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How to Keep Audiences Engaged in Your YouTube Videos

When it comes to increasing engagement and view times on your YouTube videos, you'll need to take a holistic approach to evaluating and refining your content. Don't worry--that's not as intimidating as it sounds. Basically, there are loads of reasons a viewer may stop watching, but you can turn them into reasons to stay. Check out our three top ways to keep audiences engaged on YouTube videos.

get longer view times on youtube

1) Improve Your Production Quality

Something that sets YouTube apart from other social media is the expectation of production quality. Unlike YouTube, Instagram and TikTok developed an all-in-one platform, allowing a user to film, edit, and post a video without ever leaving the app. Because of this interface, genuinely high production quality tends to be more of an added bonus than a necessity on these apps. On the other hand, YouTube viewers have radically different expectations. Because these videos tend to be significantly longer than those on Instagram and TikTok, having just mediocre production quality is far less tolerable and engaging (maybe it's just because we're videographers and editors, but this is a bit of a pet peeve of ours). Poor audio and video quality make it harder for most viewers to become (and stay) engaged for the right reasons. And don't forget: Increasing production value also includes editing. Do you cut out lulls and dead air? Do you incorporate additional visuals to show rather than tell? Do you add aesthetic or funny graphics that help hold the audience's attention? Check out some popular YouTubers and note how they add text, graphics, zooms, cuts, and other fun animations to make their videos more engaging. Odds are, a video just of you talking into a camera with nothing else is not going to hold a viewer's attention.

2) Review your Analytics

To be successful on any social media platform, it's absolutely essential that you review your analytics. On YouTube, sign into Studio Content Manager, and select Analytics from the left menu. Find the Overview tab, and select the Top Movers section. This shows you the data of your top-performing videos for the past 7 days. Next, select the Assets tab to get data on any post of your choosing. YouTube collects and makes available an abundance of specific data to reflect the reach, engagement, and success of your content. It will even show the exact minute in a video where people click away. This makes it relatively easy to find patterns in viewership. Pay close attention to that drop-off point. Are your videos simply too long to hold your audience's attention? Maybe there's a certain topic that your viewers find boring, irrelevant, or controversial. And (not to be the picky videographers we are) note if there's a point where the production quality dips and loses your viewers' attention.

3) Refine Your Scripts

Lastly, it's finally time to review your scripts critically. They absolutely must start with a hook and tease the ending throughout. It's just common sense--the audience needs a reason to stay. Have you ever made it to the end of a video online and thought to yourself, "Well... that's 5 minutes of my life I'll never get back"? A video with no payoff is not only boring, but it will likely frustrate viewers who chose to stick around. If viewers are under the impression that all of your videos fall flat, they're not going to bother even clicking on them in the first place. Give the audience something to be waiting for that they only get if they watch the full video.


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