improve audience retention rate youtube

Quickly Improve Audience Retention Rate on YouTube

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If your audience retention rate is low, meaning people are leaving your YouTube videos after just a short time without watching the entire video, you might have a problem with filling in too much fluff.

I have a tendency to riff and rant when I’m trying to make a point. My husband’s always telling me “land the plane, honey”. I just can’t help it. I like to fill in every single detail.

Backstory vs Bottom Line- How They Affect Audience Retention Rate


There’s definitely a time and place for sharing the backstory. For example, my video on Why I Quit Beachbody Coaching is by far my top video (with over 300k views) and the coordinating blog post has similar traffic. In the video, I share my experience as a former Beachbody coach involved in multi-level marketing.

The viewers who click on that video are prepared to listen to a story, a testimonial, etc. They are either involved in, or are considering joining Beachbody as a side hustle or business opportunity and want to hear from someone who’s lived it and experienced it (whether good or bad).

The average audience retention rate on that video is 5 minutes and 46 seconds (of the 12 minute video), so nearly 50% watch time. This proves that YouTube subscriber retention is directly tied to finding your people and giving them what they want. 

Other YouTube videos on my channel offer tutorials, and I’ve noticed that people tend to drop off when I start to go off-script or share too much personal “filler” information, or backstory.

Nate at ChannelMakers has a video about why some YouTube Shorts fail and others succeed in which Jim from The Income School breaks down audience retention. What piqued my interest was that this is relevant for all YouTube videos on your channel and not just YouTube shorts. It’s also relevant to bloggers!

You can go into your analytics and see exactly where some people are dropping off. The spots where there are huge dips are where more people decided to “dip out” and leave your video.

audience retention rate dips on youtube analytics

You might notice a pattern of dropoffs, so those are key things to work on with regards to audience retention. Watch this video to see what I mean. You will always see the audience retention graph with a declining slope, where users dropped off the video.

Viewer Retention YouTube



As I began to look into my own analytics, I realized that more viewers were clicking off of my video when I was adding more of the backstory instead of getting down to business and sharing the bottom line.

Now, of course, you need to share everything relevant, but your audience is looking for solutions to X,Y, or Z, and they don’t want to have to sift through, or wait, for the answers.

What’s a Good Audience Retention Rate on Average?

Now a good audience retention rate is between 35-40% on average. If viewers watching your videos stay longer, they are more likely to click on other videos and engage in some of your other content. It’s even better if you can gain a new YouTube subscriber out of it!

Some videos and blog posts will do better while others might tank. Don’t be discouraged if, after analyzing your own channel or blog, you realize you’ve got some work to do. We all started out from zero and are working to improve our audience experience and grow from scratch.

Keep track of your analytics in YouTube studio. You can track your YouTube subscriber retention along with how viewers watching your videos engaged, including where they dropped off of a video by viewing the audience retention report.

You’ll be able to see patterns in audience retention and can adjust accordingly to improve audience retention rate on YouTube.

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3 thoughts on “Quickly Improve Audience Retention Rate on YouTube”

  1. Hi Melissa,

    It was a great read! Every business has this goal of retaining an audience, and I am one of them too. I have been able to get people to my website, but engaging and retaining is where I struggle the most. I found this article extremely helpful, and I think it should be read by everyone in the business. I will definitely share it with my friends, and I hope it helps them too. Thanks a lot for such an amazing and insightful share!

  2. Hi Melissa,

    It was a very informational article! I think improving audience retention is one of the most important concerns of every business owner. I loved how you share the importance and distinction of backstory vs bottom line. It was eye-opening and gave a much-needed perspective to the readers. I really appreciate you sharing this amazing resource. It was very helpful and helped me decide on the bests strategies to retain my audience. Looking forward to reading more of your amazing articles in the future.

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