Video Marketing

5 ways to boost video watch time with open loops

Posted June 23, 2021
Written by Sumeet Anand

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Videos are essential elements of any digital marketing strategy. They can help take your brand’s reach to the next level because of their engaging nature.

But a common challenge is how low video watch times reduce the impact of your video, especially if you're using it as a marketing lever to drive sales for your business. That’s where “open loops” can help you.

Before we dive into what are open loops, let’s revisit exactly why videos are so important for your brand. 

Branded video content has the potential to convey a lot of information quickly and efficiently to your audience. Additionally, they can help you spread your brand’s reach, as people are 2x more likely to share them than any other type of content. 

We know what you’re thinking—there’s no point in getting a greater reach on social media through videos if they’re not viewed for a long time. Open loops can solve this problem of viewing times by helping you catch the attention of your viewers and...retain it.

So what exactly are open loops? Let’s explore.

What are open loops?

Open loops are based on the open-loop psychology developed by Kurt Lewin and Bluma Zeigarnik. They observed that waiters could remember the order details of those who hadn’t paid the bills better than those who had. 

They suggested that as humans, we tend to remember things better when a particular task is left incomplete. The effect is called the Zeigarnik effect, which is better known as the “open loop” effect. 

In simple terms, it means that open loops lead to better retention and interest in a particular thing.

Now that you know what open loops are, let’s take a look at how you can use this strategy to increase the average watch time of your videos.

Using open loops to increase video watch times

Here are the various ways through which you can increase the watch times of your branded video content. 

1. Use cliffhangers

Cliffhangers are natural open loops! 

They create uncertainty in the minds of your viewers as they want to know the answers to your cliffhanger moment.

This can pique their curiosity even further in your videos. As a result, they’d continue watching the video beyond the cliffhanger point in a bid to discover the answer to their questions. 

When they discover the answer to the cliffhanger at a later stage, it’ll satiate them. This increases the average view time of your videos if the answer to the cliffhanger is given at a later stage in the video.

2. Ask open-ended questions

Open-ended questions help you achieve exactly what cliffhangers also do. The answers to these questions aren’t simple and they'd need to be slightly more elaborate. 

So, if the viewers would want to find the answers to these questions, they’d have to stick around and watch your videos for longer. As a result, your video watch time would increase manifold. 

The best way to use open-ended questions is to ask them right at the beginning of the video and answer them after some time. This gets your viewers to stay tuned in.

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3. Use catchy titles and descriptions

Cliffhangers and open-ended questions needn’t be in the videos themselves. Instead, one of the best social media strategies you can use would be using them in your titles and descriptions. These would help in getting your videos to stand apart from the rest.

This not only would increase your video viewing time but would also push your audience to actually click on your video to watch it. As a result, it’ll increase the number of views of your videos too.

For example, note how the title here attracts people by showing them free tactics to grow their search traffic. The thumbnail goes along with it very well too.

Use Catchy Titles and Descriptions

Image via YouTube

4. Come up with an attractive “hook”

Another way of using open loops to boost your video viewing time is by coming up with attractive hooks right at the beginning of the video. 

These hooks would serve as a way to hold the attention of your viewers. They’d be inclined to discover more about the things you’ve mentioned in the hook. As a result, they would keep watching the video for longer.

5. Create a stunning thumbnail

Your video thumbnail has a major role to play in attracting people to watch your video. Along with the video’s title, it influences your video’s click-through rate (CTR) as well. 

The best part about the thumbnail? It’s very visual. You can also add text to it. A great video thumbnail has the potential to attract the attention of searchers while they’re searching for videos.

For instance, note how Ahrefs has created this attractive thumbnail for their video.

Create a Stunning Thumbnail

Image via YouTube

Start using open loops in your videos

The open-loop psychology can definitely help you boost your video watch times. 

Make sure to try out one of the strategies. Our favorite is the cliffhanger because it naturally motivates a viewer to keep watching the video to find the answers to their questions. 

You can ask open-ended questions or use catchy titles and descriptions and a custom video thumbnail.

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