Wondering how to get more people to watch your YouTube videos? Looking for a strategy you can model?
To explore how to get more views on your YouTube videos, I interview Justin Brown on the Social Media Marketing Podcast.
Justin is a YouTube expert and video strategist who helps businesses grow an audience and scale their revenue with online video. His program is called Primal Video Accelerator. His YouTube channel has more than 800,000 subscribers.
You’ll learn five strategic elements that encourage people to watch videos longer and discover retention techniques that increase YouTube watch time.
Justin’s background is in professional-level video production including producing, directing, filming, and editing. He’s worked with Netflix on a global scale and several major broadcasters in the U.S.
Back in 2014, Justin started his YouTube channel where everyone starts—with zero followers. After a lot of testing and failing, he developed a strategy that works and now his channel gets approximately 3 million views in a typical month.
Today, Justin teaches others so they can effectively and efficiently create videos that deliver the highest return from implementing his video strategy in their business.
Why Is It Important to Keep People Watching Your YouTube Videos?
The reason for focusing on creating videos people will watch through to the end comes down to two things: serving your viewer and serving YouTube’s algorithm.
You need people to watch your videos so they see and receive the value you’re offering. If they don’t watch to the end of your video, they’ll miss out on your offer or message.
At the same time, if someone clicks on your video and doesn’t watch to the end, YouTube interprets that as a bad viewer experience and will stop serving your video in search and suggested results.
How you initially hook someone into clicking on and watching your video, and what you say and do in your videos all play a part in retaining that viewer. Rather than teasing something out or leading people to watch five videos to get what they need, give your viewer everything they need in one video and do it as succinctly as possible so they stick around and watch the entire video.
While most social platforms cater to short attention span media, YouTube is the opposite of that; the average duration of a video is minutes, not seconds, and that requires marketers who are used to playing in the social sandbox to rethink their strategy a little bit. Not only is the content longer-form, but people will also watch more content on YouTube than they will on other platforms.
How to Structure a Successful Video: 5 Elements
Justin’s strategic formula for creating videos people watch all the way through does more than improve watch time. It also helps you produce a massive library of traffic-generating content that performs over long periods.
Here are the five elements he uses to structure videos so people watch them through to the end.
The Hook: Keywords
When someone is searching for a solution on YouTube, there’s always some inherent anxiety involved when they’re deciding which video to click on. That anxiety hangs around until they know they’re watching the right video.
Your goal is to hook viewers immediately by letting them know they’re in the right place.
Back when he was still learning what worked on YouTube, Justin began his videos with, “Hey, it’s Justin from Primal Video!” He could watch the viewers drop at that point because they didn’t care who he was. They wanted to know if he could solve their problem and give them the answer to a question.
To engage your viewers immediately, develop a hook that repeats the exact keywords related to their question in the first sentence of your video script.
If your video will talk about the best video editing software for Mac users, don’t say, “Hey, it’s Justin from Primal Video.” Do say, “Are you looking for the best video editing software on Mac in 2020? Well, in this video, we’re going to break it down.”
Using the exact keyword phrase is important because YouTube is now transcribing your videos and looking inside the video itself to figure out what your content is about. Your goal is to give YouTube everything you can to best place your content on the platform and put it in front of the right people on YouTube and often in Google search results as well.
The Intro: You and Your Content
After the hook, introduce yourself and your channel, and provide a bit more detail about the content you’re going to deliver.
For example, “Hi, it’s Justin from Primal Video, where we help you grow an audience and scale your revenue with online video.”
Follow up with something relatable to anyone who has experienced the pains and problems of looking for video editing software. “If you’ve ever searched for video editing software or looked for video editing software on Mac, you understand that there are a lot of different options. So in this video, we’re going to break it all down for you. I’m going to share my top picks to help you decide which one is best for you.”
Or, “… in this video, I’m going to break it down and share my five top picks to help you decide which one is best for you.”
You’ve introduced yourself and your channel and you’ve told people how the content is going to be delivered so they can relax and watch your video with confidence.
Content: Engage the Viewer
Now it’s time to deliver on what you promised in the hook and intro. As you move through your content, you want to keep your viewer actively engaged.
No matter how good your content is, if you’re sitting down and talking with no visually interesting elements for your viewers to look at, they’ll get bored.
In addition to visual elements, you want to drive engagement on your video, meaning you want people to click on things and engage with YouTube while they’re watching your video. Rather than passive viewers, you want them to be active participants. Common engagement activities you can encourage include clicking on the thumbs-up or thumbs-down buttons, leaving a comment, or clicking into a card to preview a related video, and so on.
