Audience Retention Rate – Everything You Need To Know About It

Last updated January 09, 2021

user Written by Nhat Kieu Minh


The term audience retention is probably a familiar concept to YouTube creators. Why? Today, we are going to dive into this topic to find the reasons. But first, let’s take a look at its definition. 

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What is audience retention?

It is the percentage of videos on YouTube that persons watch on average or average view duration. That means the higher the retention rate is, the more visibility on the platform the videos have. 

For instance, imagine that you have just uploaded a 10-minute YouTube video. If the average viewer watch time of this video is 5 minutes, your video’s  retention is 50%. With a similar length, if viewers watch the entire video, the retention rate is 100%.

So how does it affect your video’s popularity? Let’s find out in the next part. 

Why is it critical?

In a nutshell, YouTube prefers videos that keep its users watching. When YouTube rolled out its algorithm alteration several years ago, it stated:

“We have started adjusting the ranking of videos in YouTube search to reward engaging videos that keep viewer watches.”

Recently, the platform just confirmed the retention rate plays an important role in its algorithm as follow:

“And videos with consistently high viewer retention and watch time have the potential to show up more frequently in Search and Suggested locations on YouTube.”

Thus, it is clear that high retention videos rank high in the searches on YouTube and get promoted in different places like the homepage. 

The question is, “How to share several strategies you could use to increase the retention rate?”

Strategies To Increase Audience Retention

Compelling Hook Creation

You might not know this, but YouTube users decide if they like a video just within seconds. YouTube confirms that whether your videos could gain a high retention rate or not depends on the first 15 seconds.

That means if your video’s first 15 seconds are low of viewers, people are leaving in droves, killing your retention rate. Thus, it is critical to start your video with an attractive hook.

You might be slightly confused about the hook. It is to grab the viewers attention and make them continue watching videos. There are some types of audience retention hooks that you could use as follows:


See what is coming later on in your video. For instance, you can say, “I will show you why you should NOT do crunches later in this video.”

Clearly-showed value

This hook is extremely crucial. You let the viewers know what they could get from your video. For example, you can say, “You are going to know how to achieve a 10-pound loss in ten days with this video.”

Sneak peak

You have to start your video with a captivating moment that comes up later in the video. 

You will know the video’s topic, its importance, and the lessons you could learn from it just after watching the first 15 seconds. 

The introduction comes with a lot of movements and humor as well. That’s why it is more engaging. 

Pattern interrupts use

Well, you have hooked viewers in your video’s first 15 seconds. It’s great! Now the next challenge is to keep them watching. And in this case, pattern interrupts seem to be the best way to enhance your video’s engagement. The question is what the pattern interrupt is. 

Simply, it is a technique to alter a specific situation, thought, or behavior, as per Huffpost. For example, when someone is bored, he or she could switch to another video, which is bad for your viewer retention. 

And this could occur even if your video is great. That said, when you use pattern interrupts to switch things up, your viewers might stick around. 

For this case study, Buffer’s YouTube videos offered a bunch of value. That said, the videos did not utilize any pattern interrupt. That means these videos did not change much from the start to the end.

audience retention - Audience Retention Rate - Everything You Need To Know About It

When Buffer used pattern interrupts for their videos, such as on-screen graphics, different settings, B-rolls, and camera angle changes, the audience retention rate increased sharply.

Everything You Need To Know About Audience Retention

Remember to add more pattern interrupts to your videos. You could show an on-screen graphic or change video settings – anything you do counts to improve your audience retention.

Learn from valleys and peaks

Your YouTube channel is a goldmine to get the absolute audience retention. You could see it in the audience retention report below:


Everything You Need To Know About Audience Retention

When you take a look at your video’s analytics, you could see where exactly your viewers engagement drops. These parts of your video are valleys.


Everything You Need To Know About Audience Retention

Also, you could know where they tend to stick around your video in the audience retention report. It’s peak.


Everything You Need To Know About Audience Retention

So what could you do with these data?

Check out the video from the Backlinko channel.

As you might see in YouTube analytics, there is a peak in this video’s retention rate at 1:50.


Everything You Need To Know About Audience Retention

It is a specific example of the way to execute a tip from the video. So now you know, you will add more pattern interrupts to other future videos to boost your business. 

Otherwise, there is a huge valley at about 7:30


Everything You Need To Know About Audience Retention

This part includes many texts on the screen. 

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Frankly, this part is what viewers do not want to watch. Thus, we highly recommend using fewer texts in your next videos.

Outline or script use

YouTube users are quite impatient. To keep them wanting to watch your video, you have to use less of the words like “ahh,” “hmmm,” or “umm” in all videos. 

You also need to focus on your video topic. Otherwise, your viewers will click away and watch another video, which you can avoid by maintaining a nice flow of your videos through thorough outlines and plans before shooting. 

Why? Because when you use a script, your video will end up more focused and crisp, preventing viewers from losing interest. For instance, 7 Red Flags In Dating You Should NEVER Ignore video flows quite well with merely no “ummm,” dead air, or pauses.

Although Charlie’s talk seems to be natural, this video is completely-scripted. Thanks to the highly-focused script, the video is so alluring to watching.

Include open loops

What is an open loop? It is when you mention something that comes up later in the video. And as per research, open loops could keep viewers engagement in activities. 

You could see a lot of open loops in TV shows. Nevertheless, they are not reserved for TV shows with big budgets. You could easily include open loops in your videos by previewing something that comes up later. Easy, isn’t it?

For better understanding, let’s take a look at the below screenshot.

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The open loop keeps high viewer engagement in this video to see how their interested topic would be discussed afterward. 

Include visuals and graphics

Visuals and graphics are a good way to gain the attention of your audiences in your video content. How can they help?

They are useful in 2 ways:

  • First, visuals are known as mini pattern interrupts. Accordingly, when you include visuals or graphics to your shots, they help to reset your viewers’ attention, hindering them from being bored. 

For instance, you could watch this video at this link. It has many on-screen images to keep it entertaining and make the technical content easier to understand.

Don’t worry that you don’t know any skill for video editing. Many softwares today can easily help you add graphics to videos. Many search results of these softwares are available for you to click on.

  • Second, visuals, graphics and animations could help viewers get main concepts from videos. A person that is learning new stuff is not likely to go away.

Advanced strategies and tips

You might not know this, but jump cuts are familiar with Vloggers. Why? 

Because they keep your video views high. Jump cuts play an important role as they turn a long shot of a topic into different ones. They are also easy to do. For example, watch this video.

  • Don’t begin with a logo: As we mentioned earlier, your video’s first 15 seconds could make or break the overall performance. And nothing is less attractive than a logo. So remember to include it after you hook the viewers.
  • Use humor: To gain a higher retention rate, add some humor. People who are laughing will not stop watching. A person particularly likes corny humor. 
  • B roll shots: They are strong pattern interrupts, keeping your videos interesting and fresh. You could watch the video from Safiya Nygaard YouTube studio.

Final Thoughts

That’s all about audience retention. Now you could get a clear picture about what it is and how to increase the retention rates. We hope that our article is helpful for you.

Anyway, thank you for reading. If you have any further questions, feel free to let us know in the comment section below.


Nhat Kieu Minh linkedin

CEO & Founder of EazyViral

Continuously growing is our main target to become one of the best trustable providers in social networking services.

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