One of the major elements contributing to your video’s ranking in the YouTube algorithm is watch time. The longer viewers keep watching your video, the better it ranks. However, the longer a video is, the less likely viewers are to watch the entire thing. As a creator, you have to find the middle ground.
Here’s how to determine how long your videos should be.
1. Look at your audience retention rates.
The most important factor in determining your ideal video length is how long your audience is willing to keep watching. This number is called your audience retention rate. You can find it in the analytics section of your dashboard.
Learn how to read your audience retention analytics by watching the video below.
2. Compare your videos to similar ones.
Next, look at the time codes of videos similar to the ones you create. Make a list of the lengths of recent, popular videos in your niche. Round them up to the nearest minute. Then, to find the average, add them together and divide by the total number of videos in the list. The number you get is the average length of those videos.
You can repeat this with videos from specific channels or a new set of videos. Average together all of the averages you get to determine a more specific ideal video length for your content niche.
3. Go as long as your topic requires.
In the end, the ideal length for your video is however long the topic requires. If what you’re talking about is important or interesting enough, viewers will be willing to sit and watch for longer. Don’t sacrifice the integrity of your content just to keep it a certain length.
For example, Shane Dawson’s popular documentary series grow longer every episode. When he shared on Twitter that his finale was going to be almost two hours long, fans supported his decision. When he uploaded the video, it trended number one.
So…. the last part is currently 2 hours. we’re having trouble cutting things out because it’s all so interesting and real. i don’t know what to do. i also feel weird about adding music to some of the things me and jake talk about. 😩
— Shane Dawson (@shanedawson) October 17, 2018
The ideal length for your videos is however long your viewers are willing to watch. Use your audience retention analytics as a starting point, but keep experimenting to find what works best for you.
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Kristen Harris enjoys listening to a wide range of music, from Taylor Swift to, on occasion, Celtic instrumental. She also spends her time writing, reading, and baking.