YouTube Audience Retention Tips 2021: More Watch Time!

This post was most recently updated on February 9th, 2021

Hello, Neil Shearing here from with another “One Quick YouTube Tip” video for you, this time about “Audience Retention” (AKA: Stop my audience running away!). Please subscribe to my channel to get notifications if you like this video. You’ll find more YouTube tips in a playlist on the channel. 🙂

In this video, I want to go through some of YouTube’s analytics to show you one of the woes a beginner producer and content creator can have and what we can do about it to try to improve the audience retention of your new videos on YouTube.

So let’s dive right in.

Example Of Falling Audience Retention

An example video I published has got 24 views so far. If we scroll down and have a look, the key moments for audience retention, show us one of the reasons why this video is doing pretty badly and not getting a lot of traffic.

There’s a massive viewer drop off in the first few seconds. So after 12 seconds, I’m down to 64 percent viewer retention. I don’t know, maybe that’s just my face that people don’t like or maybe I was asleep at the wheel when I recorded this intro or something like that.

But worse than that is the retention then drops from 71 percent down to 29 percent. So there is a massive drop. People start watching the video and then the number of viewers drops like a rock.

Audience retention drop

So why does it do that? Let’s do a bit of digging.

Locating the part of the video responsible for viewers leaving

I opened up the video and the time point at which it drops like a rock is from 45 seconds.

Locating the segment in the video responsible for viewers leaving.

I’ll get to forty five seconds on the video and play it for you.

I’ll save you. It’s boring!

That’s the problem.

People were being turned off because that part of the video was dull.

Don't have dull bits in your video!

From then they managed to retain pretty much through to the end of the video without a problem.

Don’t have dull bits in your video.

Using the YouTube editor to remove the boring part of the video

What you can do instead of having to edit the offending video, re-render it, upload it and create a new description which will have a new URL for a new video at YouTube, is you can just come into the editor. What you do is you move this pointer to the start of the piece that you want to cut out, then you click trim, then click split and then you move the pointer to the piece where you want the removed segment to finish.

When you’re happy, you click preview and you check that you’re happy that you’re cutting that piece out.

Once you’re happy with your edit, you click save, and then you have to click save again.

Using the YouTube editor to excise the dull part of the video.

I think it’s not possible to undo it. Once you’ve said you want to actually finish the save because YouTube will then slice that bit out of your video.

Update your video timestamps

After you’ve edited your video, it will be shorter. So if you’ve put timestamps in the description of the video, you’ll need to go and update those so that you don’t upset everybody who’s watching your video and clicking on the timestamps. The timestamps are very important because they result in the jumps in this part of the video where you’re seeing a spike for the audience retention.

Update your video timestamps after deleting part of your video.

That’s people clicking on the timestamps and starting to watch that little bit compared to other people that would just otherwise be a straight line.

So what I’ve done is I’ve looked at the analytics for the video. I found that there’s a steep drop off. I’m not happy with the drop off. I’ve cut out that bit from the video that can save you a lot of time compared to doing it inside your editing program on your raw file, cutting out the piece you’re not happy with, re-rendering the video and re-uploading to YouTube.

It would get a fresh URL and you’d have to do a new description in your thumbnail etc. You have to do all that extra work again. So using the editing tool that is in YouTube studio allows you to slice out the bit this dull and boring and then make sure you don’t do that dull and boring bit again in future videos!

Don't do the dull and boraing part again in future videos!

OK, I hope you enjoyed this one short tip for YouTube beginners.

Good luck with the rest of your video creation and marketing and I’ll talk to you again soon.

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Thanks for watching.