How To Increase Your YouTube Watch Time

Learn about the importance of YouTube watch time and how it can help you stand out in the YouTube market and discover 9 tips that can help you do so.

YouTube’s watch time or audience retention refers to the total amount of time viewers spend on your videos. 

YouTube publishes a watch time report every 24-48 hours.

Having a successful YouTube channel is half the battle. 

Maintaining your channel, increasing subscribers, and video watch time is the other very critical half.

YouTube is a great video platform and can earn you a livelihood. 

By joining and fulfilling the YouTube partnership program, you can monetize and start earning from your channel.

And one of the easiest tricks to earn more and even qualify for the partnership program is to increase your YouTube watch time.

To be eligible for the YouTube partnership program, you need at least 4000 hours of video watch time.

In this article, we will walk you through the importance of watch time and how you can increase it. 

So let’s get started!

Why Is Your Video Watch Time Important?

The total amount of hours that viewers spend on your videos is essential because, after an algorithm update in 2012, the watch time became the number one ranking factor for YouTube channels.

High-ranking channels enjoy benefits such as channel promotion in the recommended and search video sections. 

All this, in turn, leads to more views translating to increased revenue for you.

High video watch time increases your credibility to sponsors and advertisers

When your watch time is increased, YouTube ranks you highly. 

This makes your channel very attractive to advertisers and sponsors for business partnerships.

How To Increase Your YouTube Watch Time

The importance of having a high YouTube watch time cant be underscored. 

There are several ways through which you can increase YouTube watch time and some of these include monitoring audience retention reports, listening to your audience, posting quality content, capitalizing on the first 15 seconds, using long-tailed keywords, using YouTube cards, increasing your subscribers, writing relevant titles, and structuring your playlists. 

1. Monitor Audience Retention Reports On YouTube Analytics

YouTube has a cool feature called the Audience Retention Report.

The audience retention report is a breakdown of how viewers interacted with your video; this is vital in helping you improve your video performance and attract more traffic.

Usually, your audience retention report has four distinct areas.

First is the introduction

A typical YouTube intro lasts up to 30 seconds and will set the tone of the video. 

Your introduction will determine whether a viewer will stay on the video or ditch it.

A retention report will highlight how many viewers skipped your video within the first 30 seconds of playing.

Knowing how many viewers opt-out within 30 seconds will help you:

  • Understand if your introduction is boring and not captivating enough.
  • Understand if your introduction provides answers to your viewer’s questions early on.
  • If your video description and title adequately describe your video content.

If a high percentage opt-out within the first 30 seconds, consider doing the following.

  • Adjust your thumbnail, title, and keywords to describe your video better.
  • Experiment with different intro formats until you get the perfect fit for your videos

The second part is the continuous sections

This refers to sections in your videos where hardly any viewers stopped watching your video. 

This section may hold the highest value to you as a creator.

Continous viewing means that the content is very interesting or valuable to your viewers in that particular video portion.

To optimize this section, do the following:

  • Consider putting content in this segment earlier in the video as this will grab the viewer’s attention and increase the time spent on your video.
  • Use the content in these high-interest segments as a foundation to create newer videos around the same principles and ideas.

Next comes Spikes. 

Spikes refer to sections in your video that a viewer watched more than once.

A spike may mean that:

  • Your video isn’t clear, the volume is low, or the picture quality is poor within that section.
  • The content at that particular instance is exciting or captivating.

Understanding why viewer numbers spike within your viewer will help you rectify issues or improve your content.

Last comes the Dips. 

These are particular sections or instances where the viewer either skipped or completely stopped watching the video.

There are different reasons why a dip may occur in your video, and reviewing this particular section will help you understand the cause.

2. Listen To Your Audience

Client feedback is essential in any business, and YouTube is no exception.

The YouTube comment section is a treasure trove and can help you optimize your channel better.

Check your channel comment section regularly and reply to all comments, though as your channel grows, this may become increasingly difficult.

From your comments section, you can quickly get your viewer’s pain points and challenges that you can address in subsequent videos.