Social Media Marketing Workshops (Online Training)
Want to improve your paid and organic marketing on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, or LinkedIn—and secure your future? Get ready to be coached by 14 of the world’s best social marketing pros in the most comprehensive social marketing training we've ever offered. You’ll receive step-by-step live instruction so you can increase your reach, create amazing engagement, and sell more with social media. Become the marketing hero for your company and clients as you implement strategies that get proven results. This is a live online training event from your friends at Social Media Examiner.
A newer feature from YouTube is the Chapters progress bar, which lets viewers click on specific segments in your videos.
When you’ve wrapped up the promised content, give your viewers something more—something they aren’t expecting. Choose something that will help them implement the solution you just gave them or something related to the next hurdle they’ll face after implementing the solution you talked about in the primary content of your video. For example, you could mention a downloadable resource.
Call to Action: The Next Step
If someone watches to the very end of your video, they want to know what the next step is and you need to help them complete their journey.
One way to do that is to tell them to watch a specific video that continues that journey.
For example, even though filming and editing go hand in hand, if the video they just watched is about video editing tools, don’t link them to anything focused on filming. Use an end screen to point them toward the next best video you have about video editing—perhaps one that shares tips to help them edit faster. “And check out this awesome video on advanced video editing.”
If you don’t have the next best video in their journey, send them to someone else’s video. Why? One of the metrics YouTube holds high is session time. If your video starts a session, meaning someone comes to YouTube and watches your video and then watches more videos on YouTube, you’re credited with that viewing journey.
Pro Tip: If you do use another channel’s video, keep the call to action generic so you can swap it out for one of your own in the end screen when you have a video ready.
Another way to help viewers continue their journey is to deliver a call to action that prompts them to download a related resource or guide. If you’re talking about video editing, share an editing guide; if you’re talking about filming, share a filming guide.
Retention Techniques for YouTube Video
Think about all of the shows you watch on TV. They’re using simple retention strategies you can model to keep your viewers engaged in your content.
Humans like to see or hear things through to completion. You can play to human nature and encourage retention by using open loops in your video structure.
For example, if you say you’ll be covering five video editing tools, you can create an open loop when you compare them to each other, “This feature is really good on tool X, but the tool is lacking when it comes to X. Don’t worry, the next option I’ve got for you will solve that problem. We’ll get to that in a minute.” By creating an open loop, you’re delivering on what you’ve promised but you’re also keeping viewers engaged through each feature section of your content.
Or you can open a loop in the intro by teasing the bonus just before you get into the content. “Make sure you stick around to the end because I’m going to share two game-changing tips that’ll help you edit faster no matter which editing software you’re using.”
Think about fun things you can do in your video to make it more engaging for the viewer. The overall goal is to help your viewers understand what the content is about and better learn everything you’re teaching them, all while keeping the video visually appealing.
This could be as simple as doing a zoom cut, where the same shot is just zoomed in a little bit, or switching between camera angles.
You could also use B-roll or overlay footage. For example, if you’re showing or mentioning a product, switch from showing your face to showing footage of that product. That said, if there’s a critical part of the video, you want to be on camera so people can see that you’re genuine.
If you don’t have the footage on hand, you can use stock footage. Justin gets most of his B-roll footage from Storyblocks. If, for example, he’s creating a video on how to film with your smartphone, he’ll search Storyblocks for video of someone filming on an iPhone.
Animated text moving on the screen is another technique Justin uses to engage and retain viewers.
Again, which techniques you use depends on the content you’re delivering and how you can best describe something to your viewers so they take action.
The Chapters progress bar sits on the bottom of a video and fills up as the viewer progresses. In a way, they create an open loop because the human brain wants to see the bar fill up, even if it’s boring. When Justin saw progress bars in action, he wondered what would happen if he used them to break out content into sections so people could easily see where the next section was coming up.
For example, if his video shares five ways to do X, the video’s progress bar shows five segments along the bottom. The bar shows people where they are in the video, which makes it easy for them to jump around and go back and forth between sections, or skip a section if they’re bored. At the same time, it encourages retention, because whether people realize it or not, they want to watch that bar fill up.
Key Takeaways From This Episode:Learn more about Justin at PrimalVideo.com. Check out Justin’s PrimalVideo channel on YouTube. Explore Storyblocks. Get your ticket for the Social Media Marketing Workshops at marketingworkshops.live. Watch exclusive content and original videos from Social Media Examiner on YouTube.
What do you think? What are your thoughts on this strategy to get more views on your YouTube videos? Please share your comments below.