Are Watch Time and Engagement Important for YouTube Videos?

Facebook’s controversial 3 second video view count has been a subject of much contention. Given the scrolling nature of Facebook News Feed on the same page, unlike YouTube’s separate page for each video, a 3 second view count is highly debatable. On YouTube, opening a video’s page counts as a view because there is nothing else to see on the page, unless and until the user decides to watch a related video.

So, is watch time an important metric to consider for advertisers? It seems so, as advertisers seem to give more weight to longer watch time. Advertisers usually seem to prefer videos of over 5 to 8 minute duration, which is the most ideal duration for successful YouTubing. Generally, shows and soaps command a longer watch time of 20 to 30 minutes. Tutorials usually last for over 10 to 11 minutes.

Below are a few reasons as to why watch time and engagement are important metrics that determine your success in being a successful YouTuber:

The Power of Engagement

Online sales happen, when users engage in your content. Just as spending time in Malls can convert to sales, it is engagement that sells. Users click on ads from where they engage most times. Most online purchases happen due to engagement. The longer you can engage users in your content, the easier the likelihood of their clicking on ads. Advertisers too decide on whether or not to advertise based mostly on the duration of engagement of the audience.

The Flipside of Duration – Watch Time and Completion

Watch time is the flipside of duration. The latter doesn’t matter as much as it should engage. The duration should either be of value, by being long enough to warrant a click, or should engage audiences enough to reflect on watch time.

Numerous researches reveal that 65 to 85 percent of viewers watch popular videos through to completion. We should also take into account that some of the final moments of videos can be mere back matter asking to subscribe, etc.

Completion is an important thing to consider, as post-video ads may not be seen. If the user wants to skip the end part of videos, advertising in the end may get lesser views. So, it is always prudent to advertise up front and it is equally good to have back matter for shorter duration. This will reflect on your completion rates, which will translate to better advertising and sponsorship opportunities for your channel.

Catering to Your Audiences

Videos of 10 to 12 minutes duration or a minimum of 5 to 8 minutes are usually clicked through for a watch by majority of the audiences. It is important that these metrics be tracked constantly. Videos are also highly successful, if they are either 5 to 8 minutes or 10 to 12 minutes.

Most tutorial videos or videos explaining a subject or teaching a trick are either 5 to 8 minutes or 10 to 12 minutes long. This goes to show that people want to learn a trick or subject in around 5 to 10 minutes.

Interesting interviews, TED Talks, soaps, shows, etc. command longer watch times of 20 to 30 minutes. So, it’s about the genre or category and aptly catering to your audiences in the duration they perceive to be of value for that particular content. Although advertisers look for numbers, your reach, watch time is a good indicator of success in ad campaigns, which happens by way of your catering to your audiences.

It isn’t about the Longer or the Shorter

Making a YouTube video is not about the duration or the watch time you command but as a matter of engagement both watch time and duration are important parameters. So is completion rate i.e. the ability of you or your videos to engage them throughout the length of the video. So, it all boils down to completeness and how well you can do what you are doing!

Successful YouTubing is about engagement as much as it is about the number of views. This understanding will sure enhance your success in getting sponsorships and ad campaigns. That’s why watch time, engagement and completion are such important metrics for successful YouTubing!

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