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YouTube Tips Dump your intro?

Tito Tim

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When I first started posting vids I did not 'have a channel' per se, I was just posting vids for my family back in the US. So I had no channel name, no intro, no outro, no plan... When YouTube approached me about monetizing I figured 'sure, why not?'. That was when I made a channel name, some channel artwork... and... the dreaded intro. I thought we were supposed to have one. Lots of channels had them.

Over the next few years I adjusted the intro, moved it to an outro, and got rid of it almost entirely. I will show you my experience, and why I dumped the intro. (Your mileage may vary)

My original vids were very short, as I said just showing the new house and neighborhood to my family back in the US. It was not until I started playing with the analytics in the new YT Studio that I started seeing a pattern. Which I think is kind of the point of the analytics. This is one of my first vids. There is no intro, no outro, but look at how smooth that retention line is. I wanted to get back to that. (but I also no longer make 2 minute vids ha ha)

I see everyone asking about SEO, tags, titles, thumbnails etc. Those are great to get ranked in search and get more clicks. But once they click on the vid - are they going to stay? I use the analytics to see patterns of behavior. The intro/outro was a glaring mistake on my part. They would click on my vid, and I would chase them away. That is not generally the best approach ha ha

02 No intro no outro.jpg


When I got 'serious' about YT I made a 20 second intro. As many channels do. And look at that initial drop. It is pretty bad. I know I hate watching opening credits, so why would I think others would want to? And 20 seconds is way too long! These vids have a 20 second intro and no outro. You see a big initial drop, a fairly smooth decline, and no much of a crash at the end.

03 20 second intro no outro.jpg


When I saw the horrid drop I decided to cut the intro down from 20 seconds to 3 seconds, and move the intro to an outro. I changed it up but still a 20 second outro? These are a 3 second intro, 20 second outro. As you can see the initial drop is not so bad, the views are pretty smooth, then a big crash at the outro. All I did was make people quit at a different time. Still the lesson I learned is intros and outros are bad for retention.

04 3 sec intro 20 second outro .jpg



Then I heard that a hook at the beginning is good to grab their attention. Ok... I shortened my outro, and started using a hook. These are a hook, 3 second intro, 8 second outro.

05 Hook, 3 sec intro, 8 sec outro.jpg


Finally I gave up on intros and outros. Now I use a hook, most of the time, and no intro or outro.

06 hook, no intro, no outro.jpg


I still see some initial drop, but not as bad as with a long intro. Also I see a better overall percentage viewed. On the older vids, I think many of the viewers did not skip the long intro - but clicked off the the vid entirely. The spikes are usually due to chapter marks. I would rather they skip ahead, instead of click off the vid. I am also looking at the continuous segment, and trying to learn what they prefer to see. Actually I forgot, I still have a 3 second outro, but my core audience likes it. At a school supply distribution party we have a bunch of kids yelling 'Thank you Tito Tim!'. I could cut that out, but it is only 3 seconds at the end... I do find that when there is a drop, it starts in the last 20 seconds that lines up exactly with the beginning of the End Screens. I am tempted to dump the end screen. I get so few clicks on it, I do not see that it helps me at all.

This has been a 2 year process. By cutting the intro/outro I am seeing a smoother retention line. There are some spikes, but overall it has smoothed out. There is still an initial drop, but not what it was with the long intro. I am also finding that a good hook helps minimize the initial drop. I am working on that...


We need to use the SEO to get clicks, but use the analytics to get the retention.
And remember - The algorithm isn't there to find viewers for your videos, but to find videos for the viewers. :cool:
 

CyberSorcerer

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I am going through the same testing right now. I hope TB doesn't mind me mentioning this but all of us should have our channels take FIRST and anything we can get to help is a plus. But because I have a number of channels that allows me to learn and test A LOT because each channel is both a different niche and industry than the others.

