What is YouTube Retention and Why is it Important?

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There are different factors that affect YouTube video rank on the website’s search engine. These include things like keywords, competition, and the number of views the video has – but one thing a lot of beginners aren’t aware of is viewer retention. Retention is tricky but important, and a good viewer retention can be well worth your time.

youtube retention rate

What is YouTube Audience Retention?

YouTube’s Audience Retention (also known as Viewer Retention) is the percentage length of your video that viewers watched. For example, if you upload a video that is exactly two minutes long and someone watched it for 30 seconds, you’d have a retention rate of 25%. If someone else watched the video for a minute and a half, he would have a retention of 75%, and the video would have an average retention rate of 50%.

Since the numbers aren’t always going to be that easy to crunch, YouTube analytics does the job for you and leaves you more time to focus on improving those numbers. It has been proven that by increasing a video’s retention rate, it ranks higher for relevant keywords on YouTube and gets suggested more often to potential viewers. Focusing on viewer retention is important for anyone looking to grow their reach on YouTube, as it is guaranteed to get you out to more people who are interested in your content.


Five ways to increase viewer retention

increase retention1Quality.

Perhaps the most important thing you can do to increase viewer retention is create higher quality videos and keep your viewers engaged. This should be your main goal as a quality YouTube video creator, and it will help with not only a higher retention rate but with every other aspect of promotion and growth. The better your video is, the more people will want to watch it, and the easier it will be to have a stronger retention. Without this, everything else becomes exponentially more difficult. 

Keywords and tags.

It might seem like a good idea to include as many tags and keywords as possible, but in practice this can really hurt your retention rate. If your video pops up for a keyword that is irrelevant to the content, someone might click on the video, realize it’s not what he was looking for, and close it within the first 10 seconds. Avoid this by making sure your title, description, tags, and keywords are all optimized and completely relevant to the video content and message. Here is a more in-depth look at properly optimizing keywords, tags and more on YouTube videos. 

Video Promotion.

Promoting your video is an important way to get more exposure, but promoting it to the wrong crowd will also hurt your retention rate. In general, a targeted audience is more valuable than an untargeted audience, and a targeted audience will always help viewer retention more.

Buying Views.

Buying views has become a popular method of boosting a YouTube channel’s popularity, and viewer retention remains a factor when considering providers. Most providers for YouTube-related services will state their retention rate right on the plan or package you’re ordering. If you don’t see any mention of retention on the plan or website, don’t risk trying that service. Always go for providers that have been proven to deliver high-quality views with strong retention.


Analytics are a way for you to quantify your YouTube efforts. They’ll tell you what your retention rate is, and show you whether it has improved with certain videos. You can see where your traffic is coming from, so you can tweak and optimize your promotion strategy. Analytics will also help you test out different YouTube views providers by reporting your retention rate for the views received.

It’s time to get to work!

To improve your YouTube presence, it’s important you don’t neglect your retention rate. YouTube is more engaging than other social media sites, because videos take time to watch. YouTube knows this, and rewards videos whose viewers watch start to finish. However, between great video quality, optimized keywords and tags, video promotion, buying views, and analytics, your channel is certain to reach more interested viewers, achieve a larger audience, and move up the YouTube ranks.

Date: January 13, 2016 / Categories: Explainer, SEO, YouTube, / Author: Rich Drees


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