Digital marketing has completely changed the way we see stuff online. Videos are the way to engage, interact, entice and educate the viewers. On the plus side, it results in conversions.
It is known for some time now; that the most crucial factor in YouTube’s ranking method is the watch time. We will talk about video ‘watch time’ a bit later in the article.
To keep the 2 billion-plus viewers on YouTube entertained it is essential to create your videos in such a way that more and more viewers land on your video and stay till the end of it.
What is watch time?
In simple words, Watch Time means the amount of time a viewer has watched your video. But it’s a bit more complicated than that. Remember, we aren’t talking about viewers clicking on the video and then ditching it. Watch time measures the aggregate time spent by a viewer watching your video over a period of time. It is calculated in minutes. Therefore, you get a clearer picture of how many people saw your video till the end. It lets you know what type of content is watched by the viewers.
How to check video watch time on YouTube?
To know whether you have low, high, or ideal watch time on YouTube; simply log into your account. In Your Account section click on Creator Studio. Then click on YouTube Analytics and hit the Watch Time option. Here you will get a detailed report regarding the watch time of your videos.
Why is watch time relevant?
As a Youtuber, you should worry about watch time because it decides your ranking on this social media platform. More minutes means YouTube finds your content relevant enough to share and places it higher in the search ranking. YouTube has changed its algorithms in the last decade or so and now considers watch time as the factor to decide the success of videos on YouTube. Do bear in mind that high watch time affects your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) on YouTube.
As easy as it may sound, achieving top-ranking positions on an already over-saturated social media platform isn’t easy. But it isn’t impossible to rank on social media platforms if you have expertise in social media marketing or take help from a professional social media marketing agency.
The following tactics will help you create better videos and in turn, increase your watch time.
7 Ways to increase your YouTube video watch time
There isn’t one exact and ideal watch time on YouTube because it differs from industry to industry. Although, a watch time of 41.9 minutes per day by the viewers falling between the age bracket of 18 and above is considered ideal (Source: Emarketer). Plus, a 50% of retention rate is preferred. So based on these stats, let us look at some of the ways in which you can increase your YouTube video watch time effectively-
1. Focus on Content
Not just content but quality content. YouTube being the second most visited site in the world is already overcrowded. You might create a video about cooking a certain recipe. But there are tons of such videos on YouTube already. So how do you win this fierce battle for better watch time? You focus on content. By content, we also mean good-quality sound and lighting.
Also, ensure you have the relevant keywords in your video. If your content is of high quality and relevant, viewers will stay hooked on and follow you. Plus, empathy goes a long way. Place yourself in the viewer’s position and honestly check whether, as a viewer, you will watch the video made by you. This little tip will help you heaps.
One thing to note here is that a lot depends on how you deliver your content. If you have some unique information and share the same in your video; it will keep the audience hooked on. Also, if you deliver it in a friendly and conversational way the viewer feels more comfortable and connected.
2. 15-second rule
A viewer decides whether they will continue watching your video or not in the first 15 seconds. So, if your opening is enticing enough to keep the viewer hooked on, it is unlikely that they will abandon your video. They will most likely watch it till the end and thereby increase your video watch time.
Now the question comes- how should the beginning of your video be? Start with a question, a joke, or a statistic. Touching a pained nerve almost always works. Secondly, promise a solution to the problem you are addressing and be clear with what you have to offer to the viewer. Leaving a cliffhanger helps keep the viewer hooked. Appear informative about the knowledge you are about to share.
Lastly, be direct about your video, and don’t beat around the bush. They will continue watching your video once they know what’s in for them. Be careful not to reveal all the secrets and keep something for the end of the video.
3. Use accurate thumbnails and titles
These two features are like the title and cover page of a video. A viewer judges whether to click on your video or not based on these two things. So, keep your title short and bold, more on the lines of a tabloid headline- mysterious and capturing. Secondly, use bright colors. They appear more attractive. The three important features- font, color, and facial expressions on the thumbnail should clearly depict what your video is about. Viewers feel they haven’t wasted their time on your video and are likely to follow your channel.
4. Analyze your audience retention report
Audience retention means the average percentage of people who watched your video. A 50% retention rate is considered ideal. How to achieve this? Study and analyze your audience retention report. You can get it from the YouTube platform. The report shows where the viewers ditched the video (Valleys) and where they stayed tuned (Peaks). So, now you can make necessary changes and ensure a higher retention rate. A higher rate means more watch time on your video. Refer to the image below.
5. Use long-tail keywords
such a tip will drive more traffic to your video. Why? Because you zero down on the target audience. How to do that? Use YouTube’s Suggestion box. Type in the keywords and see what suggestions regarding long-tail keywords pop up. This way you know what the viewers are looking for and add them to your content. Make the necessary adjustments and see your video watch time increase.
6. Increase the duration of the video
if you have a lot of information to share and can make a 10-minute-long video, then go for it. Lesser duration videos like a 3-minute video lead to lesser watch time. How? For example, you have a 3-minute video that is watched by 1000 people till the end. So, you collected 3000 minutes of watch time. Now if the same video becomes 5 or 6 minutes long and watched by 1000 people till the end. You have got yourself 5000 or 6000 minutes of watch time.
But this advice needs to be used carefully. Don’t make a long video just for the sake of it. If you truly feel that the material is worth talking about for 10 minutes, then only make a longer video. If you are low on stuff to say and go about beating the bush, then you are likely to have viewers drop off.
A great way to make your short-duration videos longer is to include an After Effects intro. It is an easy feature on YouTube. If you aren’t familiar with it, there are several tutorials on YouTube from which you can learn this feature.
7. Create a playlist for your videos
Organize all your videos into a playlist and give a short descriptive name to them. By creating a playlist, viewers start on your video and continue watching till the end of the session. This strategy will do wonders for your watch time.
A second method is to organize similar videos like yours into a playlist. It doesn’t matter if you have made all of them or not. You will see your video watch time increase. Start with your video and follow with other relevant videos that will make the viewer continue watching the playlist. This will increase your YouTube video watch time. Under both methods, do not randomly add videos. Create a meaningful playlist arranging the videos based on themes or events.
So, this was our list of tips educating you on how to increase your YouTube video watch time. Of course, these aren’t the only methods. There are several other ways too. You can always add Cards and End Screens or try building a Subscriber base by promoting your videos on other social media platforms. An effective way of increasing your subscriber base is to engage with a target audience that shares the same interest as you. The tactics mentioned above are the most important ones and are easy to execute.
People have made a living out of posting videos on YouTube. If you wish to be one or are a Youtuber already but aren’t getting the juice out of it, then try the strategies we have mentioned.