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How To Use the YouTube Audience Retention Tool



A tool is only useful when used correctly. We took a look at a tool provided by Youtube to help you improve your videos. Our current analytics obsession at Fresh Ink Marketing is YouTube’s audience retention tool. The tool provides statistics down to the second on what excites and what bores audiences and is found in the Youtube Audience Retention Report.


The questions this tool addresses are simple:

What content is engaging?

What content is boring?


Shockingly, those are questions a lot of companies forget amid the hustle and bustle of the business world. But that forgetfulness wastes your money and your audience’s time. After all, success is measured not by view count, but by how much you connect with your audience. In an effort to save you some time and money, let’s dive in to this helpful tool.


Here’s How It Works

The audience retention tool tracks how long viewers watch a video and at what point they tune out. Identifying the weak and strong points of your video informs your creative process and content for subsequent videos.

You can access the tool through a video’s analytics page within YouTube. When you click audience retention, YouTube will give you two numbers.

The first number is the amount of time your audience spent watching. And the second number is what percentage of the video your audience watches. These metrics give you a bird’s eye view of your video’s effectiveness.

But the numbers aren’t sophisticated enough to tell you exactly what makes your audience click out, or how your content compares to your competition. This is the opportunity we see, and the need we meet for our clients. To make your videos connect with the audience, you have to know what inspires them.

Introducing the audience retention chart – a tracker that shows engagement rates via a chart throughout the progress of your video. You can view your retention rates from two angles. One, there’s the absolute audience retention chart, which shows the engagement’s fluctuation for specifically your video. And two, there’s the relative audience retention chart that shows how your video’s engagements compare to other videos with similar content.


Absolute Audience Retention

The absolute audience retention chart tends to be more useful. You can pinpoint what works and what doesn’t work. To see this, start playing your video and a chart denoting audience engagement at each second of your video will simultaneously play.

Below is a screenshot of what you’ll see:

Notice the audience engagement level declines as the video continues to play. This is normal. Audience engagement does tend to drop off particularly in the first 15 seconds. So, you’ll need to start your video with a bang.

On an ideal chart, you’d have a flat or increasing line. This rarely happens. But you can come close by identifying at what points engagement drops. Does the line dip when Joe the Builder starts talking? Maybe it’s time to nix his 15 seconds of fame.

The audience retention tool also tells you what works. The line increases when your audience re-watches or shares the content. If a sweeping camera angle really spikes the line, develop those dramatic angles.


Relative Audience Retention

Comparing your video’s engagement rates with other videos of the same length pushes you to become more innovative and cutting-edge. You’ll know how the competition is doing, and how much you stand out from the crowd.

Below is a screenshot of a relative audience retention chart:




The comparisons are made from worldwide data even if you select a specific geographic location. The comparisons are made from worldwide data even if you select a specific geographic location. This chart gives you a market-wide perspective.

Pulling out key actionable findings from YouTube analytics is only going to rise in importance. Advertising big-hitters like Magna, who represents Johnson & Johnson and Coca-Cola, are shifting millions of dollars from TV ads to YouTube ads ($250 million in fact in the case of Magna). This goes to show how crucial YouTube is in the world of marketing, whether through targeted ads or company YouTube channels.

But much of this time and money spent will go to waste without thinking carefully and creatively about content. Without catching the right people’s attention, your message is just being yelled into the wind. Targeting content via the knowledge gained through the audience retention tool ensures you establish rapport with the right people, while keeping them engaged, learning, and coming back for more.

Plus, a higher retention rate equals higher rankings. YouTube gives higher rankings for relevant keywords to videos with higher retention rates. Videos with higher retention rates are served up as suggested videos more often. YouTube wants people to stay on their site, so they showcase what they perceive as the most interesting content.

These are just a few reasons why more time spent with the audience retention tool can prove valuable to your YouTube goals.


Get more video marketing tips that save you time and money here!