How to Increase YouTube Video Watch Time: 5 Methods

increase youtube watch time

Everyone wants to get more watch time. Watch time became more important than ever because YouTube’s algorithm ranks videos in YouTube’s search results mainly considering video’s watch time and retention rate.

By keeping up good retention rate and getting more watch time, you can rank your videos higher, consequently making your channel more popular. Here are few methods on how to instantly increase YouTube video watch time.

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1. Concentrate on the first seconds

First impression is the most important. You have to catch your viewer’s attention right after your video starts. If you won’t, then viewer is going to lose interest in what you have to say and turn off the video right afterwards.

Statistics show that viewer on average within 15 – 20 seconds is able to decide whether that video is worth his time and whether he should continue watching the video.

First 15-20 seconds are the most critical so you need to briefly tell what that particular video is about and make it as intriguing as possible. Beginning needs to be engaging, to the point and inform your viewer what they can expect if they continue watching that particular video. Also mention some facts which boost your credibility to talk about that particular topic. If viewer is not interested in your video, he will turn off your video immediately and that will hurt your watch time badly.

If first 15-20 seconds of your video hook the viewer, then there are more chances that he will watch more of your video (if not all), even if it’s not as interesting as he though it will be. So, always prioritize the beginning. Better take some time off video editing and add additional time to think of different video beginning ideas, as it will give your video better performance.

2. Create accurate titles and thumbnails

Another reason why viewers may bounce off your video right away is misleading title and thumbnail. You need to choose only those titles and thumbnails which accurately reflect your video topic/content.

No question – you need to write catchy titles and create custom intriguing thumbnails, but don’t go overboard! If title and thumbnail is catchy, you will get better click through rate, but if video content doesn’t give viewer what he wanted, then your watch time will be horrible. And that will affect your search rankings as one of the main factors for getting good ranking results is watch time.

So, having that in mind, always title your videos accurately and provide content according to the title. As there is no use of good click-through rate if the watch time is low. Just be honest with your viewers and don’t click-bait.

Don’t forget to check Audience retention reports in YouTube. If you see that your video gets sharp drop-off within first 15-20 seconds of your video, it may mean that your title and thumbnail are misleading.

3. Create videos according to long-tail keywords

As study suggests, targeting long-tail keywords and creating video content according to that may increase your watch time. These videos generally rank better on YouTube’s search and are getting good retention rate. In other words, these videos are highly targeted. These videos get good retention rate because if the viewer was looking for that specific topic and video is right to the point, then he will probably watch it all.

You can find long-tail keyword ideas several ways. One way is to use YouTube’s search suggestions. Just go to YouTube’s search, type in beginning of your keyword and YouTube will provide suggestions in a drop-down list.

Note that these are not just some random keywords, they are highly searchable keywords! Choose the ones that have at least 3-5 words in it, as anything less than 3 words wouldn’t be considered long-tail.

4. Focus on content quality

Quality first, quantity always second. It’s a no brainer. Why would you have many low quality videos with bad click-through rate and low retention rate if you can have one quality video that is intriguing, gets high click-through rate, bounce rate is low and retention rate is up to 90%?

It is always better to have fewer high quality videos, as YouTube’s algorithm mainly consider viewer retention rate while ranking videos in top positions. That means low quality video will never be ranked high in search results. If you can produce many high quality videos then go ahead, but usually that’s not the case.

High quality videos will produce you results few years after their publishing so you will get benefits from them many years from now. On the other hand, low quality video will soon be even removed from YouTube’s search as algorithm will see that it doesn’t get good retention rate and viewers quickly bounce away.

Just make sure that your video is informative, unique and useful to your audience. Also, spend more time editing and double checking everything. Keep in mind that good quality video may even go viral, and that can make or break your YouTube channel.

5. Make your videos longer

This one is obvious right? If you make your videos longer proportionally you will get more watch time. But not so fast! This technique works only if you create quality content and keep the viewer interested till the end of your video.

If you would just add couple extra minutes to your videos but content would be boring and the viewer wouldn’t find it interesting, then your retention rate would be worse. Consequently, your video would rank worse in search results. So that would harm your watch time in the longer run.

So, make sure to create long videos only then when you know that you can add extra value to your video by those extra minutes. Then your retention rate won’t decrease and you will get more of the watch minutes.

Here were 5 methods to increase your YouTube video watch time. Do you know of any more methods? Share those with us in the comment section below.

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