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YouTube Tips How to Increase Retention

Stanley Orchard

Amazingly Decent and Not-At-All Terrible Fishing
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There are three critical elements when it comes to making successful content on YouTube; researching and strategizing your SEO and discovery data, creating a thumbnail package that optimizes the amount of times a video gets clicked on when found and of course making amazing content that keeps viewers enthralled in your work. I am going to take a moment to discuss the latter with a dive into the things that you can do to increase the amount of time people spend watching your videos.

You Only Have Ten Seconds
From the time someone clicks on your video until the time their interest draws them to the next thumbnail on the screen you have less than ten seconds to do something that is going to create the intrigue required to keep them watching. You can take the ten seconds that lead up to the single most important/interesting part of your video and use that as an introuduction, or you can open with a question that requires the entire video to answer. Regardless of your approach the goal is simple; you need to grab attention and do it quick.

Slice and Dice
People have a very short attention span these days, and that has never been more evident than in their viewing habits online. The rule of thumb is that a video clip should be no longer than 8 seconds (with the exception being the use of longer clips for dramatic effect or when multiple intriguing elements occur in a single clip). That of course does not mean that every clip should be exactly 8 seconds... watch any show on television and count how long their clips are. Often you will find that in a 19-21 minute episode of anything on TV there are hundreds of two second clips used. Get into the practice of 'beginning a clip late and ending it early.' Increase the number of clips used and trim heavily to keep your content upbeat and punchy. This will go a long way towards increasing your retention.

Visual Appeal
Our medium is video and it is obviously a very visual medium. Therefore you need to utilize this as a means of keeping viewers interested. Flashy graphics and colorful overlays will go a long ways towards keeping the content on screen interesting. It can be daunting work, but often times describing what is happening in text at the bottom of the screen allows viewers to delve deeper into the content when the scene isn't being depicted thoroughly by the video itself. It also offers another line of communication between the creator and the viewer, which allows the creator to more thorughly express their humor, what is happening or expand on the information being presented.

Audio Appeal
This is a highly underappreciated portion of the content bubble... but one that can totally make the difference between a dud and a winning video. Combine little audio effects with your overlays, the events of your video and/or scene changes and see how much more immersive the video becomes. The impact is inexplicable when done right. For videos that come across as 'dry' or in need of better flow try adding a subtle track of music.

Cut The Fat
I do fishing videos on my channel, and on a good day I will film upwards of 3 hours worth of video that i edit down to a 15-20 minute video. That is a lot of material left on the cutting room floor, but it is a necessary evil for the greater good of creating the 'perfect' video. You are not married to your videos. I know the feeling; you worked hard to film what you did and you want as much of it as possible to be seen by the viewer. It can be hard to cut out so much of what you did for so small a product. But I promise it is worth it. Get comfortable behind your editing software, cut out every time there is a pause, an 'um,' or an 'uuuuh...' Cut out the dead air and then when you have all that cut out start over and cut out all of the portions of your video that aren't necessary for the topic being conveyed. If you aren't cutting at least 50% (should probably be more like 75%) of your video when editing then you are either A) not cutting enough out or B) not filming enough to cut out the amount that is necessary to make something awesome. There is a silver-lining to this massive thrashing of your content though; since it has already been filmed you have more than enough content necessary to cobble together extra content that can be utilized to promote your work on other social media platforms.

Big Explosions
Keep it interesting. That's it. Here's a complex answer to the simple question 'How Long Should My Video Be?' The perfect video is probably Ten Hours Long. That's right, that should be the perfect length you are aiming for. Will you accomplish this? No!!! You will not. In order to keep an audiences attention for that amount of time you will need to produce something that is going to compete with The Lord of the Rings trilogy or every Marvel movie ever made. We are talking Avatar or Titanic quality material. We can't do that. So we gotta keep it shorter. If you have a 30 second clip of a bird with its wing resting over a kitten you can't turn that into a ten minute video. But you can turn that into a successful 45 second video and do exceptionally well. Honor your audience by keeping the video a respectable length... start the video late (this creates intrigue and allows the viewer to spend a moment figuring out what is going on) and then end it early so that they will either A)rewatch the video B) watch another video and/or C) share the video.

Be Exponentially Valuable
And finally, one of the single most important things you can do to keep people watching is to multiply your views. What is more valuable than one person watching 100% of your video? Two people watching 100% of your video or two people watching 100% of multiple videos. It can be difficult to figure out, but you should spend some time crafting your content in such a way that it encourages viewers to watch more videos and/or share it out with their friends. Be introspective; your friends have shared videos with you before. Why did they do it? What made it worth sharing and how can you reproduce that effect? If you figure this out you will have captured PewDiePie level magic in a bottle.

I spent a little time putting this together but suffice it to say I am not PewDiePie or Peter Jackson and there may be some other keys to increasing retention that I totally missed. Please take a moment to add your thoughts below; I would very much appreciate the wisdom of anybody out there who's sees any glaring omissions!
 

Damo’s Paintings

Extremely Well-Known Member
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Cut The Fat
I do fishing videos on my channel, and on a good day I will film upwards of 3 hours worth of video that i edit down to a 15-20 minute video. That is a lot of material left on the cutting room floor, but it is a necessary evil for the greater good of creating the 'perfect' video.
Ouch!! My newest video suffered a lot cutting and slicing, my cutting floor couldn’t be more filled with garbage, but it’s for the viewers, and what they want.
 

Gunjit

Well-Known Member
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You need to find out the exact point viewers are leave your video in analytics, Then go to that part and check why a normal viewer would leave and then dont repeat the same mistake in your future vids
 
OP
OP
Stanley Orchard

Stanley Orchard

Amazingly Decent and Not-At-All Terrible Fishing
Moderator
1,095
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Subscriber Goal
250000
When you say "start the video late," what do you mean by that? Thanks.
Imagine filming a video of a car driving by. You hit record and the driver walks over to the car, gets the keys, gets in, turns the key, puts it in drive and then drives by you.

If you want a shot of a car driving by you are not going to want all the stuff that happened before the car driving, so you are going to 'trim your clip/video' to where it just shows the car driving. That is beginning the scene late; you are cutting out all the unnecessary stuff that happens before the more crucial aspect of a video.

For more information on the topic i highly suggest researching 'scene design.' These film school concepts will greatly improve anybody's camera work and the overall performance of your videos.