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Building an Audience

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Digital Marketing - Study Notes:

Increasing watch time

Here are some techniques you can use to increase watch time on your content:

  • Retention score. Take a look at your video retention score to determine when viewers are dropping from your videos, how much of your audience is left by the end of the video, and what factors cause drops or increases in viewership. Use those metrics to help shape the content that your produce in the future.
  • Thumbnails. Make sure your thumbnail tell a story of what your video is about and teases your audience about what’s to come.
  • Hook your viewers. Hook your viewers as soon as they start watching your video. Make them stay until the end.
  • Promote. Use your content to promote other videos. If a viewer has already watched one of your videos, they’re more likely to watch another.
  • Build subscribers. Never forget to ask your audience to subscribe; the more subscribers you get, the more chances you have of increasing watch time.


Keeping viewers watching is important for your overall watch time. There are a few ways to analyze your audience retention and use it improve your watch time:

  • Look at your overall channel and video retention scores, to see when viewers are abandoning your content.
  • Identify common traits in your videos that are making viewers abandon your content.
  • Use these insights to reevaluate your content and how you can change it, so that viewers keep watching until the end.

Using thumbnails

Use clear thumbnails to tease the viewer on the contents of your videos. However, don’t give it all away: don’t reveal everything in the titles and thumbnails. Write titles and design custom thumbnails that are relevant and create intrigue, so that viewers are compelled to stay tuned until the end.

Hook your viewers

Use the first 15 seconds of your video to hook your viewers and tell them why they should keep watching until the end.

Promoting your content

At the end of each video, YouTube algorithmically suggests a number of videos, some from your channels and some from others. You can help keep your viewers watching your content by using end-screen annotations with clear calls to action. These can highlight other videos or playlists on your channel that the viewer might be interested in watching, which will increase watch time on your channel.

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Carlos Pacheco

Carlos Pacheco is the Vice President of Audience Development at Boat Rocker Media. Managing a team dedicated to online audience growth, Carlos has grown YouTube channels to have millions of subscribers and billions of views. Follow Carlos on Twitter on @carlospache_co for great social media tips.

Data protection regulations affect almost all aspects of digital marketing. Therefore, DMI has produced a short course on GDPR for all of our students. If you wish to learn more about GDPR, you can do so here:

DMI Short Course: GDPR

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    YouTube and Social Video
    Carlos Pacheco
    Skills Expert

    This module introduces the concept of social video marketing, focusing on YouTube. It begins by outlining the benefits of incorporating social video into your marketing campaigns, and provides best practices for doing so. It then teaches you how to set up, customize, and manage a YouTube channel, and how to use the platform’s features effectively. It also teaches you how to use enhancement features to improve your video content. Finally, it provides you with the tools and knowledge you need to build an audience for your videos, and to use YouTube Analytics to measure their performance.