Generate new content ideas by observing common trends across your channel viewer’s comments. 

If many viewers talk about the same thing, it will be wise to create content centered around their main topic or theme.

Comments also allow you to explain your video further if the viewers had any problem understanding your content.

YouTube values the amount of engagement your video sparks, and if more people comment, share, and like your video, then automatically, YouTube understands the value of your content. 

3. Post Quality Video Content

Five hundred hours of content are uploaded on YouTube every minute. 

This translates to 9 hours of content per second.

The competition for views is fierce, and only excellent quality content can stand out. 

Always remember quality is king.

Here are a few tips on how you can improve the quality of your content.

Invest in high-quality equipment. 

The majority of YouTube creators shoot low-quality, grainy videos with poor sound and light using their phones.

Go a step ahead of such YouTubers and invest in a quality camera, high-speed computer for editing, and excellent light and sound fixtures.

This will enable you to produce high-quality videos that will raise you above the average YouTuber.

Invest in professional actors, props, and voice-over artists. 

Having the perfect hardware like cameras and an editing studio is excellent, but missing the human touch will kill your video.

Imagine having a high-quality professional video with confused props and an inaudible host.

What a turn off right?

Nobody would wish to watch such a video. 

To avoid embarrassment and reduce your bounce rates, invest in professional actors if you need props. 

A professional voice-over artist is also advisable if your voice or confidence isn’t great.

Use YouTube on-site video enhancement features when editing and uploading your videos.

YouTube has several options during the uploading stage to improve video quality. 

The YouTube help section is full of helpful tricks that enhance the picture quality of your video.

During editing, you can also trim and organize your video into clips. 

This allows you to work in sections and not shoot the whole video at once. 

This makes your editing process better and more efficient. 

Use video editing software and export directly to YouTube instead of editing on their platform. 

Video software is more versatile and gives better results.

Change camera angles and positions constantly. 

This makes your video more engaging with different varieties and flavors

If you hope to engage your viewers from beginning to end, then be creative and entertaining enough.

Use transitions and effects in your videos. 

If you’re editing a video with many moving parts, using the transition effect between different scenes is an intelligent idea. 

Effects are significant throughout the whole video and help make your content stand out.

4. Capitalize On The First 15 Seconds Of Your Video

Recent research has concluded that the attention span of the average human is shrinking rapidly. 

Very soon, the majority of humans won’t be able to focus for long.

This trend is evident, with many videos having high bounce rates within the first 15 seconds.

The first 15 seconds are so crucial that YouTube has a whole blog post specially dedicated to this time interval.

To effectively capitalize on your video, start with a hook and pack your video with pure viewing pleasure early on.

Here are a few great tricks to properly optimize the first 15 seconds:

  • Clearly state the video objectives in the intro as this will allow your viewer to understand the content of your video early. ex, “ this video will show how to cook pizza in three minutes or less.”
  • Give a sneak peek of an exciting part of the video that’s yet to come.
  • Do a short preview; you can clearly state what will come within the length of the video.

5. Create Content Based On Long Tailed Keywords

Keywords have become the buzzword on YouTube lately.

As the competition on the platform intensifies, you have to go deeper in understanding the needs of your viewers to stand out.

Keywords refer to words, phrases, search queries that your user’s input in the YouTube search console.

Understanding the kind of words users search will help you craft highly engaging, relevant articles for your viewers.

Long-tail keywords refer to a group of words, usually three or more words long.

Long-tailed keywords are essential because:

  • They have less competition.
  • Have a higher conversion rate since they are more specific.

Coming up with relevant long-tailed keywords to use is not a difficult task. 

Here are a few tips to help you get the best long-tailed keywords for your content:

  • Use YouTube suggested feature.
  • Use YouTubes autocomplete prompt in the search box.
  • Check out related searches sections.
  • Interrogate your comment section to get common queries from your viewers

Creating content around long-tailed keywords will give you an edge and rank your channel quickly for high competition keywords.

