Watch time, alongside the number of subscribers you have, is the most crucial denominator of monetizing your channel. The more people watch your videos, the more YouTube is likely to surface them in their search or recommendation features. But just having a view count is not enough entirely, it is all about how long your viewer watches that counts.
YouTube explains further: “Now when we suggest videos, we focus on those that increase the amount of time that the viewer will spend watching videos on YouTube, not only on the next view but also successive views thereafter.”
So, you not only have to attract viewers to watch your videos but you need to attract the kind of viewers who will watch the majority of your content and also keep watching after they’re done with your channel.
Now it is time to see exactly how to increase watch time on your channel and, ultimately, appear more frequently in search and recommendation results.
1. Start with a hook
The first step is to grab your audience’s attention in a flash The first 15 seconds are your window to make it happen. Your aim should be to make the first frame compelling – visually, through personality, or with messaging. You should speak directly to the viewer, not the audience as a whole. Be sure to ask a question or do something to spark their curiosity.
Be sure to provide at least some of what a viewer can expect in the beginning of your video. This is especially important for visitors who stumble upon your video seeing only the title and thumbnail.
2. Think about video chapters, like a book!
YouTube’s chapters make things easier for viewers to better understand what will come next. Therefore, make sure you break up your videos into segments. Each chapter should have a compelling intro moment followed by an intriguing narrative. Outlines can be useful in this process. A good tip here is to add timestamps which make it easier for your viewer to skip to a certain chapter with ease.
3. Essential keyword research
Remember, YouTube is the second-largest search engine in the world. Therefore you need to be doing simple keyword research specifically for this platform. There are plenty of useful tools that can helo, such as Keyword Tool.
Or you can do a competitive analysis. Research your top five to ten competitors and see what they are doing on YouTube. Look at their tags and keywords to the content they deliver. Also, be sure to read the comments under their videos.
4. Become a Storyteller
No matter how long your video is, think of it as a story both in the narrative and on-camera presentation. Storytelling works best for viewers who want to be entertained and those who want to learn. Make sure you are telling your story in a unique and interesting way so that your viewers want to keep watching.
5. Consider a Collaboration
By working together with a like-minded YouTuber, you can draw in viewers who normally watch your partners’ video channels, expand your audience, and increase your view time. Simple! It is best to see these partnerships as collaborations, not influencer marketing. The latter is all about getting new eyeballs on a product or service. Guest collaborations are more likely to feel authentic.
6. Length can be key
The shorter the video, the more people you need to view it in order to achieve the same total watch time as a longer video with fewer viewers. Therefore, If you publish longer videos, you can make them more targeted to your niche audience and still get a watch time that YouTube’s algorithm likes. A really easy tip can be to look at some of your current shorter and poorer performing videos and extend them. Once you publish the longer video, make those short videos private or delete them altogether.
7. Develop a series
By connecting related videos, you’re more likely to get your viewers to keep watching. Select the video with the most views as the basis for your series and then come up with a number of ideas to add to the series.
8. Use Analytics
Your YouTube analytics allows you to delve into the specifics of your viewer’s habits. You can see viewership in days and times and also you can see data on the videos themselves. Make sure you look into the drop-off times. You can then go back and see the content around those timestamps to assess what might not be working.