If viewers are abandoning your YouTube videos very quickly so that you’re not getting the watch time you need to have them rank better on YouTube, I’ll show you how to fix that by avoiding a few common mistakes YouTube creators make with their videos. These tips will help you hook your viewers’ attention so they watch your videos longer, spend more time on each video, and become an engaged part of your YouTube channel. Avoiding these mistakes will also boost the youtube SEO value of your video for future YouTube viewers.
It’s one thing to get people to watch maybe the first 15 seconds of your video. But how do you get them to watch a minute, 2 minutes, 10 minutes, the full video? One of you guys in the Video Creators community actually commented and asked this question.
“Nice video. But what can you do if most of the video viewers quit watching in a 15 second mark or even sooner?”
That is a great question. I think to really answer that, we need to first understand why a viewer clicks on a video in the first place, and that is this. The title and the thumbnail they clicked on set an expectation that they are hoping will be fulfilled in that content, in that video, when they click and start watching.
When that expectation is fulfilled many times for a growing number of people, that’s when YouTube is going to start getting all the positive signals they need about your video. That’s when people are going to not only click to watch, but they’re going to keep watching. And they’re going to watch a lot of that video, giving you a lot of watch time.
And then they’re going to go on and watch other videos, which is going to extend the viewing session time– all really positive, important signals for Google to get. So that will make them start to highlight and promote your videos in different places around YouTube, including related videos, content to other people’s videos, and suggested videos, and on the home feed of people who maybe watched one of your videos but didn’t subscribe, and a lot of places like that.
The reasons of why a viewer would abandon your video are then exactly the opposite. There’s actually two things that we boil it down to.
Title and Thumbnail don’t Correspond with the Video
Number 1 is that the title and the thumbnail set them up to expect something different than what they’re actually seeing. It’s a misleading title, a misleading thumbnail, in some way. Not that you’re intentionally being misleading, but they clicked expecting something, and they’re not getting it.
The Video is Too Slow
Or number 2, maybe they’re kind of getting what they expected, but the video is just going– it’s just too slow. It’s too lame. The value just isn’t tight enough. It’s just boring and is not delivering that much value, or at least not as much as they were hoping to get.
So what should you do? How do you hook a viewer and get them to keep watching more of your videos? I want to give you guys three action steps that you can do right now.
1. Craft Enticing Titles and Thumbnails
Number 1 is that you need to craft very enticing titles and thumbnails. I know this goes without saying. I know you’ve probably heard this many times before. I know you have on this channel if you’re a subscriber here. But the problem is that most creators think that their titles and thumbnails are already awesome.
Let me encourage you guys, if you spend just as much time crafting your title and your thumbnail as you do crafting the video itself, because it doesn’t matter how amazing your content is if the title and the thumbnail don’t entice someone to click in the first place and properly set the expectation for what someone is going to get in that video.
Another common problem I see among creators with this, though, is that most of them, they feel like they’re thumbnails and their titles are already awesome. They feel like they’re already good. And they’re like, well, that’s not my problem. My titles and thumbnails are already good, Tim.
Well, if your channel is not growing and you’re seeing a high abandonment rate on your videos at the very beginning, then I would just ask you to humbly consider that maybe there is a way you can do better titles and thumbnails, assuming of course that your content is awesome. It’s stellar.
Make Sure the First 15 Seconds Coincide with the Title and Thumbnail
But that leads us to the next action step you should take, and that is to make sure that the first 15 seconds of your video relate very closely to the title and the thumbnail that someone just clicked on. For example, in this video, I opened this video up telling you guys, this is what we’re going to talk about. This is what I’m going to teach you. And it’s all related exactly to the title and the thumbnail you saw to click this video.
I didn’t jump straight into the content. I didn’t jump in by opening the video by introducing myself or welcoming you to the channel– nothing– I did all that, but that came after I set the hook.
Something I find particularly common among entertainment-based channels, like vlogging and gaming and things like that, is that their title and their thumbnail do relate to the content but often not until something that’s like five minutes into the video or eight minutes into the video. By that time, anyone who’s clicked on that title and thumbnail expecting something, and it’s not coming till five minutes, they’re not going to hang around for five minutes to see if that eventually happens or that thing eventually comes.
If the nature of your content is such that you don’t know what’s going to come, then you could start the beginning of your videos with “Coming up on” Or “In this episode” and some music and some quick highlights, a little montage featuring what’s going to happen, teasing the story, cutting to your branded intro, and then cutting to your normal content. That’s one way to do it.
The way I recommend you do it, if at all possible, even with vlogging, is you’ve got to know what story you’re going to tell that day. What are you going into? What’s the main story you’re going to tell? And then open up with that story, already having an idea of what title you’re going to have for that vlog and what thumbnail you need to capture for it so that it ties in with the opening of that video.
I get my hair cut.
Your really die-hard, your subscribers, they’re not going to care. They’re going to watch anything you publish. What we’re thinking about right now is how do we get new people, people who’ve never heard of us before, never seen us. They have no idea that his might be coming at five minutes. Instead, they just want to know right at the beginning, should I keep watching this video? Is it worth my time? And if they clicked on that title and thumbnail expecting something, the beginning of your video needs to say, yes, it’s coming, and let me affirm it for you right away.
Pay Close Attention to Audience Retention Graphs
And the third action step for you guys is that you need to pay close attention to the audience retention graphs in your YouTube Analytics. Go back and study your previous 20 videos or so, and just look for patterns. What are the reoccurring themes you see when there’s dips or when it goes up? That means someone went back and watched it multiple times. Or they skipped ahead in the video, something like that.
Do you notice that, for example, anytime you talk for more than 20 seconds, people start to leave your video? Or maybe you discover, hey if I go more than 10 seconds without a cut, I see people start to leave and abandon the video. Maybe– one person I worked with noticed that whenever they said the word “module” in their videos, blip, blip, blip. People would just leave their video.
And so all he simply did was stop using the word “module” in his videos, and his audience retention went up. He got more watch time. His videos started performing, all because of that. And he would have had no idea if he wasn’t studying his audience retention graphs and seeing what are those common things that are making people abandon my videos? What are those patterns that I can trace across all 20 of these recent videos I’ve done?
There’s a lot of other things we could talk about related to this topic. But I want you guys to share your thoughts in the comments below and the rest of you to go down there and read the comments other people are leaving. Learn from each other about what other tips and ideas and tricks you have for hooking a viewer and keeping them watching for longer periods of time in your content.
And if this is your first time here at Video Creators, I would love to have you subscribe. This channel is all about helping you guys grow your YouTube audience so you can spread a message that reaches people and impacts their lives. Thank you for letting me be a small part of that.