For instance, I have TubeBuddy Pro 'Paid' AND VidIQ free on one channel. I have VidIQ Boost 'Paid' AND TubeBuddy 'Free' on another. I have one channel that has BOTH TubeBuddy and VidIQ 'Free' etc. This along with other tools such as MorningFame etc. This is all because I need to help my channels grow but two of my channels are about teaching and helping people with there's too so I like to know everything I can about what I'm teaching. When someone says "yes the paid versions are good but I can afford them so how can ONLY using the FREE versions help me? Well if you can't have ANY money to invest you can get a lot done with both FREE versions together. But "if you are serious about making money with YouTube" then you're going to need to spend some money at some point to help you. Yes, YouTube analytics are there but you're going to have to spend a lot of time learning your analytics anyway because it's important.

And even though I'm just now getting serious with YouTube I do have a range of channels to experiment and test with. I have channels that are starting out 0 views and 0 subs and no videos to my best one that has been up for 11 years with 31 videos and nearly 100k views. So I have a lot of room to both test, experiment and research with and offer help to others as I learn myself.
 

Stanley | Team TB

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Excellent break down of this, and @Damon I totally agree. 'Enter the scene late and leave early.' My 'intro' is basically me taking my best-possible clip and slapping my logo on it for 2 seconds before diving into the beginning of the video. Intro clip is never more than 8 seconds and rarely that, I keep it short and sweet specifically for the reasons you mention.
 

Spanglish | Team TB

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I am going through the same testing right now. I hope TB doesn't mind me mentioning this but all of us should have our channels take FIRST and anything we can get to help is a plus. But because I have a number of channels that allows me to learn and test A LOT because each channel is both a different niche and industry than the others.

For instance, I have TubeBuddy Pro 'Paid' AND VidIQ free on one channel. I have VidIQ Boost 'Paid' AND TubeBuddy 'Free' on another. I have one channel that has BOTH TubeBuddy and VidIQ 'Free' etc. This along with other tools such as MorningFame etc. This is all because I need to help my channels grow but two of my channels are about teaching and helping people with there's too so I like to know everything I can about what I'm teaching. When someone says "yes the paid versions are good but I can afford them so how can ONLY using the FREE versions help me? Well if you can't have ANY money to invest you can get a lot done with both FREE versions together. But "if you are serious about making money with YouTube" then you're going to need to spend some money at some point to help you. Yes, YouTube analytics are there but you're going to have to spend a lot of time learning your analytics anyway because it's important.

And even though I'm just now getting serious with YouTube I do have a range of channels to experiment and test with. I have channels that are starting out 0 views and 0 subs and no videos to my best one that has been up for 11 years with 31 videos and nearly 100k views. So I have a lot of room to both test, experiment and research with and offer help to others as I learn myself.
Just so everyone here is aware we do not discourage our members from using any tools (the legal kind) that will help them in any way to succeed in their channels. We don't have a problem with discussions about using software like VidIQ. What we ask our members to avoid is coming here bragging about how they think VidIQ is better and doing advertising for them or any other service and software that TubeBuddy competes with. In other words, we simply ask for respect for our company and our members.

So, don't feel bad for mentioning VidIQ, or even using it behind our backs. We care about your needs as a creator and just want to do our part to help you reach your goals. Even if it's in conjunction with our competitors. Though we definitely appreciate you choose us for the paid version. ;)
 

Spanglish | Team TB

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I believe the first time I saw someone who had the same opinion was @Damon back when I first started hanging around TubeBuddy, before I was a moderator. I remember being shocked at the idea of not having an intro, especially when I was working hard to create one for my channel, but at the same time I understood. I follow many Youtube channels, some have intros some don't and some have dropped it altogether. One of the most noticeable to me is the Philip DeFranco Show. Back when I first started watching him he had an intro that was short and sweet with a monkey sound at the end. I loved it. But then he dropped it, right around the time he started changing his show to focus more on daily news and events and less on certain things he was known for that he didn't want as part of his show anymore. I still watch his videos religiously but I can't deny I miss that intro.

