image - Video Audience Retention Tips

Audience Retention – Are Your Videos Being Watched?

image - Video Audience Retention TipsHow long are people staying to watch your videos?

Are you grabbing the viewer’s interest right away?

If viewers are leaving before you even start your message… you might want to change what you are doing.

You have only 5-15 seconds to grab the attention of the person who clicked play on your video. As you can see in the picture, almost 50% have left before the 15 second mark. That means they are totally board, your video wasn’t what they expected or possibly they all got called away suddenly.

image - Video Drop

Remember that people have the attention span of a gnat on crack. They don’t care so much about you, they want the info or entertainment you said you were giving. People that are on YouTube are not trapped in a room and being “forced” to listen. They have no worry that they may embarrass themselves or the speaker if they get up and walk out. All a video viewer has to do is barely twitch their finger and BAM, they are gone. Once they leave, you may have to work really hard to ever get them back. Or you have to hope you can get someone else to even find you and click the Play button.

How to fix the Boredom issue

If you have a long intro and are not giving people the info they came for immediately, they will just click away to another video.

Take a really good listen, is your voice just droning away?

Possibly you have useless rambling?

Are your images so small they can’t see what you are talking about?

Is your volume too low and they can’t hear you?

Is your music obnoxious or overpowering your message?

My own bored viewer “case study

When we started making videos, we had a 15 second intro and noticed people were leaving before we even got to our message. We then cut down to 10 seconds, even though I thought that would be a winner, it helped but not enough to matter. We then went to a max of 5 seconds and found that we were doing much better.

Now, one channel I run, I have intros that are the sole purpose of the videos. The video themselves do not have an important “message“. They are used to get people who are looking for that specific product to click the associated link or type in our site name. They also rank in the SE’s. So, the view time is not crucial as they see the product and know where to get I, in the intro.

We also tried using low music throughout the video. We found that it is tricky to please everyone’s taste and some people cannot hear the speaker well with the background noise.

So if you want to keep viewers, cut down your intro by simply saying something like your name and what you are answering or showing in that particular video. Yes, get to the meat of your video quick. You can do your branding without wasting time in the intro by using a “watermark” or side logo in your video.

If you are doing a Hangouts on Air, use the Lower 3rd app I talked about in How To G+ Hangouts On Air (HOA), because the same rules apply once you place that Hangout on your YouTube channel…it is just another video.

Stay on topic, check your volume and images and just try to “liven” it up while still getting your message across.  If you are going to talk about yourself, you better be VERY entertaining and have a REALLY exciting life. Otherwise the only people who will watch will be your close family and friends that care.

If people are leaving because the video is not what they expected

Then you need to check your META! Look at your title, tags and description; do they truly reflect what the video is about? If you have misleading META and think that it is working because people are clicking play, but leaving once the video starts…then your message is not heard.
Make sure that the viewer is going to see a video that is what you say it is.

As for people just suddenly getting called away

Yeah, I wouldn’t count on that being a big factor in people leaving. Nope, they leave because they want to. Sorry!

What’s Next

See how to find your YouTube Audience Retention Stats.

Let us know what you find in your YouTube Stats, are people sticking around to watch or are they leaving before you even get your message out?

Tell us in the comments why you leave a video.

About Sheryl Loch

I am always learning new and improved ways to better our blogs, forum, and e-commerce sites. You can find me at The Internet Marketers Guild and +Sheryl Loch.
I tend to be a bit straight forward and sarcastic at times so ask for an honest opinion and you shall receive...even if it is not what you want to hear.


  1. Nice post Sheryl, I can’t wait for your follow-up to go live on finding our YouTube Audience Retention Stats with step by step instructions.

  2. Well people easily get bored when using text only videos, I found out that people watch videos with controversial titles.

  3. I definitely agree that you only have about 10 seconds to snag someone’s attention. This is why the pros do a quick-clip overview at the very start of their video (ahead of any standardized intro clip.) Most people aren’t captivating and in the ADHD world that we are, people wander off.

    PS: Need to cite your graph/data

    PSS: Commentluv is not triggering for me. Check your settings or caching.

  4. What’s your thought on if it’s a course. Does it matter to you how long they watch the video, if it’s already sold.

    I personally would like to find out why they’re leaving, because if they are and it’s a paid course, then obviously people are not getting value for their money. OR they’re not getting what they’re supposed to.

