Saturday 25 October 2014

Wow OMG Youtube Reveal Audience Retention for many creator videos - Here's how to find it

all slides in this album
Audience Retention has been a much guarded secret at YouTube. I posted about it's importance on 11 May 2014 (don't go there now, wait till you've read this post, thanks - it will make more sense for you).

For any video, the public can see a View Count and usually a Statistics area that outlines Time Watched, Subs Driven and Shares as Cumulative/Daily.

The key to finding Audience Retention is More > Statistics > Time Watched > Average View Duration and then some maths.

Here's how with this example from my own channel and then I will compare a few top creators like Zoella, Bethany Mota and Tanya Burr.
Before that, Audience Retention is an overall measure of your video's ability to retain its audience. So if your video is 10 mins long and your audience retention is 20%, it means an average view duration would be 2 mins. For all your hard work, 8 mins would have gone unseen. Real bummer that..

My example I'm a modest creator, this video on cleaning audio with audacity has 10,919 views. The video is 2:11 in length and the Average View Time is 1:38.

open 14 slide album
Converting that to seconds, we have 1:38/2:11 = 88/131 = 67% - that's the Audience Retention. This means I have retained two thirds of my audience. Looking at my private youtube analytics data, this concurs for the Lifetime Views for this video (you can see we have a curve for Relative Audience Retention too).

Of course, this does not mean all viewers switch of after 1:28, it means the average view is 1:28. You will notice a mini spike at 0:45 where I show a right click menu and the viewer may have rewound the clip to see that part again. This is the key to a good video and attention to detail - spotting why your viewer paid attention. That's as important as why they wandered off.

Edit Sunday 26 Oct 4.13pm Introducing Audience Retention as Ar. The more we look, the more fascinating it gets. Here's the fantastic +Alicia Keys  with Girl on Fire getting 76% Ar .. If you watch at 2.57 it's when the song calms down, on screen it's bedtime, maybe that was the subliminal message for audience wandering.

The Superstar Examples 1, In this video from Zoella, How To: Quick & Easy Hair Styles, there are 1.5 million views. Zoella and her team, have been supa gracious on leaving this data turned on, therefore helping mere mortals like us. 

There seems to be just one button that turns it off or on. Go to YouTube Video Manager, choose an upload, then | Edit | Info Settings | Advanced | Video Statistics [checkbox] ). 

Back to Zoella we have the video 6:23 in length, investigating Stats, time watched, it's an Average View of 4:58 giving 298/383 seconds = 78% Audience Retention. A pretty awesome piece of data - and congrats to Zoe for that one.

The game here, do your homework enough to get a feel of what similar creators to you are achieving. Quite honestly, views are great, but if you make a 6 minute video and you get 30% audience retention - it really begs the question, why not just cut your video back to 2 mins and see what happens. If you get 90% then boom - you have saved yourself a bucket loads of hard work.

For the Bethany Mota, I've chosen Morning Routine: Summer 2014! from 23 Oct 14 with 6.1 million views. Sure you get the hang of this when I say, 5:22/8:49 = 322/529 = 61%. Now, we as the public, do not get the charts, only Bethany and her team see that, so no telling what mini spikes.

I can only speak as an educator, so I want my viewers staying till the end - that way they may learn something. But hey, there is no arm up their back and I have no locks on the door, so they are free to come and go as they please.
And now for the Tanya Burr example: My Autumn Makeup Tutorial! with 340,413 views. We have 8:37/13:28 = 517/808 = 64%

There are tons and tons of videos on YouTube, what I would do, take a look at a few in your chosen area and see what emerges. A reminder that not all videos have this data. I found a few videos which had the stats turned on, but lacked the vital information ie PSY - GANGNAM STYLE. My guess, youtube just cannot process the data - after all there are 2.1 billion views on that video.

We can see this as PSY - GENTLEMAN M/V has 746 million views with 2:40/3:53 = 160/233 = 69%.

In another sector, we have channels like Vsauce, their latest upload is Why Are We Morbidly Curious? with 8:12/13:51 = 492/831 = 59%

Maybe compare that to their 2nd highest watched video, April 2013 Why Do We Kiss? with 12.4 million views and 5:02/12:15 = 302/735 = 41%

Or the 3rd highest of Is Your Red The Same as My Red? with 10.8m views. We have 4:41/9:34 = 281/574 = 49%. The 1st placed view count for Vsauce is missing the data, although has stats turned on.

So that's it, the rest is up to you - go explore, learn and feedback to me some comments or questions.

open the Audience Retention Calculator in sheets
I've made an Audience Retention Calculator in google sheets - see the snapshot slide on the right.

Please make a copy before using it, then no one else will see your investigations.

In Jan this year, I made a series called Blogger Talk, it had ten episodes and another eight supplementary videos. This video is the most popular: Episode 4 Google Drawings Publish to the Web.

And guess what, the audience retention is 20% - hmm pretty poor. At 9:07, far too long and by 0:27 I'd lost over half of the audience, real bummer. In Bulgaria and France they loved it with audience retention on 113% and 100%.

Bottom line, I learned fast - and so can you. Here's fourteen slides that will open in a new window..

Edit on 5 Nov 14

This video has 85% Audience Retention that's 0.56/1.06 at 3,062 views. We can learn a tremendous amount by watching the line chart and focussing on the spike. WHAT is on screen that makes people take notice and watch AGAIN? AT 0.29 there is 125% of the audience, take a look and decide for yourself.

Here are the videos discussed as a playlist

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