The intro is something that, in my opinion, can work depending on the channel and the creator and intros can be very obvious or very simplistic that you wouldn't even realize at first it's an intro. Like always starting your videos with something like "What's going on everyone? Bravestarr here blah blah blah". Short sweet and can be considered an intro without actually being one while starting the video right off the bat.

@Tito Tim Thank you for this experiment. It's amazing insight. I love this kind of testing.
 
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Tito Tim

Tito Tim

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I did the long animated intro, like so many young channels do... As I cut it down, and finally cut it out, I had to ask why I had it. Was it offering anything to the viewers? Was it stroking my ego? What purpose did it serve?

My channel is mostly a 'day in the life' kind of overseas retirement vlog. So they do not start very strong. Now I just look for a 3-5 second clip out of the vid to show at the beginning, as a hook. "...and that was when the police got involved!" Then start the vid. Those seem to work well.

Opening and closing credits are unnecessary.
 

MrHolland Gaming

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As a very new and young Gaming channel I use a hook (most intense or funny clip) 8 second intro and the start of the video. My data is not strong enough to tell if it works or not though.
 

CatchingDonks

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I originally was making 20-30 second hooks in the beginning. I thought it was cool but it was dropping retention like flies haha. I stopped doing this very recently and hoping that will make a difference in my channel.
 

c0nefn

Active Member
39
5
When I first started posting vids I did not 'have a channel' per se, I was just posting vids for my family back in the US. So I had no channel name, no intro, no outro, no plan... When YouTube approached me about monetizing I figured 'sure, why not?'. That was when I made a channel name, some channel artwork... and... the dreaded intro. I thought we were supposed to have one. Lots of channels had them.

Over the next few years I adjusted the intro, moved it to an outro, and got rid of it almost entirely. I will show you my experience, and why I dumped the intro. (Your mileage may vary)

My original vids were very short, as I said just showing the new house and neighborhood to my family back in the US. It was not until I started playing with the analytics in the new YT Studio that I started seeing a pattern. Which I think is kind of the point of the analytics. This is one of my first vids. There is no intro, no outro, but look at how smooth that retention line is. I wanted to get back to that. (but I also no longer make 2 minute vids ha ha)

I see everyone asking about SEO, tags, titles, thumbnails etc. Those are great to get ranked in search and get more clicks. But once they click on the vid - are they going to stay? I use the analytics to see patterns of behavior. The intro/outro was a glaring mistake on my part. They would click on my vid, and I would chase them away. That is not generally the best approach ha ha

View attachment 10766

When I got 'serious' about YT I made a 20 second intro. As many channels do. And look at that initial drop. It is pretty bad. I know I hate watching opening credits, so why would I think others would want to? And 20 seconds is way too long! These vids have a 20 second intro and no outro. You see a big initial drop, a fairly smooth decline, and no much of a crash at the end.

View attachment 10767

When I saw the horrid drop I decided to cut the intro down from 20 seconds to 3 seconds, and move the intro to an outro. I changed it up but still a 20 second outro? These are a 3 second intro, 20 second outro. As you can see the initial drop is not so bad, the views are pretty smooth, then a big crash at the outro. All I did was make people quit at a different time. Still the lesson I learned is intros and outros are bad for retention.

View attachment 10768


Then I heard that a hook at the beginning is good to grab their attention. Ok... I shortened my outro, and started using a hook. These are a hook, 3 second intro, 8 second outro.

View attachment 10769

Finally I gave up on intros and outros. Now I use a hook, most of the time, and no intro or outro.

