Video Marketing

How to get more watch hours on YouTube

Updated December 12, 2023
Written by Darren Buser

Heads up! This content is relevant for Clipchamp for personal accounts. Try this link If you're looking for information about Clipchamp for work accounts.

Clipchamp is a free online video editorTry for free
Share this post
A visual showcasing a YouTube video playing alongside a graph of watch time

Want to know how to transform your YouTube channel into a viewer magnet and unlock monetization? You're in the right place! Our YouTube guides have helped thousands of content creators, and this guide is laser-focused on helping you increase watch hours on YouTube. 

Let's dive in and unlock the secrets to sky-high watch times that turns your YouTube channel into a money-maker. 

What is YouTube watch time? 

YouTube watch time, also known as audience retention, is all about how long viewers stick around to watch your videos. Creators need 4,000 watch time hours in the past 12 months to monetize their YouTube channel.  

Watch time is not just a number; it's a goldmine of insights revealing what keeps your audience glued to their screens. And guess what? The longer they watch, the more YouTube's algorithm recognizes your channel, boosts your visibility and opens up a world of opportunities, from brand deals to collaborations.  

With the average audience retention hovering around 50%-60%, every extra minute a viewer spends with your content is a step towards your YouTube success. 

Create evergreen content for endless watch hours 

Lights, camera, action! YouTube is not just about trending topics; it's about creating content that stands the test of time. Think of evergreen content as your ticket to year-round viewership—it's like having a blockbuster hit that never leaves the theaters! 

How to make YouTube content evergreen 

  • Address universal questions: Dive into those burning questions your audience always asks. The more relevant your content, the longer it stays in the limelight. 

  • Keyword magic: A sprinkle of keyword research goes a long way. Use it to craft content that viewers are constantly seeking. Imagine your video being the first thing they find— jackpot! 

Examples to Inspire: Consider timeless tutorials like "Creating a Stellar WordPress Blog" or "How to make a demo video." These topics are going to be popular for many years to come. 

Consistency is key to YouTube video success 

Consistency and maintaining a regular posting schedule can significantly boost your channel's growth. When you consistently deliver quality content, you're not just building a library of videos; you're building a loyal audience. 

Why consistency matters on YouTube 

  • Algorithm benefits: Regular uploads synergize with YouTube's algorithm, enhancing your channel's visibility. 

  • Builds content library: Consistently post videos to build a rich library (including YouTube playlists!) that keeps viewers engaged and returning for more. 

New creators should be strategic about how many uploads they make in a week. Some new YouTubers suggest at least four uploads a week. While this requires dedication, the rewards are substantial. Your channel will not only grow in content but also in a community of engaged followers. 

If you’re only posting once a week, maintaining a consistent day of the week that you upload can help new viewers remember when to come back. 

Create catchy video titles and thumbnails 

Your thumbnail and title are your virtual billboards, so make them impossible to ignore. 

YouTube thumbnail tips to try 

  • Say it with style: Incorporate a face, use eye-catching fonts, and play with contrasts.  

  • Size matters: Follow the latest YouTube thumbnail specifications that suit both desktop and mobile. View the specs here. 

Title writing tips to try 

  • Keyword kudos: Include your main keyword to uplift your SEO on YouTube. 

  • Number game: Add numbers to boost click-through rates (like "3 Easy Steps"). 

  • Keep it short: Aim for under 70 characters. Think of it as a tweet for your video. 

With these tips, your thumbnails and titles will pull new viewers in like magnets. And new viewers mean an increase in watch hours. 

Make YouTube playlists to guide viewers  

Creating a killer YouTube playlist is like being a DJ for your content and making sure your viewers can keep the party going!  

Playlist pro-tips 

  • Guide new viewers: A well-organized playlist is like a tour guide for your channel, leading viewers through your best hits. Playlists encourage back-to-back viewing, turning a quick visit into a binge-watching session. 

  • Write useful titles: Think of your playlist titles as headlines for your mini-series and write catchy or informative playlist titles that could help new viewers navigate your channel. Including SEO keywords will make your playlist easier to find. 

  • Add at least 3 videos: There’s no perfect number as this depends on the stage your YouTube channel is in. If you’ve got a long content library, select 7-10 videos per playlist and arrange them by theme.  

You can even use a playlist to group all your popular videos to encourage a binge-watching session. That’s how playlists can be used to increase watch hours steadily. 

Interact in real-time with live streaming 

Ever thought about hosting a live stream? It's like hosting your own TV show but with the magic of instant viewer interaction. 

Why live streams are awesome 

  • Extended engagement: Keep your audience hooked for hours, not minutes. 

  • Real-time connection: It's a two-way street; chat, laugh, and connect with your viewers in the now. 

  • Spotlight effect: YouTube loves live content, so expect a boost in your channel's visibility. 

Ready to be a live-streaming superstar? It's showtime! 

Boost your website and watch hours with embedded videos 

Imagine your website as a new stage for your YouTube videos. Embedding videos is like opening a new theater for your show – more seats, more viewers! 

Embedding videos can boost both your website's and channel's search engine results. It's a win-win! It's a simple but powerful way to turn increase your video’s watch time. 

Collaborate and conquer on YouTube 

Teaming up with other creators or brands is like forming a supergroup – more talent, more fun, and more viewers!  