    I’m implementing a workbook into my course so I know people watch the video to get the info necessary for them to retain.

  5. Thanks Brian!
    I think that every piece of info people can get about their videos will help them find what works. The Analytics in Youtube are really good, some people just don’t know what they are or where to find certain things.

  6. Hi Adel, yes people tend to get board with text or PowerPoint type of videos, but if they are a training video, people will watch if they really want the info.

    Controversial titles can draw views and comments. Just always make sure your title is really what your video is about.

  7. Thanks for stopping by Kim!

    The quick clip can work well. If people have a regular audience that is large, they can usually get by with a slightly longer intro, because people already know what follows is worth the wait.

    Most people that view on Youtube could be diagnosed with ADHD…just don’t tell the psychologist community or they would go nuts. LOL!

    If you are talking about the picture of the Analytics graph, that was my snip from a less than stellar video I have on one of the Youtube channels I manage. Not proud of it, but I learned from it. ;-}

  8. Unfortunately, it’s quite hard to garb the attention of the views, unless we come up with something interesting, creative and eventually unique. I had several attempts to create viral videos, but it seems a lot more complicated than in theory. I think I also have to work on the tiles, as they are also an essential part of teh game.

  9. Hi Sheryl, thank you for the post, I have made a few videos which I believe will be watched by those who want to learn, they are educational but the information about the intro time and watermarks have been very helpful, I have written them down and will keep them in mind the next time I create a video. Branding is very important today, and videos are a great way to get your branding out to people but if the branding intro is just driving people to turn off or go elsewhere then it is more harmful than beneficial. This is not good.

  10. Rashmi Sinha says

    Great article! Knowing which video was successful and which was not is important because you get feedback on what sells and what is not. Thanks for the article!

  11. Nice tips as this is an area I really have to get working on. I find myself not watching many videos unless they are rather quick and to the point. It will be interesting to see your follow up stats too.

  12. Hi Irvin!
    Wow, if someone is getting money for delivering information and the people who paid are leaving before the video is finished, then they would have a problem.

    I have personally ask for my money back on courses that did not deliver what I expected. If my money was returned then, I just moved on with my life. If I had to argue to get my money back, then that is when the seller becomes a cheating scumbag in my mind. ;-}

    Mind you, I have to be extremely disappointed in the course or product before I ask for money back. I will look for any tidbit that made the course worth the money I paid.

    If you notice they are not watching the videos, then you could send out a few simple survey questions to get ideas as to why. I they are just clicking off 1 video that is like an intro, then they may just be board ad want to get to the “real” videos. If you have a high drop out rate for the training videos, then watch the video and see if there is something you or very truthful friends can notice as the issue at the drop time. Then just send out a mail and ask why. You will never be able to improve the retention rate if you don’t know why they are leaving.

    Since you are including workbooks, people may realize that they do not have the answers to the questions you are asking. Or they may not know the action steps to take until they watch your videos. But, if they look through the workbook and can do most of it without your help…then they may decide the course is just not what they thought it was. Either way is ok.

    You may also think about making audio and PDFs of the training. Some people just don’t want to sit and watch a video, they would rather listen as the drive to work or read a PDF on lunch break.

    PS: I am not an expert at selling courses. The above is just my opinion.

  13. Hi Julian, if you are doing product or info videos then you need to worry more about Targeting Your Potential Customers than numbers or viral.

    Each topic or industry has a different standard for “viral” or success when just looking at view count. A music video may get millions of views because it crosses so many line. Most people around the world love music (same applies to cute animals). Whereas, building a birdhouse (example from your link), has a much narrower audience base. The people who want to see how to build a bird house will fit certain criteria. They will love birds, have a place to put the finished product, have a shop and access to the tools to make it…So you wouldn’t expect it to get the same amount of views as a video with no limitations.

    Going viral isn’t just about the video. If you have a good video then it can go “viral” in your niche. And what comes into play is if the right people see it and start sharing and talking about it. We have all seen crap videos or articles go “viral” in a niche just because a big name influencer mentioned it. Or maybe it got talked about by a large niche group. Either way, it has to be talked about by people who would be interested.

