Audience Retention

Hey YTers!

What is a good percentage/time duration?

Everyone says to watch this, but I'm not sure if its good or bad. I had tried to look this up but can't find much on it. I know that it depends on duration of your videos I suppose. Most of my videos are under 5 mins and my retention is at about 2 mins which doesn't seem good to me.

I know I have other channels that come and leave comments but I don't think they watch as my retention seems to be really low at first, so that seems to be hurting us..

Anyways.. how to you know what is a good retention or not? I couldn't find anything on this here, but if I missed it please redirect me!


Mommy B
I've moved this to the Strategy / Technique advice forum. =)

I personally think that the audience retention plot is more valuable than the overall number. The plot will tell you the truth about what people think of your video. It shows exactly where people leave or skip a portion of the video (the value decreases, which is bad), and where people rewind and re-watch a portion of the video (the value increases, which is good).

I've learned a lot about what I should and should not do by looking at my audience retention plots. ^^
From my data, I find having an average watch time of higher than 5 minutes to be the biggest factor if Youtube will decide to promote it non stop. This is the data for my best video that get's promoted non stop which was 11 minutes long. It had a bad start getting only 3k views the first 48 hours, but Youtube promoted it to 20k in 3 weeks. Also, I look at my "Relative audience retention" tab to see if it's performing above average.


This one was 8 minutes long, got 12k views in the first 48 hours but it didn't do so well retention wise and Youtube seemed to have stopped promoting it after 4 days.

I would say for a 5 minute video, you want to aim to get to at least a 60% watch time average with 70% or greater being the holy grail. But what I think is a more important factor is the total watch time a video is getting compared to your competitors. This means the lower your audience retention is, the more views you'll need to compensate. And I think another important factor is how likely the video is going to encourage the viewer to watch another video afterwards and increase your watch time session. Unfortunately, Youtube hides this number from us. But I do know that my videos that drive traffic to my website, Youtube doesn't like to promote so much.
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Audience retention is key to figure out the underlying cause of either why people aren't subbing or watching videos. You can find out how long people are staying to watch and find out what you need to work on. For example my average audience retention is about 15 secs. Which means I need to work on hooking the viewers better and spend more time on the intro. Also you can see which videos seem to do better.
What do you do if your audience retention is getting ruined by people who click on for merely a second to post some spammy comment?
What do you do if your audience retention is getting ruined by people who click on for merely a second to post some spammy comment?
You don't do much of anything. Only thing you can do is try to keep people that are actually interested in your content on your videos. There are a number of things that can drive your retention down. Just find ways to make it up.