Increasing Viewer Retention on an Uploaded Youtube Video


Increasing Viewer Retention on an Uploaded Youtube Video

Increasing Viewer Retention on an Uploaded Youtube Video

It can be so frustrating when you put up a video, it’s getting views and then you see that actually most of the people viewing it aren’t watching more than ten seconds of it.

Before you rip it down, there’s a few things worth trying to see if you can increase the user retention. Obviously this isn’t foolproof, some videos just aren’t going to make it no matter what you do, but it is worth experimenting to see if there’s anything you can do.


First off, check your title, is there any way it could be confusing? Over on my bodypainting channel I had a video called “Beginner tips for liquid latex” and it had terrible retention, I renamed it to “Liquid Latex Safety Tips” because it was a video talking about how to safely use liquid latex, not actually work with it to create anything, I got less views on it, BUT the retention rate went waaaaay up. Even if you think there’s no way that your title could be misunderstood, try rewording it.

Even though the new title on the liquid latex video was working fine albeit with a lower view count, I experimented with variations of the new title to see if it would improve.

Basically, make sure that the title you’ve given your video accurately describes what the video is about.



Like the titles, the thumbnail should represent your video, if you’ve done a video for a smokey eye tutorial and you’ve use a random image of a smokey eye that you found online, change it to a picture of the smokey eye you’re doing in the video, even if it means having to do a screen grab of the final look from the video. If your thumbnails is misleading then you’re probably getting a lot of clicks because viewers think they’re getting one thing, and once the video starts they’re getting something else so they click away.

Drop Off Annotation

When you look at your analytics retention you might notice that there is a clear drop off point. Go and check out what happens at that point in the video that could be making viewers drop off. If you manage to work out what it is then you could try using an annotation just before the drop off point making reference to it for example “Sorry guys, off on a tangent, word vomit stops at XX:XX” and make that a link to that point in the video so that people can jump ahead to wherever you think is a good spot to pick back up.



Some youtubers have strong accents, or speak very fast or quiet, or have bad mics, or they put the music up too loud and it’s a struggle to hear them. If you think there’s any chance that people are dropping off because they can’t hear or understand you, add subtitles so that people can read along. Not everyone will want to read them, and some people won’t notice the option to have them on, so if you’re pretty sure that’s the issue stick a annotation telling them that there’s subtitles available.

Edit the video with youtube editor

Youtube finally has it’s own little editor so that you can do some basic editing on videos that you’ve already uploaded. If you found a spot where people are dropping off in the analytics retention chart then you could cut that chunk out of the video. That way your video will still keep all it’s views, and any position it’s managed to gain in the search results, but will be missing that off-putting part of the video.

Make a new one

If there’s really no way of salvaging it, then you could make a new one. Leave the old video up and add in a link to the beginning informing people that you have an fancy new version or the video.

While this isn’t going to improve the old videos retention, in fact it’ll probably make the retention even worse, it’s still going to guide users to a video on your channel. At least the viewers are going to still end up on one of your videos and not someone else’s.

Once you feel like the newer video has earned a decent spot in the search results (chances are the older video will out rank the newer one for a while) then consider getting rid of the old one if it’s not getting that many views.

Link to a different video

If you don’t want to/can’t make an updated version of the badly performing video then you could put in an annotation link that goes to a related video on your channel. Again, you want to make sure that the annotation pops up near to the start of your video.

Even though the content your linking too isn’t exactly  the same as the one you’re linking from, hopefully some viewers will click through to it.

Remove the Video

If all else fails, you might want to just take the video down. If you’re not 100% sure if you want to remove it, you can just set it to private until you make your mind up, then no one will be able to see it except you while you decide.

There are some cases where you might want to take it down, if you think that it’s offensive in some way (you can usually tell if it is because people in the comments will be letting you know), if you think the video hurts you or your brand or your strategy, if you’re giving people advice that could endanger them, that sounds so dramatic, but I do SFX makeup tutorials so there’s lots of opportunity for me to forget to mention something important. If there’s absolutely no saving the video, sometimes there’s just nothing you can do to up that retention and in some cases it can be better to take it down.


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