We’ve known for a while that YouTube’s most important ranking factor is video watch time. It makes sense—YouTube wants to keep users on the site for as long as possible, so the more time people spend watching and interacting with videos, the more YouTube will focus on putting those videos where viewers will see them.
That’s cool and all, but how can you increase your YouTube watch time to ensure that your videos are prioritized in search? Use these five tips to impress your VP of Marketing with huge increases in views and watch time.
1. Optimize for Search to Get Seen
Getting seen is the first step to increasing your YouTube watch time. After all, having zero views also equates to zero minutes of watch time. YouTube is one of the largest search engines, so it’s important to make sure your video is optimized for search. Make sure your main keyword is the first thing in your title, and make sure you also say your keyword in your video.
In this digital world, you can bet that YouTube and Google have the ability to “listen” to your video. Optimize for clicks by making sure that your thumbnails stand out with bright colors and bold imagery. Finally, make sure that your title and description are compelling, and will entice people to click on your video.
2. Focus on Quality
You only get one shot at a first impression, and a little professionalism goes a long way. One of the easiest ways to make your videos look professionally done is to add an intro. The best part about YouTube video intros is that you only really need to make one once, and you can use it on all of your videos. Our favorite way to add an intro is to use After Effects templates because 90% of the work is already done, and all you need to do is customize the template for your brand.
3. Master Your Hook
Getting seen and looking professional are a start, but in order to make that your entire video is being watched, you need to hook your audience—ideally in the first 15-20 seconds of your video. We suggest being direct about what your video is about, providing proof that you know what you’re talking about, and giving a little cliff hanger. For example, you could say that you have a case study and reveal one exciting thing you learned to make them want to watch to find out what else you learned.
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4. Provide Unique Information
Hooking your audience is one thing, but you also need to backup your hook with unique and interesting information. Do you have some data to share? A case study? An A/B test? Including information that no one else has is a good way to make sure your audience stays engaged and shares your video.
5. Make Your Videos Longer
The shorter your video, the more of an uphill battle you will face. A video that is only a minute long and has 1,000 views will still have less watch time than a 10 minute video with just over 100 views (assuming your audience makes it through the whole video). While longer videos tend to perform better naturally, if you add too much fluff, then you might have a lot of drop off. One simple way to add a little extra length to your video is to add an After Effects intro.
What are you waiting for? Start setting yourself up for success on YouTube and prove to your boss that you totally deserve that promotion to Content Marketing Director. If you’re in need of some inspiration (and help), explore our After Effects intros—you don’t have to tell your boss how easy it was to make your videos look professional.