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Retention Rate vs. Watchtime

Discussion in 'Strategies & Technique Advice' started by SweetsAndCandy, Jul 12, 2017.

  1. SweetsAndCandy
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    Hi Everyone,


    just a short question. what do you think is more important: Retention Rate or Watchtime?

    To be more specific: let's assume I create videos that are MUCH longer (but similar quality) compared to my competitors in my niche. This will most likely result in lower retention rates, but it will also result in more minutes watched per click. For example, if my competitors have 3 minutes videos and about 30% retention rate, they will get around 1 minute of watchtime per click. however, if I have 10 minutes long videos with only with only 15% retention rate, I will get about 1 minute and 30 seconds of watch time per click.

    so, what do you think. what's more important: retention rate or watchtime (per click)? should one do longer videos that will increase watchtime per click while sacrificing retention rate (compared to competitors)? Or, maybe the other way around, one should do realy short videos (compared to competiros in the niche) in order to have a relatively high retention rate, but a shorter watchtime per click?


    so, let me know what you think :)
     
    Stearmans Toy Review likes this.
  2. daniel burgio
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    I think there's a Game Theory episode about this. I can't remember which is actually more important. It might be the percentage watched.
     
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    I wondered this too..
     
  4. GameThumb
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    I experienced quite some growth in views since I started making my videos longer. Generally my videos that are about 10 minutes long perform much better then 3-4 minutes videos.
     
  5. The Mach Project
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    In regards to the YouTube algorithm, it favors watch time over retention rates now. YouTube just wants viewers to stay on the platform, whether it's watching your video or moving along to someone else's (i.e. session watch time). That's why top Youtubers have been uploading longer and longer videos.

    But in regards to viewers' behavior, and trying to grow a channel as a small Youtuber, I feel that retention rate is far more important. Top Youtubers can get away with long-format videos because they've already established a loyal fanbase. With not-so-well-known Youtubers, a 10-20 minute video can appear intimidating. At least, this is what I've observed from the videos that take off on Reddit. Long videos just don't do well on there. And I, personally, tend to shy away from long videos.
     
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  6. IllumiNATU
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    It might be something you want to test out for your own channel - try out short and long videos and see how they perform vs each other.
     
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    For kids channels, to me, it seems shorter videos are better. Kids are known to click off and on. If we do longer videos our retention rate is lower, we seem to get more traffic from our shorter videos.

    We did some testing for awhile, we did longer videos, our views seemed to drop, but as soon as we started doing shorter ones again, we seen more traffic.. maybe its just a coincidence, I dunno..

    Watch time was more though when we did longer videos, but the retention rate was still lower.
     
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  8. KiddieToysReview
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    It depends on the vertical. As STR states above, kids have very low retention. Observing kids watch Yt, I have seen them swipe from a few seconds to 10 or 20 seconds. Sometimes they watch longer. Depends what it is. Even my own kids, 1-2 minutes and they swipe (they should know better!!).

    In other verticals, with super loyal fans, I could see people watching 5-10 minutes. It all depends. Best to test out on your channel for your particular audience.

    With the algo running off deep learning, binary data like watch time, %, etc, are becoming less and less relevant. What's critical is viewer behaviour during their watch session, how they interact with your videos and channel, what they do before and after, and not did they watch 26% or 33% of my video.
     
  9. KidsCorner
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    I did a test with one video of around 11 minutes length and uploaded it on two channels (I know, not conclusive enough but don't want to do massive testing and risk the death of my channels). One channel focusses on shorter videos, the other on longer videos (compilations of my videos, pushing them into 10 to 12 minute range).
    The result was that the longer video performed better on the channel focusing on >10 min videos while the performance on the channel focusing on short videos had worse performance.

    I have a suspicion that youtube promotes your videos based on past performance of your channel as a whole. So if you have been uploading short videos, it finds the audience for that and when you suddenly upload a long video the audience linking short videos doesn't watch it long. If you've been uploading long videos mostly, it knows which audience prefers longer videos and you have more success.
    Don't know if anyone has been doing similar testing but that's a theory I currently have and would make sense from a deep learning perspective to optimize traffic. It's all theory so do with it what you want :)
     
  10. EVO
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    My YouTube manager told me that Watchtime is more important.
     
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