Ever wondered why a video with more views sometimes gets ranked lower than that with not as much views in YouTube Search results?
The reason is not far-fetched! The YouTube platform takes Watch Time more important than it does views. Before I delve any further, let me explain what the terms “Watch Time” and “Views” mean.
Watch Time is the estimated total minutes of viewing time of your content from your audience. For better comprehension, watch time measures how engaged viewers are with what they’re watching.
Views, on the other hand, are viewer-initiated intentional play of a video. In the early years of YouTube a view count would increase whenever the video was loaded. This was a reasonable system, except it quickly became obvious that anyone – from a teenager sharing a video to a business sharing a commercial – could simply reload their video over and over to increase their view count artificially. Since YouTube’s homepage displays popularly viewed videos sorted by the number of views, it was easy for anyone to game the system and have their video appear on YouTube’s front page.
Watch Time is one of the most important metrics on YouTube as it emphasizes loyalty among viewers. “Everyone wants to talk about their billions of views on this platform, but the fact of the matter is, we bucket our audience based on how they engage. We will determine a show that will make it or not make it based on whether people are watching through at significant completion rates” says Dan Ghosh-Roy, svp of audience development for Complex Networks.
Video views on the other hand is a “Vanity Metric”. A Vanity Metric is a number that looks nice and maybe sounds impressive…but doesn’t actually matter.
If you can get one viewer to spend 5 minutes watching a video, it is better than getting more views with people leaving after 10 seconds.
In the YouTube Analytics section of the creator studio, you can clearly see the section “Watch Time Reports”, which used to be views report at some point.
Another metric to consider is Audience Retention as it goes hand in hand with watch time. Audience Retention lets you know how long your viewers are watching your video. Studies show that people abandon are either hooked or unimpressed with your videos after 10-15 seconds. To therefore retain your audience, ensure that you begin your videos with catchy/killer hook, avoid to many images before talking and also remove any ramblings.
Let your focus be on Watch Time in 2018! People who enjoy your videos will definitely share with others and this will not only increase your views but also your subscribers.