappers rhymes are

mad

long keep it brief son half short and

twice strong

and that’s the tip you want to keep it

half short and

twice strong thank you gizza thank you

the wu tang

and so trim the fluff how could you make

your ten minute video five minutes

how could you make your eight minute

video six minutes

is there any parts in your video that

are unnecessary

what can you take away ask yourself is

this essential to the video

nobody watching it is going to know it’s

gone they’re only going to know what

they see when you finally present it to

them

so trim the video down trim the fluff

and

the key here is continue to post videos

as you have been but then study your

audience retention curve

study how much average view duration

you’re getting see

how you’re holding people’s attention

and if you can notice a tip or a trend

from where people are always dropping

off then consider

eliminating that from your video and on

your next upload it’ll be

even better tip number five add visuals

one of the best ways to hold attention

longer is to not just potentially

monotonously just have one thing

happening

you know i’m streaming this live using

stream yard

and i’m able to add visuals because of

the software this at least helps a

little bit but in post

we could make little pop-up you know

like button things little subscribe

things transitions

music transitions those types of things

should not be

overused but they can they can help keep

attention longer and so consider adding

visuals like graphics and pop-ups

and extra footage called b-roll and

things like that

that strengthen your video and then tip

number six out of seven tips

is use drama conflict open loops and

curiosity

so one of the ways you could hold

attention and even if you’re going

longer at this point

um i’m 23 minutes into a video

live streaming um one of the things i

hoped to do at the beginning of the

video is during the hook

i said man i’m coming i’m sharing seven

tips i’m gonna be sharing some new

features from youtube

hopefully opening up some curiosity to

make you want to be a part of more of an

educational tutorial like this

in more of entertainment you want to

potentially use drama consider how

reality tv shows

start they don’t start with again when

kim and khloe kardashian are getting

along

and it’s like kim and chloe peacefully

walk through a park nobody wants to

watch that

it’s like kim like throws a piece of pie

across the kitchen and breaks a plate

and it’s like coming up on

with kardashians chloe i can’t believe

that you did that

they what do they do they cut to the

most dramatic part so potentially you

want to tease the drama you want to

create a little conflict on the opening

you want to create some open loops like

maybe there’s a question at the

beginning you’re going to answer at the

end

maybe you’re doing a tutorial and you’re

saying you know

this is what the end result is going to

be i’m going to show you how to get

there and people are like wait a minute

how’d they achieve that result

and you unfold that throughout the video

tip number seven

is build your personal brand and

reputation

what do i mean by this one of the things

i mean by this is i want you to consider

if you’re just starting on youtube and

let me know how many videos have you

posted so far and how many subscribers

do you have

if you’re just starting nobody knows you

yet

i recommend if you’re just starting keep

your videos shorter because people could

get to know you speed dating they may

not want to get married yet you know

what i mean like it’s just a little bit

of a shorter relationship

up front but once people get to know you

then there might be some pre-existing

trust when it comes to your content

this is sort of the unspoken rule on

youtube

see if you don’t have a good reputation

yet your reputation is potentially just

neutral

so you may have to use more b-roll

or or really structure content or really

edit it

to whatever degree of influence i’ve

built and you could let me know if i’ve

ever added value to you or if you’ve

seen a past video or how long have you

been a part of the think community

at some level if you start to trust me

and recognize

that hopefully when i go live get on

camera i bring really

value that i’ve invested blood sweat and

tears in

research my experience the think media

team

our collective youtube brain all this

different stuff that we work together on

that you might actually give me some

forgiveness this is why you might be

like

why does this person have such good

average iteration of people because

people don’t know you yet

but as you build your personal brand and

as you build your reputation

people begin to know and trust you more

so that they may

without the fancy barrels and whistles

stick with you because they know you’re

good for it

so the actionable point of tip number

seven is just

consider giving it always your best shot

to deliver quality to people develop a

reputation

if you’re a teacher or expert or author

or marketer and you’re

kind of more education like think media

for being brief

being bright being fun and then being

done

and when people say okay because of my

past experience with you

i know that if i click on a sean cannell

youtube video or a nolan mo

youtube video or a heather taurus

youtube video or an omar

el taquori youtube video that they

really have put their heart into this

it’s gonna probably not be a waste of my

time

and that’s about building that is the

bigger vision of building a personal

brand and a reputation

that is beyond tactics because a little

subscriber pop-up

is not going to change the game for your

youtube channel those tactics are good

but a strong personal brand and

reputation

in your industry for the promise of your

channel

is gonna supersede those other

tactics wanna know the exact strategies

sean cannell and the think media team

use to consistently get over

3.5 million views on youtube every month

learn the proven steps and the newest

youtube money making strategies at

groweth video live’s virtual conference

get your tickets today at

growthvideolive.com

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