Improve watch time on your YouTube videos
Let’s look at a few different ways that you can increase the watch time on your individual YouTube videos.
How can you make them more engaging and make it more likely that people are gonna want to stick ’round and stick watching your video right to the very end!
Use a ‘hook’
The first way that you can make sure that people stay watching your video, is to use what’s called a hook. The hook is going to make it really clear to people what you’re going to talk about in that video and let them know, reassure them, that you’re going to deliver on the promise of the title and the thumbnail of your video.
My hook at the beginning of this video was super quick, but here’s what I said:
“Let’s dig in and explore a few different ways that you can increase the watch time on your individual YouTube videos. How can you make them more engaging and make it more likely that people are going to want to stick ’round and stick watching your video right to the very end”
It’s really important to keep this bit quick, but play into people’s pain point, make them realise that you’re going to give them the solution to that particular problem they have, or answer the question that they have.
And then make sure that you dive into the content as quickly as you can.
Another great tip for keeping people watching your videos is to use little teasers.
Let them know towards the start of the video that you will be providing them with an extra tip, a bonus piece of information, a free download, something that’s going to make them want to keep watching.
Here’s an example of how I’ve done this in a previous video:
“Now stick around because I have a super helpful resource, which is gonna make it so much easier for you to share your videos across all your different platforms and save you so much time.”
Change what’s happening on the screen
Change up, as often as you can, what’s happening on the screen. We want to be able to hold people’s attention. So there’s a few different ways that you can do this.
One way is to use what’s called B-roll. B-roll is just extra video content. So if you’re a talking head on the screen show a bit of B-roll of you doing something else, like looking through your phone, typing on your laptop, whatever it might be, that’s relevant to your video.
Transitions are important too. There’s a number of different things you can do, depending on the video software that you’re using. But even the most basic packages, like iMovie, offer really simple transitions to add into your video at different stages as you’re moving through the content.
Jump cuts are really important, too. This is where you add a little cut in the video where there’s a natural pause between sentences. And instead of having long pauses between the next sentence, you’re literally just moving through the content quite quickly, and it keeps people engaged.
You can use zooms or pans, or you could film yourself at two different angles on two different devices so that people have that alternation between the way that they see you on the screen.
Now, here’s my favorite tip. I don’t mind admitting that I hate waffling. I hate it when people don’t get out what they need to say as succinctly as they could.
We’re all busy, we all want to get to the point. So try and say what it is that you need to say and give people the information they need in as few words as possible. Try not to use fillers, and try and avoid the temptation to make your video that little bit longer, because you want that little bit extra watch time. I know that that’s tempting, but actually it’s better if we can just keep people hooked and engaged, and get them watching the video for the full length, rather than trying to fill it out, just for the sake of it.
Keep an eye on your analytics
For each video, try and see whether there’s any patterns that you’re noticing. So for example, if a lot of people are dropping off in the middle of your intro, that would be a serious red flag. That would be telling you that you need to change things up a little bit, so far as your intro is concerned.
Consider making it shorter or change what you say.
It might be that your videos are dropping off a certain number of minutes through. Could it be that your videos are just that bit lengthy? And could you maybe say what you need to say in fewer minutes.
This doesn’t mean that you have to be crazy on the screen. It doesn’t mean that you have to push yourself too far out of your comfort zone and really not be yourself. It is really important to be yourself, but it’s also really important to remember that video, the camera somehow sucks at least 20% of your energy and your life out of you.
So try if you can to inject an extra bit of energy, perhaps a little bit more than feels quite comfortable, and even though it might feel to you that it’s over the top, I can guarantee you when it comes across to the person watching it, it will be just right.
For any of you that don’t know info cards, it’s the little i in a circle that appears at the top right of the screen, and it can link off to other videos, or playlists, or sometimes websites.
Many people make the mistake of putting cards too early in their video. What you’re essentially doing here is making it really easy for people to move away from your video to go off to other content, which in a way is great if they’re watching more of your video content and more content on your channel. But we want to try and get people watching that video for as long as possible.
YouTube does recommend that you save using info cards to the last 20% of your video. However, do keep an eye on the analytics for your individual videos. If you do notice that people are dropping off at a certain point, try popping a card in just before that point, to try and keep people there.
Don’t make it obvious the video’s coming to an end!
Don’t say phrases that suggest to people that the video is coming to an end. This can be a cue for people, especially if they feel that they’ve got all the value that they need, to jump off the video.
Don’t say, “Thanks a lot guys, this is my final tip now coming up.” Instead, just segue into your final point as you normally would, and then straight away, add your outro, use your call-to-actions and tell people what you want them to do, whether it’s subscribe to the channel or watch another video, etc.
Maybe start your end screen going as you’re even finishing the video so that people can see the options on either side of you to go and watch other videos.
If you’ve enjoyed this video, do subscribe to the channel and then you can be the first to hear about new videos as they’re uploaded!
P.s. Here’s access to a free trial of TubeBuddy, my go-to tool for YouTube channel growth! You can get three months to play around with this amazing tool. It’ll save you so much time and help you get so many more views on your YouTube videos.