In the YouTube Creator Studio, click on Analytics on the left side and Audience Retention about halfway down.
The report will show the average view duration in minutes and seconds. It also will show the percentage of time that viewers spend with the videos in a channel. The report breaks down the view time and percentage viewed for each individual video and averages them for a channel total.
Why is Retention Rate Important?
The retention rate is one piece of information that tells YouTube something about the quality of the video.
If viewers quit an average of 10 seconds into a video, it’s pretty compelling evidence that the video stinks. The retention rate isn’t the only piece of information that suggests something about video quality. Other hints include:
- Number of likes
- Number of shares
- Number of comments
- Growth in channel subscribers
But the viewership percentage carries weight for obvious reasons.
What is a Good Retention Rate?
Searches on “average youtube revention rate” produces numbers all over the place with no consensus.
In many cases, YouTube publishers quote numbers below 50 percent, meaning that viewers quit watching their videos less than halfway through them. The best numbers averaged between 60 and 70 percent. A channel produced by this company has an average of 65 percent.
For the sake of having any benchmark, it’s safe to say that a publisher should strive for an audience retention rate above 50 percent.
A high retention rate is important for one other reason. If people aren’t watching more than half of the video, that half has been a waste of time for the publisher to produce it.
How to Achieve a High Retention Rate
Four simple tips will lead to a higher YouTube retention rate:
- Keep the video short.
- Focus on quality over quantity.
- Keep the subject narrowly focused.
- Use accurate titles and descriptions.
If unwatched video is a waste of labor, then it’s obvious that a publisher should limit the length of the video when producing it.
Five videos on a similar topic are about five minutes long. Each one has an average retention of 30 percent. If the next video is three minutes long and has a retention of 60 percent, it indicates that shorter is better for that topic or type of video.
A great three-minute video will get more comments and shares than a bad 10-minute video. Quality matters more than quantity.
People harvest highly focused topics online. A video about the 1967 Corvette sports car is much more targeted than a video about Corvettes in general.
Accurate titles and descriptions manage the expectations of the viewers. For example, a video about the “Best Time to Visit Aruba” has a great retention rate and many likes until it veers off onto general Aruba travel tips. Then the retention took a dive.
Beware keyword stuffing to attract more viewers. They will sense it, and so will Google’s YouTube quality methods.
Once the retention rate goes up, so will the video ranks on YouTube and Google. Good retention delivers more viewers.