Yo Creators! There’s another way to know how your viewers like your content besides likes or comments. Today we discuss Audience Retention and learn how we can use this metric to our advantage.

retention menu explanationWhat is it?
Audience retention is the metric that reveals what percentage of your video is being watched by your audience. You could say this tells you how captivating your content is or how much your audience likes your content. You can also check up on audience retention for your entire channel, a video group or a playlist as a whole.

You can find your audience retention in your analytics section

Why is it important?
Audience retention plays a role in ranking your videos. Meaning that if you make a video about making scrambled eggs with high retention that video will appear higher in the YouTube search results than a scrambled egg video with lower retention. The idea behind this is that a video that’s been watched till completion evidently is more useful to viewers than a video that’s often been shut down long before completion.

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Pretty good Audience Retention

retention bad graph explanation

Viewers leaving the video early

Audience retention can be used to learn about your content. If you see a sharp drop-off in your graph at a certain point in your video this means viewers disengaged at that point. Now you can check your content to see what’s happening in the video at the point your audience checks out and make adjustments in your next video.

How to optimize audience retention.
To keep visitors watching your video it must deliver what they’re expecting. So, make sure your title and content correspond. Misleading titles will cause viewers to leave a video very soon. This same principle applies to your thumbnails. Baiting viewers with a thumbnail that doesn’t reflect your content will cause them to leave the video early and kill your retention rate.

Please don’t…

Video length
Longer videos are less likely to be watched till completion. The best viewed videos are below 5 minutes on average. But don’t be worried about making longer videos if that fits your style or message. To see how your retention compares to videos of comparable length you can check your relative retention in Analytics.

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Retention on a long video dropping off

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Retention relative to videos of similar length

There’s a couple of things you can do in your videos to improve retention.
Keep your intro short. Viewers need to be hooked in the first couple of seconds of a video. If they’re not hooked this can be signified by a sharp drop in retention at the beginning of your video. So maybe start with a quick preview of a spectacular moment to come later in the video. You can place this even before your intro/bumper if you have one. Check out the example below from the channel Bailey Living.

If you are producing an informative video make sure to hook them early by telling what you’re going to explain and what important info is coming up. Check out the below video from MRWHOSETHEBOSS for an example.


Make it interesting

Yeah, duh… We know, pretty obvious, but we’d like to mention it anyway. Remember to make the visuals varied by adding B-roll footage or inserting pictures. Also keep up the energy so your viewers don’t zone out when you do. Lockstin & Gnoggin does this very well in their videos. They’re full of illustrations and funny cuts to spice things up.

That’s it for Audience Retention. Have more tips and tricks you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments.