How Can I Improve My Watch Time On YouTube? (Step By Step)

Updated: May 2, 2018

When it comes to YouTube and being successful, watch time is one of the key metrics. Watch time is a key indicator of whether your video is performing well and how engaged your audience is. If your watch time is high, you know it is a good video, but if they abandon the video after less than 10% viewing, you know you have problems.


Is watch time important?

The official term for Watch time is audience retention This can be found within your your YouTube analytics. The videos which are watched the longest tend to rack up those crazy view counts and are the ones which bring the most CPM!


Four ways in which your Watch time can be improved:


Create high-quality, original content.

This may seem like an obvious tip, but it’s one that really needs repeating! The better the quality of your content, and the more original it is will only lend to a higher view count, but more importantly a longer Watch time. Viewers will continue watching videos which are highly entertaining and of the likes they’ve never seen before. Viewers are more likely to share such content as well!


Get the viewer excited!

If your videos take half the run time to get exciting or interesting, the viewer will have likely clicked away before the good bits start (now isn’t that a waste of effort!). Intros should be short and sweet, and the aim of your video should kick within seconds. With attention spans being lower than ever, immediate action is key! Keeping your energy consistent throughout videos is also vital. The fastest growing YouTubers, Jacksepticeye being one example, follow these steps to a T and serve as prime examples.


Never mislead the viewership. 

In a world riddled with click bait articles and videos with sexy thumbnails:  titles which trick viewers into clicking the video, only to find the content to not match will only lead them to click away from the video, looking for the content they’re actually after, so tricking your viewers with click bait and suggestive thumbnails will only lead to a reduced watch time, and therefore a reduced income. All of your video metadata should accurately reflect the video content and this will lead to a longer Watch time!


Watch Time is the KING metric on YouTube. If you can increase your watch time rates, you're almost guaranteed to increase your viewership and revenue.

Link the old to the new!

After running some viewer tests, annotations correlate between watch times on older videos.  It is proven that placing annotations on videos see’s a 15% increase in Watch time. Make sure that you annotate all of your videos, and enjoy the extra views!



YouTube watch time is so important and you should start working on ways you can improve it today. Slight changes in watch time can really help your videos get recommended more and you'll soon start to see them views increase!


Get Inspired


To keep up with all things #YouTube including tips, tricks and interesting articles, head over to to the Ritual Blog. You may even find yourself inspired to create and grow your own audience! You can also sign up for our FREE academy and get expert guidance on all things YouTube.


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