    A product or info video may get a bazillion views, but if they aren’t clicking through or not looking to you for more…then it doesn’t mean as much.

    Make sure you are doing relevant titles, tags and descriptions. Then work on getting it seen by the people it would matter to.

    There is no way to go “viral” until the right people talk about it…now you just have to connect and impress those people. Easy as that. LOL

  14. I think that choosing the right video for your targeted audience plays a big roll in the readerships attention.

  15. Hi Andi, I bet you will find that even when you do more subtle branding, people will still be typing your site name in (or clicking your link). When they watch a good video, they will be wanting more and going to check you out!

    yeah, if the are leaving right away, they will never know how helpful your info is.

    Try some different intros and branding logos or watermarks and see what works. IF you don’t have a way to add a logo or watermark, you can always pop in some annotations.

  16. Glad you stopped by Rashmi!
    Yes, no need to waste time making videos if they aren’t working. The time would be better spent trying things until you find the right one that the viewers/customers like.

  17. Hi Lisa, I’m with you! If I have to wait very long, then I am out of there. I have an itchy mouse finger. LOL!

    I think before long most everyone will be trying their hand at video.

  18. Hi Sheryl.
    Nice post you got there.
    I have never created any videos but if ever i start creating, then i wouldn’t want my viewers to leave without watching it fully. This is one thing that i do most of the time. I see the most important parts and leave the rest.
    Thanks for this awesome post 😀

  19. Great post. I was so excited when YouTube announced there own analytics program. It’s such a great tool for video bloggers.

  20. I never thought about the whole 5-15 second thing, but I will click off that quick myself if it doesn’t grab my attention. Maybe we should pay more attention to what we do personally.

  21. Sometimes to watch a video became boring because of low speed internate.I am here to thank you because u have turned boring to enjoyable:p.I mean watching a video.Thanks for your informative post.

  22. The YouTube stats really helps us analyze the user behavior as a response to our vise. Though I have been too much in video marketing but I can say that it is important that your video has all that things which a user comes having in his mind.

  23. Good tips, videos are one thing that a lot of people tend to choose not to tackle for whatever reason. By choosing not to tackle it though they are leaving all those potential clicks, sitting there for someone else. Thanks for showing how to engage the audience to want to watch, even if only for a few seconds.

  24. Hey Sheryl,

    Online it seems like sometimes you have to be willing to break “traditional rules” of creating a professional presentation if you want to capture and keep people’s attention. The intro you might have in a professional meeting, class project, etc. may actually hurt you online because of many of the reasons you stated. People don’t want to wait around for the information, nor do they have any problem leaving in the blink of an eye.

  25. Great post! This will especially be interesting to me as I am planning to upload some of my song covers on YouTube. And I was wondering how I could get followers and keep them. Keep up the nice posts!

  26. I like to get straight to the subject matter of the video so my introduction is usually something like ‘Hi, I’m Sire from and today I’m going to tell you about…..’ and I get straight into it. I don’t use background music at all as I thought that was best.

    To tell you the truth I’ve never checked to see how far into the video users go before they jump ship. I reckon I better go and have a look.

  27. Hello Arbaz, thanks for stopping in!

    I think a lot of people either skip to the good parts or just leave if they are not getting what they want. Heck, I do the same thing.

    If you start doing videos, you will now be a step ahead of many people out there. ;-}

  28. Hi Raleigh!
    I was also excited to see the YouTube analytics! The more tools we have to understand what our audience wants or looks for…the better we can deliver it!

  29. Jason, I totally agree, we need to pay attention to what we do and understand that if we do it…so might others.

    5-15 seconds doesn’t seem like very long, but it is when we are wanting info (or entertainment) and there are so many choices.

  30. Hello Suhail, a slow internet could get very frustrating. While we as content producers can’t speed up someones connection, we can try to get to the heart of the video a bit faster.

  31. Hi Jeremy, keeping the viewers happy is the name of the game. You can’t make everyone happy, but we have to try.

  32. Hello Kevin!
    When people decide they don’t want to use video, that makes it easier for all of us that do make them. Less competition is always a good thing. ;-}

  33. Thanks for stopping in Derek!
    People tend to stick with the “tried and true” ways of marketing and as you say, what works offline may not do so well online. It is hard for some people to change, but if something isn’t working, they have nothing to loose by breaking tradition and changing it up.

