Audience Retention: Why It Matters and How to Improve It on YouTube

As a YouTube content creator, it's crucial to keep track of how many viewers stay to watch your videos. Audience retention is a vital metric that measures how much of your video your viewers watch before clicking away. In this blog post, we'll go over what audience retention is, its importance, and how to increase it.

What is Audience Retention?

Audience retention is a measurement that shows how many people are still watching your content during video playback. It also covers data on when people stop watching your content and lose interest. There are two types of audience retention reports on YouTube: channel-level and video-level.

Channel-level audience retention lets you see how viewers interacted with your content. You can compare audience retention performances for your most recent uploads. You can check out your channel's audience retention on the YouTube Analytics Engagement tab. Video-level audience retention outlines detailed data about a specific video and is available on each video's analytics report in YouTube Analytics.

How to Understand Audience Retention

When you see audience retention reports, you need to "read" them. Each audience retention card has four types of moments that can be highlighted:

  • Intro: This percentage of people continues to watch your video after the first 30 seconds.
  • Continuous Segments: These are moments where almost no one left your video.
  • Spikes: These are moments of your video that were re-watched or shared.
  • Dips: These are moments of your video that are skipped over, or viewers leave your videos.

There are also two types of graphs outlining audience retention: the audience retention report and the relative audience retention report. The audience retention report shows the percentage of views for every moment of a video compared to the total number of views. The relative audience retention report represents a particular video's ability to retain viewers compared to all YouTube videos of similar length.

Metrics Related to Audience Retention

  • Average View Duration: This metric shows the estimated average minutes watched per view for the selected video and time range.
  • Watch Time (Minutes): This metric shows the amount of time a viewer has watched a video.

Audience Retention vs. Watch Time

Both audience retention and watch time are essential metrics for YouTube. Videos with high watch times and high audience retention are more likely to appear in YouTube related suggestions and search results. While watch time is the total accumulated time that people have spent watching your content, audience retention is the percentage of the video that people are actively watching.

Why Does Audience Retention Matter?

Audience retention is a significant metric that shows how appealing your content is to viewers. It's the average percentage of your YouTube video that people watch, and it's an important metric that YouTube's search and ranking algorithms consider. High audience retention videos are more easily discovered on YouTube and appear more in search engine results pages (SERPs).

How to View Your YouTube Retention Report

To see how your channel and videos fare when it comes to audience retention, take a closer look at your YouTube channel analytics. You can measure audience retention and learn a lot from it, especially if it varies significantly between your videos.

To see your channel audience retention report, log into YouTube Studio and click on Analytics on the left side menu. You'll see the main channel analytics. To see the audience retention report, click on Engagement. The first graph shows the total watch time your channel received in the selected period. The second graph, named Average View Duration, shows the audience retention report for the selected period.

To see each video's audience retention report, click on the video, then click on Analytics. Click on the Engagement tab, and you'll see all pertinent video engagement analytics. The audience retention report is