Using Video Analytics to Improve Your Videos: Understanding Audience Retention
September 2, 2015
Did you know that YouTube and most video hosts offer a useful too: video analytics? This isn’t just knowing how many views your video received (viewer engagement), but far richer and deeper data about viewer retention. And by tracking at what point in your video’s timeline viewers are clicking away, you can improve content on your current and future productions to make sure audiences fully engage with your videos.
HOW TO UNDERSTAND THE ANALYTICS
Once you’ve located the analytic section of your video hosting service (located in the dashboard), take a look at the audience retention stats. You’ll see a graph that shows the number of viewers watching at the start of the video – and how many are clicking away at various points throughout.
1) Nose, Body, Tail Engagement
The folks at the Wistia video hosting platform helpfully categorized the three key points where viewers tend to drop out of watching a video as “nose/body/tail engagement. In brief, the first 5% (nose), middle 90% (body) and end 5% (tail) of a video.
Statistics show that there is often a very high drop rate in the first 10 seconds of a video. If your video is showing a high number of viewers tuning out immediately (anything over 5% in this time frame is too high), there are a few likely causes:
a) Viewers are not getting what they expected. Something about the way the video was presented – the title, thumbnail image or description- was misleading.
- Be sure the meta-tags are accurate and pertinent
- Make your thumbnail is eye-catching but still relevant
- And make sure the title is as creative as it can while still staying true to the content of the video.
b) The first 10 seconds of your video are dull
- Be sure your opening title sequence isn’t slow or long. A short, well-placed logo and briefly onscreen title is likely all you need- extra points if you can combine both together.
- It might sound obvious, but make sure that you start off with engaging, enticing and relevant material right off the get go.
- Establish the problem, situation or point of the video within the first 10-15% of the video. Get viewers engaged in finding out where it will go, how the issue will be solved.
c) Your video’s length is scaring away viewers: Once the video length bar comes up, statistics show that many viewers who realize they must commit to 4, 6 or 10 minutes of watching just won’t. Wistia notes an average engagement ‘nose’ drop of 4.9% for videos that are 1 – 2 minutes in length soaring to 17.3% for videos 5 – 10 minutes in length.
- Consider breaking up a longer video into shorter chapters or shorter episodes/ videos
- Show rather than tell: prove your point briefly, you don’t need to then go on and state it
- Longer videos aren’t necessarily bad, but they need to have the right committed audience. Delve deeper into audience demographics to see if your target audience is the ones sticking with the longer video. If so, you may not need the paring knife.
If viewers are falling off steadily through the middle 90% of your video, this poses a different but equally troubling set of problems.
a) Your video grabbed viewers at the outset but part way through they lost interest.
b) It could be that viewers got the point of the video at the halfway mark, and the rest of the video was redundant.
c) Maybe your content wasn’t engaging enough for its length.
- Consider ways to shorten your videos- get to the message faster
- Consider ways to enliven your video- offer multiple hosts, presenters or interviews. Sometimes even shooting the same person from multiple angles makes for a more interesting video
- Study the metrics to see exactly which sections in your video caused the greatest loss of viewer engagement. Perhaps it is a section with a lot of onscreen text. Maybe you’ve relied too much on talking heads. Or perhaps you’ve weighed the video down with statistics that would be better placed in website text. And if the most interesting info is loaded at the beginning, maybe you don’t need the later information at all.
- Consider the need for music, relevant graphics, animation- other ways to present your message in more engaging ways.
Losing viewers at the tail end at first seems like good news. They’ve hung in and watched 95% of your video, right? That may be acceptable if your video doesn’t have a call to action. But if it does you’re losing a valuable connection at the very moment where viewers should be getting information about how they can buy your product or service, connect further with your brand or wherever else you were aiming their attention.
- Don’t use phrases like “In conclusion” or “To wrap it all up”- try to keep the exactly moment of when things will end as a surprise
- Avoid recaps at the end of videos. Viewers can always rewatch the video if they want to further grasp key points
- Make a quick exit- your logo and URL should be brief and sweet so a call-to- action or email collector can pop up quickly on screen.
Once you get into the habit of studying your video analytics, you’ll come up with a wealth of information to help improve your video content! Contact us for help in getting that next production made.