    I am guilty of having an itchy mouse finger and will click off in a flash.

  34. Hi Marshall, just watch your Youtube analytics and tweak things as needed. You are ahead of the game by doing a bit of research and knowing what to watch for.

    Good luck with your music videos!

  35. Hey Sire, glad to see you!

    Giving your name and site is great! Most people kind of expect that, they just don’t want a life story…unless it is one of your funny stories. ;-}

    If you have trouble finding your Audience Retention stats, I wrote a post as to how to find them. But, I bet by the time I write this, you have already clicked around in your channel and found them yourself.

    The background music didn’t serve me well for most videos. I only use it if there is no real message and is just pictures or footage with no spoken words.

  36. I just had a look at one of my videos and it’s really weird. It drops off to 0% then jumps up to 50 then down to 0 and up to 54%. What’s with that? Do they wander off for a coffee and then come back or something?

  37. There is something known as the “Wadsworth Constant” in web videos these days. According to this constant, the true content of a video appears 30% into the video, meaning the first third is virtually useless in most cases. This is very telling for viewing statistics, as people are growing to adopt this principle. Viewers don’t start at the beginning, get bored, and then leave, they skip around to look for interesting points, and if they find nothing, they leave.

  38. Hi,

    I don’t stick on to a video or site for more than 5 secs unless it is catchy. This is a general psychology. Whatever we view should be visual treat else we have better things to do in life.Otherwise, the points highlighted above make a lot of sense,like there may be a genuine reason for a person to quit your site all of a sudden.

    Amit from iTechCode

  39. Well, it’s surely hard to determine why people are bored about our videos. There could be more problems to think of such poor title, unknown uploader of the movie, bad quality of video/sound. The best thing to improve the video effectiveness is to advertise and promote it a lot!

  40. Hi Sheryl,

    Thank you for sharing these great article. I specifically love how you explained the “How to fix the Boredom issue…”. This is very useful to me. Thanks a lot!

  41. Mike Jones says

    If someone is getting money for delivering information and the people who paid are leaving before the video is finished. then they would have a problem.I have personally ask for my money back on courses that did not deliver what I expected. If my money was returned then. I just moved on with my life. If I had to argue to get my money back. then that is when the seller becomes a cheating scumbag in my mind.

  42. There are a lot of factors to consider when it comes to retaining your audience whether we’re talking about readers, listeners or viewers. But since we’re talking about videos, I personally think that first of all, we need to make sure that our METAs are not misleading people to expect a whole different video from what we really are letting others view. We also need to keep everything clear and concise. They already took the time to watch your video, you might as well make it worth your while.

  43. Sheryl Loch says

    Hi Paul, some people may skip around, I however just leave. It isn’t worth it to me to skip back and forth when I can likely just hit anther video and find the info.

    I may skip if the video has time jumps and I am looking for a topic they have timed in.

  44. Sheryl Loch says

    Sire, I think you have broken Youtube. LOL!

    I have seen jumps in long videos that we have placed times, but not 50% to 0 and back.

  45. Sheryl Loch says

    Hi Amit, I agree! Videos, blog post or any website needs to gran us and be able to fulfill what we expect when we clicked the link.

  46. Sheryl Loch says

    Nice copy and paste! Or maybe it is deja vu?

  47. Jesús Flores says

    Thanks for tips! I’ve just started to make videos and uploading in on youtube. Need to learn a lot!

  48. Yeah, that would be right. Trust me to breal things 😀

  49. You’re right Leo, the META is very important! A viewer expecting to see one thing and being showed another will likely mean they are leaving.

    I also like your point about being clear and concise, I usually just want “facts” or instructions if am watching a video where I expect to learn something.

    Reward your viewer by giving them what they want and they will reward you with more views and sharing!

  50. Hi, could you please give me some suggestions on how to improve my videos…here is my latest…the people speaking in Italian are saying how tango changed and improved their lives…we teach tango through ZEN concepts

  51. Very informative blog! Thanks for sharing this information. I would agree that there are indeed a lot of people whose purpose is to deceive many just for their personal gain. I hope this blog could reach as many readers to share this worldwide.

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