Everybody talks about how to create your next viral hit, but what’s often overlooked is the importance of getting these viewers to come back to your channel. Today I’m going to walk through how to see who is new or returning and what you can do to ensure that you get those new viewers to come back and again and again. This will lead to long-term momentum for your channel and overall YouTube success.

Returning Viewer

A returning viewer is obviously viewers who… you know… returns. But it’s more than that. “Returning Viewer” is also a metric that you can track in your YouTube analytics. In the YouTube Studio you can break down the viewers of your videos into “new viewers” and “returning viewers.” Looking at this ratio is super helpful to know your audience. Subs are great, but it doesn’t mean those people are actually coming back and watching more content, which is a huge viewer signal to the YouTube algorithm. Because of this, your returning viewer number should actually mean far more to you than subscribers.

Also, knowing your ratio of new vs returning viewers is super helpful to know what you need in terms of strategy. If you are getting mostly returning viewers and hardly any new viewers, you should probably lean more into discoverable content to attract more people to your channel. However, if you are getting lots of new viewers and hardly any return, this is a major negative viewer signal to YouTube that you need to change ASAP.

Primal Branding

To get those viewers to start coming back, you really need to lean into a deeper connection. Primal branding is vital to make this happen. I want to emphasize that primal branding is something that you work out over time until it sticks. It’s leaning into the things you do and say naturally that become a habit and turn into things people love. Be aware of these elements and don’t edit out the personality in your content that people grow to really love. This is the key to working in primal branding. What doesn’t work is when a creator forces a bunch of random additions that aren’t authentic to themselves. (So don’t do that.) You’re in it for the long game here. Work it in slowly, where it naturally fits.

Titles and Thumbnails

But, something that you can start changing right away is your titles and thumbnails. I can not overemphasis how important these are. It really is the front door of your video and your first chance at a connection. To do this well, lean into emotion. Don’t just describe your video and make a basic thumbnail. Craft engaging titles and thumbnails on an emotional level that make your viewer feel something. Use emotional language. Portray an emotion in your facial expression. This is far more engaging than a description of your content. If you are struggling to know how to do this, go watch some YouTube and analyze yourself. Why did you click that video? What drew you in? Why did you not click on another video? Why did you leave in the first few seconds? Track your patterns and apply the appealing elements to your own content.

Seeing what you need to do is easy, but actually doing it is not. A practical tip is to pitch the benefit/reward in the title. So, instead of a title like, “How to get a line of credit for your Business,” your title can target what your target audience is actually worried about, such as keeping their house or not going bankrupt. Something like, “Start a business without losing your house” is a more meaningful title because it touches on the underlining fear that the viewer has and draws them in. Then, you can lean into that in your opening hook and connect your viewer to the real purpose behind your how-to content.

I know we harp on this a lot but your title, thumbnail and hook are really the most important parts of your video. We analyze data all the time and if you can get your viewer past the opening 10-15 seconds, there is a really good chance they’re going to stick with you for the rest of the video. Time and energy invest on these elements really have the most payoff.

Lean into the Feelings

Throughout your video there are a lot of things that you can do to try to really prioritize high retention. Storytelling is of course a key element in this because stories make you feel something. They connect with your viewer and stick in their mind, even after the video is over. They also allows you to be vulnerable. Also, make sure you are mindful of your pacing. Slow down during vulnerable moments and allow your viewer to feel the moment with you.

Utilize End Screens

Don’t.Sleep.On.End.Screens. End screens can be so powerful, yet they are so underutilized! If you have a video bringing in tons of views and that video points to another video, it’ll draw your viewer in further. And then if that video points to another, it just keeps going and the views are not limited to one stand alone video. So avoid the ending language, give a strong call to action and pitch your next video in the last 10 seconds. And please, only use 1 end card. Don’t make your viewer make a decision. Just lead them directly where they should go and they’re far more likely to end up there.

Power Tip

YouTube is releasing a ton of updates regarding shopping. You can link actual products from your video and your viewer can purchase the product without ever leaving YouTube. This is great for Youtube because it keeps them on the platform and great for you because it keeps them on your channel.

But even more than that, they are allowing you to enter a timestamp to allow a link bubble to pop up. If you want more info, click here and learn exactly how you can incorporate this in your content.

Keep Changing Lives!

Tim Schmoyer

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