How To Increase Your YouTube Video Watch Time

The latest updates to YouTube’s ranking algorithm place a lot of emphasis on video watch time. Though at the surface level, watch time sounds like it’s about how long a viewer actually watches your video, it’s actually a bit more complicated than that.

Here’s a thorough explanation of watch time and everything you need to know to increase yours.

1. Share your videos on social media for a boost in session starts.

Session starts count for about 20-25 percent of your watch time. Basically, you get a new session start each time a user starts watching YouTube directly on your video and stays on YouTube when that video’s over. The more people who access YouTube through your videos, the better your watch time score will be.

In order to increase your number of session starts, encourage potential viewers to access your videos or channel through direct links. Every time you upload a new video, post the link on Twitter and Facebook. Instagram also allows you to embed links on your story. Many online creators also change their Instagram and Twitter bios to include each new video link.

If you want even more session starts, incentivize your viewers to share the links to your videos on their own social media accounts. Vlogger Collins Key retweets and follows fans who share his new videos on Twitter.

2. Tease viewers with an enticing title and thumbnail to increase view duration

Think about the kind of videos that make you want to click on them. They probably boast bright, colorful thumbnails with intriguing, irresistible titles. There’s a reason the videos on the trending page often look unbelievable.

Your video title should be short and bold in order to grab a viewer’s attention. Be sure that, like a newspaper headline, it makes use of action verbs. However, you should think of your video title more as a tabloid headline than something for the New York Times.

The video thumbnail should also resemble a tabloid magazine cover. Think bright and colorful. Yellow is more likely to catch someone’s eye than pastel blue. A great thumbnail should make use of three things: color, font, and facial expressions.

Once you’ve hooked your viewers, be sure to deliver on your promises with great content. Be careful not to give away all your secrets until the very end, though. The longer you can make a viewer wait to get to the “big reveal,” the longer that view duration will be.

3. Organize your videos into playlists to keep viewers on your channel.

A playlist will boost a viewer’s session duration and keep that viewer on your channel until the session ends. Both session duration and session ends contribute to the overall watch time.

Not only do you want viewers to start on your channel, but you also want them to stay there and end their time on YouTube there. In order to keep viewers on your channel, organize your videos into specific playlists. Group all of your similar videos together and give each playlist a short, descriptive name. Be sure to link to the playlist in the descriptions of the videos you include.

YouTuber Loey Lane is popular for both beauty videos and paranormal storytimes. In order to keep viewers who are fans of either kind of video around, she separates them into several different playlists. A new viewer who enjoyed a paranormal storytime, for example, could easily find a playlist for “VIRAL Scary Stories” or “Reading SCARY Stories.”

4. Upload frequently and regularly to achieve a steady watch time rhythm.

The YouTube algorithm works best for the channels that prove they can produce a steady stream of content that gets and keeps people watching. In order to find favor with the algorithm, you’ve got to build up a strong and stable viewership.

The best way to keep people watching your videos is to upload new content regularly and often. If you stick to a schedule, then your viewers will know when to come back to YouTube to find your latest updates.

Perseverance is one of the most important keys to success on YouTube. Once you find the kind of videos that your particular audience likes the best, keep going with it. If you switch up your style too often, viewers may stray.

Watch time is weighted at 85 percent in YouTube’s ranking algorithm. In order to increase the watch time for each viewer, encourage both session starts and session ends. Keep viewers on your channel and keep uploading new content regularly.

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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.

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