How I tripled my YouTube Audience Retention

How I tripled my YouTube Audience Retention play video
Written by: Dexxter Clark
#1 Improve visual appeal – do this
[pick up camera]
I’ve started focussing more in keeping the image interesting.
I started picking up the camera once in a while and shoot on other places than my default position at the table.

[broll shower]

YouTube is a visual platform, so there needs to be changing in the image at all time.
Especially informational talking head videos can get quite boring.

Use more b-roll than is fun to edit.
A-roll is your talking head like this.
B-roll is everything that you put over your A-Roll to make more clear what is going on, like this.

[A4 met text bee- roll]

In script I also write the b-roll I want to shoot.

Use a lot of jump cuts.
[b-roll photo met weird face. in edit: ken-burns]
When you use a beautiful photo like this one or a static image like talking head footage, use the ken-burns zoom-in effect.

Also, I use sound effects to spice up the edit
I started using more zoomed in jump cuts, like this.
I started flipping the image, like this.
…. No not like this, from this, to this.

[in front of computer]
All these things you can do in your video editing software.

[b-roll DAW video: stukje crash in camera]
I’ve also started producing videos on my DJ channel with more B-roll than actual A-roll.
Although the results are great, the 2 extra days to edit is not really fun.

#2 Best way to pace & edit a video
Editing pace
The ideal pace a YouTube video depends on your audience.
A younger audience prefers a much quicker pace than an older audience.
For millennials you should edit out all the breaths for example.

[broll: davinci resolve]
I have to work twice as hard with English not being my native tongue, to get things fluent on camera.
The edit is a huge help to keep the pace in the video.

I started to live by the Mr Beast mantra: No dull moments in your YouTube video.
[broll: showinog davinci resolve cut out footage]
In the edit I cut out huge parts that I wrote and recorded, just to improve the flow of the videos.
I look at the information I’ve got and think about the most effective way to communicate that.

watch video a day later
When I’m finished editing, I watch the end result the next day, so I can see things from a fresh perspective.

[broll: on couch]

[full screen]

I’m going to lay on the couch and watch the video all-the-way through in full-screen mode, so I have no connection with the timeline whatsoever.
I watch for mistakes, repetition, but also for parts that are boring.

#3 Be deliberate with this information in the video
I’ve started to worry less about video length to beat the competition, instead focus on getting the message across.

YouTube videos need to be edible, snack-able chunks information, even more so for YouTube Shorts.
Too much or too deep, viewers click away.
But the opposite is also true: too little (which is boring) and viewers click away also.

YouTube viewers have a very short attention span, your video needs to be a quick, entertaining abbreviation of information.

uniqueness of information
I always try to find a unique angle to a video especially in my last videos, so there is a reason to keep watching a video.
The more unique you get, the more that viewers are “forced“ to watch.

Story arc
A proper story arc with a begin, middle and end keeps viewers watching longer.
Proper storytelling for vlogs is crucial.
An informational like this one can have a quite flat story: the beginning and end can need to be very quick, like I told earlier.
But a top 10 is a form of a storystructure that builds towards the end that keeps viewers watching.

This is the first thing that goes wrong with most new YouTube creators.
When your storytelling is off, it feels weird to viewers, viewers have no idea what they are watching and click away.
Scripting a video helps tremendously with structure.

[broll- keyword tools video]
My video about keyword tools had a typical storytelling structure.
First I layout of the problem that all the existing tools are inaccurate, then I’m investigating and explaining the cause, then I resolved the problem with my own keyword tool.
[broll- audience retention graph]
The link is in the description if you haven’t seen it.

[broll: writing: “8 minutes, doesn’t go anywhere”]

Over the next week watch videos on youtube.
When you are feeling bored, write down the time and why want to click away.
But the same thing for: when you watch a 15 minute video: what keeps you hooked until the end?

When you do this, you might understand better why viewers click away on your videos and prevent that in your next videos.

Rewrite script
[broll keep tweaking script -filmed-]
I keep tweaking the script over the course of a couple of days until I have the flow right.
Mistakes you correct in the script, you don’t have to correct in the edit or reshoot, which can be incredibly time consuming.

[broll: pointing finger at lines of this script]

And I do an extra scan of the script: for every sentence, I ask myself: does this sentence add to the topic and title of the video?
Can I rewrite these texts to make it shorter without losing the point of the message I want to get across.
This video I had a whole chapter with video editing tips which I brought back to the bare minimum.

Title thumb
Which brings me to the title and thumbnail, which I know before I shoot the video.
This way I can deliver 100% on the promise of the title and thumbnail in the video, which makes viewers don’t click away early and stick around longer.

a lot of creators don’t realize that bad audio is a huge turn-off for viewers, even more so than poor image quality.
So, invest in that lapel mic or that shotgun mic to improve your audio and eliminate surrounding noise or echo.

If you create a youtube video add some very quiet music in the edit as a background soundtrack, just to break the silence.
You can find free music in the youtube audio library without running into trouble.

[broll: commnets]
What is your best Average Percentage Viewed, how long was that video, let us know in the comments.
I think it is pretty interesting for everybody to read that.

#4 Eliminate drop-off points like these
Study audience retention graph / common drop off points
[broll: audience retention graphs]
I analyze the audience retention graph of every video.
For every major bump or drop off point I try to explain why this is happening and try to repeat or avoid that in the next video.
Whn you do that for multiple videos you start to see patterns.

I eliminated a lot of common drop off points:
• Ad breaks, especially the planned ones that I edit into the video
• Asking for a subscribe, although this results in lower subscriber numbers. Even with a subscribe animation
• Notifying people of my products
• When I do something not directly related to the topic, people think you are wasting their time.
[broll: audience retention graph keyword tool video]
For a short joke in my Keyword tool video, I shot that part of the video outside which reflected in my audience retention graph.
In short: eliminate everything that not adding to the information or the story of a video.

End screen
[b-roll zwaaien – text “dramatic reenactment”]
Don’t give viewers the idea that your video is over, before the end screen is showing.

[b-roll end screen]
This way you get a chance to sell viewers on another video, which could trigger YouTube Home and YouTube Suggested.
Think about what is the most logical video for viewers to watch next.

I still give information, while the end screen is already showing.
This way there is an incentive to keep watching until the end of a video.

[broll: end screen editor in youtube studio]
The end screen is 20 seconds and I that into account when editing.
You don’t have to use all 20 seconds to show it, because also the end screen is an indication that the video is over.

In the end screen do the call to action to watch the other video.
After that there are a couple of seconds left, so viewers have actually the time to hover their mouse over the thumbnail and click the video.

The thing that helped my audience retention by far the most is the intro.
I come to the point very quickly, under 10 seconds.
I already hit viewers in the face with information, before they even had the chance to think and click away.

[b-roll: hit face]

When viewers can’t get through the intro, they will never have a chance to see the actual meat of the video.
Those are viewers lost forever.
And a potential subscriber lost forever.

When you have a talking-head video, start with your talking head and within 2 seconds place footage over your talking head.
If you start with the footage, viewers might get the idea that this is a faceless video, which a lot of people don’t watch.

Start with a strong compelling hook of max 3 sentences.
The hook for this video was 1 sentence.
[repeat intro]

In the first 3 sentences, you want to assure viewers that they clicked on the right video, but also intrigue them to watch the rest of the video.

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photo author dexxter clark
Dexxter Clark
Music Producer / YouTuber

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