View attachment 10770

I still see some initial drop, but not as bad as with a long intro. Also I see a better overall percentage viewed. On the older vids, I think many of the viewers did not skip the long intro - but clicked off the the vid entirely. The spikes are usually due to chapter marks. I would rather they skip ahead, instead of click off the vid. I am also looking at the continuous segment, and trying to learn what they prefer to see. Actually I forgot, I still have a 3 second outro, but my core audience likes it. At a school supply distribution party we have a bunch of kids yelling 'Thank you Tito Tim!'. I could cut that out, but it is only 3 seconds at the end... I do find that when there is a drop, it starts in the last 20 seconds that lines up exactly with the beginning of the End Screens. I am tempted to dump the end screen. I get so few clicks on it, I do not see that it helps me at all.

This has been a 2 year process. By cutting the intro/outro I am seeing a smoother retention line. There are some spikes, but overall it has smoothed out. There is still an initial drop, but not what it was with the long intro. I am also finding that a good hook helps minimize the initial drop. I am working on that...


We need to use the SEO to get clicks, but use the analytics to get the retention.
And remember - The algorithm isn't there to find viewers for your videos, but to find videos for the viewers. :cool:
yep, i usually have a 5 second intro so its pretty good
 

Spanglish | Team TB

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As a very new and young Gaming channel I use a hook (most intense or funny clip) 8 second intro and the start of the video. My data is not strong enough to tell if it works or not though.
I can tell you from experience as a viewer that hooks on gaming channels can do great if done right. It's usually how I do my videos because it worked on me. I would highly suggest a 5 second or less intro if you're gonna have one. Gives you what you want and gets out of the way faster to avoid losing the viewer. I incorporate my intro into my video content so I get the intro effect and they are already watching the content.
 

Damon

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I still want the CTA's but do I need them? And whats a better way to transition from the hook to the video introduction? Thanks!
This is where you need to study filmmaking. Jump straight into the video. People don't care about hooks and transitions. They only want the meat an potatoes. Get the book, "How to Shoot Video That Doesn't Suck." Steve Stockman talks a lot about this and almost no one on YouTube does it. Jump straight into the content.

Notice how TV shows and movies just jump straight into footage these days. In an era of binge watching, no one needs an intro, hook or CTA. You start the video by delivering exactly what people clicked for. Otherwise they quit on you. No one needs to be told to subscribe or click an icon or go to a Web site. All that stuff is pure junk that gets in the way of the one thing that matters: delivering the content you promised.
 
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Tito Tim

Tito Tim

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So what you are getting at is that intros and outros don't help.
What I do have is a string of CTA's at the beginning at my videos...
Intros and outros did not work for me. But I do not like watching other people's opening and closing credits either, so it makes sense to me.
Not sure what a CTA is, in this instance, but it is best to jump into the topic. I do use hooks, only because my vids are quite often 'day in the life', so the beginning can start a little slow. I do a lot of 'walk & talk' vids, so a hook showing some highlight to come later seems to help my vids. Depending on your topic you may not need a hook, if you can jump right into the action.

When I use a hook, I use no segue into the main vid. I just start into it.
 
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Tito Tim

Tito Tim

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Looking at your latest Lego vid...
I like the hook, but then you slow down with an intro, then start showing the set. I would keep the hook, but then go straight into the discussion. I would cut the intro (from the 10 second mark to the 32 second mark). Showing the hook can work because you are showing them what is to come, but then telling them what is to come kind of slows the video down. Once you started showing the set, it was better.

Oh, CTA... call to action... got it. Yeah, the tuk-tuk vid grabbed my attention because I live in Southeast Asia. I liked the intro showing the real tuk-tuk, and looking at the lego set. The call to action should probably not be at the beginning. Show them something first. Really, everyone already knows to like. subscribe, and share, so is it even needed to call it out? Maybe towards the end of the vid. I quit asking in my videos but I have a couple pop ups (small, in one corner) saying 'subscribe' or 'share'. Nothing to distracting, but a gently reminder. I just saw you have one in the tuk-tuk vid, around 3:18. Those are all I use now.

