How to Engage YouTube Viewers to Increase Audience Retention and Watch Time

Even though most YouTube content is no longer than a few minutes long, there are still plenty of barriers to the goal of having a viewer engaged to the very end of one of your videos once they have clicked on it, and that will put a heavy dent in arguably YouTube's most influential analytics - audience retention and watch time. Reasons for viewers not watching to the end of a video include:  

  • Video unexpectedly buffers early on
  • Viewer sees more appealing suggested video in sidebar
  • Video does not get to the point or be clear on what it will contain

It is the last bullet that I want to focus on for this blog. Once you have attracted someone to click on your content with a great title, description, and thumbnail image, it is so important to set expectations  or hook the audience in the first few seconds of the video. Here are two ways this technique can be used:

In how-to videos, show off the finished product first

No one wants to sit through even a few minutes of video instructions if they don't know what the end result will be, so if your video is a tutorial, show your audience what they will achieve at the end of the video in the first few seconds. 

Create intrigue to compel your audience to continue watching

Whether he pops onto screen with a fascinating fact or intrigues his audience with his tone of voice and location, Vsauce  does a great job of compelling his audience to continue watching, even though his videos are - in YouTube terms - very long. 

Similarly, you could use a teaser clip of a scene coming up in the video or a spoken line ike, "Want to know that links a pot of jello and a punch in the jaw? Keep watching to find out!" to hook in your audience. 

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