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All About YouTube Watch Time and 6 Tips to Improve Yours NOW

All About YouTube Watch Time and 6 Tips to Improve Yours NOW: Beauty and the Vlog Podcast 66

Welcome to another episode of the Beauty and the Vlog podcast! I get a lot of questions from peeps asking about the elusive YouTube Watch Time and what it means. In this episode I dive deep into watch time, what it means, how it can help your channel and the best reports to use to track your watch time and determine how and what to change in your videos. Listen to the episode by clicking on the pink bar above or download on iTunes or Stitcher. (If you like the podcast, please make sure to like and subscribe!)

What you will learn in this podcast episode:

1.) The MOST important component of the YouTube algorithm.

2.) A SUPER EASY trick to generate more watch time on your channel even if you don’t have a lot of content.

3.) The specific things YOU can do today to increase your video watch times.

4.) How to use YouTube analytics to improve your watch time.

5.) Super secret button you are probably not taking advantage of in your settings that can help your videos come up in related videos.

Keep reading for the show notes, but for more detailed information listen to the podcast where I go in depth on this topic.

All About YouTube Watch Time: Show Notes

So, what exactly is watch time? According to YouTube, watch time is,  “The amount of time in aggregate that your viewers are watching your videos…”  And, according to the YouTube playbook, “YouTube optimizes search and discovery for videos that increase watch time on the site”.

Ok, lets get into this. Watch time is derived of two components, the first is the amount of time someone spends watching each individual video you upload onto YouTube. The second component is session watch time. Both session watch time and video watch time work together to determine how YouTube will optimize the search and discovery of your videos. 

What is Session Watch Time?

Session watch time is the entire time someone spends on YouTube as result of one of your videos. For example, if someone clicks on a link from outside YouTube to watch one of your videos, that begins a session. OR, if someone searches for something in Google or YouTube and clicks and watches your video first, that begins a session watch time. If that person only watches one of your videos but ends up spending two hours on YouTube watching a bunch of other videos, that entire “session” counts towards your channel. The more something like this happens and the longer people stay on YouTube either watching your videos or as a result of one of your videos bringing that person onto YouTube, YouTube sees that as favorable. As a result, YouTube will view you as an “authority” and further promote your videos. Keep in mind, if someone clicks on your video via search but searches for something else after watching your video, that ends your session watch time. Or, if someone links outside of YouTube from a link in your description after watching your video, that ends a session.The point is to keep people on YouTube as long as possible, whether or not they are watching your videos. Ideally you would want people to stay on your channel, but there is still benefit to attracting people to your channel and making sure they stay there even if they are not watching your videos!  Below are six tips that will keep people watching your videos and staying on YouTube.

Tip #1: Get to know the Audience Retention Report in YouTube Analytics.

Use the audience retention report to see the average time watched on your videos. You can take a look at the overall average watch time on your channel as well as drill down and see the average watch time for each individual video.
There are two types of audience retention The first is Abosolute Audience Retention which shows you the average views throughout the length of your individual videos and where people are dropping off. You can use this report to evaluate where specifically people are dropping and clicking out of your video.
YouTube Absolute Audience Retention Report
The second is Relative Audience Retention. Relative Audience Retention shows how your video compares to videos on YouTube of the same length. YouTube will rank your video anywhere from low, below average, average, above average or high compared to other videos of the same length. This metric is interesting to watch, but not as important as the Aboslute Audience Retention mentioned above.
YouTube Absolute Audience Retention

Tip #2: Be Concise and Don’t Ramble

If you are a newer YouTuber, don’t spend too much time at the beginning of your video chatting about yourself or things unrelated to the video topic. Get to the point of what the video is about and get right into the action. This is where using the Absolute Audience Retention report mentioned above can be helpful. If you find people are dropping off towards the beginning, you might want to trim down your intros. OR, in looking at the reports, you might notice in the body of your video, people are tuning out, that might also be a good indication you might be off-topic or spending too much time talking about one thing. I spoke at length with Maria AKA Agapelovegirl about this issue during her channel critique. 

Tip #3: Add B-Roll, Jump Cuts and Edits.

A few weeks ago I interviewed Cassie who does a great job of this and talks about the importance of adding variety through production in her videos. Adding spice and variety to your videos keeps them engaged, interested and not bored. 

Tip #4: Use Playlists!

Make use of playlists on your YouTube channel. By including playlists on your channel homepage, people will be inclined to watch them, thus increasing their session watch time. Create playlists for all of the different type of videos you do. Or, start a series on your channel and create a playlist for that. If you have a series on your channel, say Tip Tuesdays or Favorite Fridays, then you should have matching thumbnails for all those videos. That way, in your playlist, the video thumbnails all match. Also, if those videos end up coming up in related videos on the right hand side, people will identify those videos as being in a series. Make sure to share the playlist links in your social media instead of just individual videos. Don’t forget to have a good thumbnail, title and description for your playlist as well. You can include all kind of videos in your playlists if your are short on content, you do not have include just your own videos you can pull in videos from anywhere.

Tip #5 Have a strong hook at the start of your video

Give your audience a reason to stay until the end of your video. Recent podcast guest Yarissa Rodriguez mentioned that tip during her interview. Example could be, “stick around for my absolute favorite lipstick I’ve been using for years” or “I mention a special new product I just discovered later in this video” or whatever you think might keep people hanging on for the entire length of your video.

Tip #6: Use YouTube Tags

For every single one of your videos, make sure that you ALWAYS tag your name, your channel name and the name of any series you are doing in the tag section. By doing that, YouTube will link all of your videos and be more likely to promote the videos throughout YouTube such as the related bar on the right hand side.
Well, there ya go! Six tips to help you increase the watch time on your channel. Have you tried any of those tips? Leave your comments below!

Here are some other episodes you might enjoy

Why October is the BEST time of year for YouTube beauty. 
How to start a YouTube channel the right way with Tim Schmoyer. 
How to brand your YouTube Channel

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Author: Erika Vieira

Marketing and sales expert Erika Vieira is the host and producer of the #1 influencer strategy podcast, Beauty and the Vlog. The podcast, with over 100 episodes and hundreds of thousands of downloads is dedicated to content creators who are looking to start, improve and grow their unique influence online. Erika works with influencers on personal branding, content improvement and defining a niche via customized strategy sessions, channel critiques and business support. She also loves makeup, beauty and her family and believes anyone who has the drive and passion can find success online. Feel free to send her a message here.