Benefits of collaboration 

  • Fresh content: Mix things up in your video content with new faces and ideas. 

  • Expand your reach: Collaboration will get your content in front of new audiences. It's how content creators help each other win at the watch time game. Tap into new audiences and bring them to your YouTube channel. 

Look for creators or brands that resonate with your style and pitch them your potential collab ideas to get started. 

Improve viewer experience with YouTube video chapters 

Adding chapters to your YouTube videos is like creating a map for your viewers – it guides them to the good stuff! 

Why chapters work 

  • Easy navigation: Help viewers jump to the parts they care about. 

  • Increase engagement: More views on specific sections mean more overall watch time. 

How to add chapters 

  • Timestamps are key: Use them in your video description to mark chapters. 

  • Viewer-friendly titles: Each chapter title should be clear and enticing. 

YouTube chapters are not just convenient; it's a strategy to keep viewers tuned in. 

Unlock views and watch hours with YouTube SEO 

Optimizing your YouTube videos for search engines is like giving them a GPS for visibility. It's all about helping viewers find your content easily. 

Essentials of YouTube SEO 

  • Keyword integration: Incorporate relevant keywords in your video's title, description, and tags. 

  • Engaging descriptions: Write descriptions that provide value and context, making your videos more discoverable. 

  • Tags for targeting: Use tags wisely to categorize your content and improve its chances of being found. 

Video SEO isn't just about algorithms; it's about connecting your content with the right audience. Every YouTube creator should focus on making videos that are easy to find and hard to ignore. 

The art of creating teasers and hooks  

A well-crafted teaser at the beginning of your video is like a movie trailer. It should spark curiosity and entice viewers to continue watching. Mr. Beast has become the master of the teaser. The viewer knows what they're in for and can't wait to enjoy the ride within seconds.

A compelling teaser grabs attention and builds anticipation. It also works as a preview of value because it gives a snapshot of what's to come, encouraging viewers to watch the entire video. 

Tips to create effective teasers 

  • Highlight key moments: Use exciting snippets from your video to create intrigue. 

  • Clarity and context: Ensure the teaser clearly relates to the video content. 

By mastering the art of the teaser, you can make engaging videos that boost viewer retention and watch time. Make those first few seconds count. 

The power of community engagement on YouTube 

Engaging with your YouTube community isn't just about responding to comments; it's about building relationships and fostering a loyal audience. 

Community engagement strategies to try 

  • Active interaction: Regularly respond to comments and questions. Your audience appreciates knowing you're listening. 

  • YouTube Community posts: Use this feature to share updates, conduct polls, and keep the conversation going beyond your videos. 

Engaging with your community can turn casual viewers into devoted followers, enhancing your channel's appeal and watch hours. 

The role of analytics in boosting YouTube watch time 

YouTube Analytics is like a compass in the vast sea of content creation, guiding you toward viewer preferences and optimal engagement strategies. By delving into these insights, you better understand what captivates your audience and keeps them watching longer. 

Analytics insights

  • View patterns: Identify which videos hold attention and where viewers drop off. 

  • Audience demographics: Understand who your viewers are and what they like. 

  • Performance metrics: Track views, watch time, and engagement to gauge what works. 

Analytics not only reveal viewer patterns and interests but also highlight areas for improvement. This data-driven approach lets you fine-tune your content, ensuring it aligns with what your audience wants to watch. New channels can also get inspired by understanding what's working for their competitor channels.

Frequently asked questions

How can I check my YouTube watch time statistics?

To view your watch time, navigate to YouTube Studio and select the Analytics tab from the left sidebar. In the overview section, you'll find detailed statistics about your watch time, including trends over different periods. 

Does rewatching YouTube videos contribute to watch time?

Yes, rewatching videos does count towards watch time. However, a view is only counted if the video is watched for at least 30 seconds. 

What strategies can help me reach 4000 watch hours on YouTube more quickly?

Reaching 4000 hours of watch time can be sped by consistently creating engaging content, optimizing videos for SEO, utilizing playlists, and collaborating with other creators. Following the tips in our article can significantly reduce the time it takes to achieve this milestone.

How crucial are YouTube thumbnails in increasing watch hours?

A thumbnail plays a vital role in attracting viewers. An eye-catching, relevant YouTube thumbnail can significantly increase the click-through rate of your videos, leading to more views and extended watch hours. 

Ready to boost your YouTube watch time? Boost your watch time by crafting quality content, nailing upload consistency, designing engaging intros and optimizing video descriptions.  

Whether you're just starting out or you're a seasoned YouTuber, these strategies are your ticket to success. If you want to continue to level up your monetization game, check out our guide on landing YouTube sponsorships

Need a trusty sidekick in your video-making journey? Try Clipchamp—an easy online video editor. It's packed with features that make creating YouTube content a breeze. Dive in, explore, and watch those watch hours soar. 

More from the Clipchamp blog

The ultimate guide to YouTube's Clip button

July 8, 2022
Do you want to drive new viewers to your existing YouTube videos and live streams?…

How to embed a YouTube video in Google Slides

November 5, 2021
Want to make your Google Slide presentation go from boring to fun and engaging? Embed…

How to add chapters to YouTube videos

October 18, 2021
Want to give subscribers and viewers more information about each section of your…

Start creating free videos with Clipchamp