Now I have to ask Santa for a tuk-tuk for christmas ha ha
 

Damon

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So I should just jump straight into the content? I'm used to doing an intro as in I explain what exactly is happening in the video, but that could be annoying now that I think about it because they already know what to expect. But as for a hook, I still would want that, right? Otherwise people could lose interest and click off.
That's the problem, you don't need to explain anything. You need to show not tell. That's what I mean about studying motion picture. People are showing they are annoyed becasue they stop watching. That's why they stop watching after about three seconds. Again study motion picture. There is over 100 years of film and movies, hard lessons won, and almost no YouTuber uses that information.

A hook: If your main content isn't getting the job done, a hook won't either. It simply means the main content is weak. This is video not a lecture. There is so much bad video out there. People simply don't know how to communicate with motion picture. A language developed over thousands of film and tv. If you want to learn to make video that captures and hold people attention. If you want a hook to help set the overall pace, fine, but otherwise having a hook just to have a hook is not the way to go.

For instance, a mountain climbing channel: What most modern YouTubers do:

"Hey, YouTube! Today we're at Mount ClimbUp, and it's so nice outside! It's so beautiful, with the clouds and the rainbows and the unicorns! We have some new gear, and I'm here with my buddy Climberman785! We're gonna climb this mountain, and it's gonna be so awesome, but before we do, if you like these videos, be sure to click the subscribe button, and be sure to hit the bell icon so you won't miss a second of the action. While you're at it Check out my Web site and pick up some merch. Also my Twitter and Insta, climb on board over there as well.

But anyways, back to the mountain I could not believe how beautiful is was when we came up here. I heard things about it, but, man, it's something else. What I'm gonna do in this video is test out this new Climber Rig 2000. #nosponsered, but they did send me this over to test." Lets get to it! [By legal definition that mean you are sponsored.] 4 minutes

"Cut the intro!" Some cheap Fivver 3D effect show up to about 15 second

Most YouTubers carry on in this fashion for 3 to 5 minute before they actually start the video. And they wonder why no one wants to watch their video.

Compare to a NATGEO film:

First shot: Big honkin' mountain, 3 seconds max
Second shot: a truck driving past a sign that says Mt. ClimbUp, 5 seconds
Truck pulls up to a spot, a bunch of guys jump out and start rigging gear 5 seconds
Camera focuses on the face to each climber with their names via title card 3 second each
Camera focuses on the back pack labeled Climber Rig 2000
Camera cuts to birds, bees, flowers, trees.
Voice over says, "I think we can climb it in one day; don't know how this rig will hold up, though."
Camera cuts to guys starting the climb.

If each of the above shot only lasted 5 second each, you only talking 40 seconds, yet they communicated everything the YouTuber did with hardly saying anything at all.

Check out Steve's video about this very thing:
View: https://youtu.be/jF0z9k93Y9Q
 
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Tito Tim

Tito Tim

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Most YouTubers carry on in this fashion for 3 to 5 minute before they actually start the video. And they wonder why no one wants to watch their video.

Compare to a NATGEO film:
That is all very good advice. I am still working on that, too. :cool:
 
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Tito Tim

Tito Tim

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Here is an update. I still try to use a hook (but they do not always apply). No intro, no outro - and now no endscreen. I was getting a big drop 20 seconds from the end, when the endscreen pops up. My endscreen over the last year has a 1% average for clicks. So for now, no end screen. If I use them they will be on a per video basis and a directed endscreen. Like 'click this vid for related info'. The generic endscreen has not served me well.

This vid is the retention graph I am looking for. No big drop at the intro, not much of a drop at the end. Check out the highlighted 'top moment' (looks like they renamed the 'continuous segment'). At the very end of the vid I finish with 50% still watching. I am much happier with that.

Also, with my better internet connection in the city (from 1/3 Mbps upload to 11 Mpbs upload) I now produce in a higher resolution. The new camera and microphone have also gotten a lot of compliments on improved quality. One subscriber actually asked if I hired an editor because the vids are so much better ha ha :cool:

Barbaza Seawall Day 2 stats.JPG