6. Use YouTube Cards To Keep Viewers Engaged

YouTube cards are preformatted, interactive notifications that appear both on desktop and mobile, used to advertise and promote youtube videos, websites, playlists, channels, or merchandise.

Here are a few YouTube cards best practices.

Cards are great for new videos as they increase viewer engagement for new material. 

Add cards to related videos that point back to your newer content.

Use cards when viewer engagements reduce

Check your retention report and make a note of engagement valleys. 

This is where viewers typically stop watching your video. 

Add a card at the exact moment that directs your viewers back to your content.

Improve the watch times of videos with high audience retention scores

Do this by using cards to redirect your traffic to these high-performing videos.

Cards do well at the tail end of your videos

YouTube advises putting your cards in the last 20% of your video as this improves the user experience by reducing distractions during the video.

Use audio, verbal, and visual cues to promote your cards

Most people miss cards or fail to take action quickly enough. 

Consider telling them verbally about your cards and use physical gestures like pointing to direct viewers to your card.

7. Increase Your Subscribers

Have you ever heard of the T-series, Cocomelon, or PewDiePie? 

Well, if you haven’t, these are the most subscribed channels in 2021.

T- series is so heavily subscribed that its followers (184 million) are equal to more than half of the U.S population ( 328.2 million)

Increasing the number of subscribers is a good idea.

More channel subscribers mean increased video watch time, audience retention, and improved ad and subscription revenues.

Increasing your numbers is not a walk in the park, but you can grow your fan base with these brilliant ideas:

  • Optimize your channel
  • Use relevant keywords, optimized thumbnails, and channel art in your channel.
  • Promote your channel massively on social media and other online forums.
  • Embed your videos in blog posts and other online content.
  • Pack your videos with strong CTA’s that encourage viewers to subscribe to your channel.
  • Offer freebies and enticements to new members who join your channel.

8. Write Relevant YouTube Titles And Thumbnails

Titles and thumbnails are the cues that direct viewers to your content. 

They give the viewer an idea of what your video is all about.,

Optimizing your video’s title and thumbnail to convey your channel’s brand and core values is advisable.

To optimize YouTube thumbnails, do the following.

  • Create clear, attractive, and compelling videos for your thumbnails that accurately reflect your video content as using misleading images will be counterproductive to your end goal.
  • Use both desktop and mobile-friendly thumbnails and make sure your thumbnails satisfy this market.
  • Edit your thumbnail image to make it visually appealing and stand out; use photo editing software for this.

Your video title plays a significant role in increasing your channel subscription and watch time.

Use these tips to optimize your video titles:

  • Use target keywords on your title and insert them naturally.
  • Use descriptive titles that properly convey your video content.
  • Avoid clickbait titles; titles that overpromise or that mislead are not suitable for your channel.
  • Use long-tailed keywords in your title.

9. Structure Your Playlist To Guide Viewers

When correctly done, playlists offer viewers more content options and keep them on the channel longer.

Playlists are essential in the following ways:

  • Allow you to group shared content in distinct categories.
  • Increase your watch time as videos within a playlist play automatically after each other.
  • Playlist drive SEO if video playlist titles feature relevant and high-demand keywords.

To improve watch time, increase subscriptions, and improve traffic to your channel, optimize your playlist.

Tips on optimizing your playlist:

  • Organize your playlist in an exciting sequence and write engaging titles and descriptions that will raise the viewer’s curiosity.
  • Optimize your keywords with relevant, high-traffic keywords as this is very important in achieving the overall goal of increasing our video watch time.
  • Use less than eight videos per playlist; give your viewers breathing space, and don’t overwhelm them with content.
  • Instead of linking to a related video, link to a themed playlist at the end of each video.
  • Use the playlist features to trim out intros and outros and make your videos more engaging.
  • Define video beginnings and endings to improve your user’s viewing experience.

Conclusion

Mastering the tricks of increasing your YouTube channels watch time is an essential skill that you need.

Your watch time affects your earning and ranking potential on the platform a lot.

A channel with a high watch time increases its client and sponsorship potential big time.

Follow the simple trick and tips outlined above to improve your channel’s watch time and overall health.

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