When you create videos to publish on YouTube, your focus should be on making them as engaging as possible. Not only are engaging videos more effective, but YouTube’s ranking algorithm favors them as well.
Simply put YouTube doesn’t care that much about the number of views your video is getting. Instead it ranks videos based on the amount of time spent watching videos, the number of comments, and other metrics related to engagement.
Although creating engaging videos is easier said than done, there are a few ways that you can get started right here and right now.

Keep it Concise and Direct

To make your videos more engaging you need to ensure they’re able to retain viewers for longer – and creating videos that are concise and direct will help a lot in that regard.

Unlike social media, YouTube’s viewers tend to have longer attention spans. They are willing to stick around and watch longer videos so long as they feel they’re getting the information that they came for.

By being concise and delivering that information to them directly, you are more likely retain viewers. It helps if the topic is also specific enough that you can cover it in about 5 minutes at most.

Open With a Compelling Hook

Forget about adding a long introduction to your video – what you really need to open with is a compelling hook.
In many YouTube videos there is a sharp drop off in viewers after the first 8 to 10 seconds, which is basically when many viewers decide whether to stick around or not. That means that you have about that long to convince viewers to stay – which is exactly what the hook is for.
Ideally you should open your video by briefly outlining what it is about, and then pivoting into how it will benefit viewers to watch it. Focus on what your viewers stand to gain, and you’ll find that more of them opt to stay.

Add in Cards and End Screens to Get Viewers to Take Action

A big part of engagement involves the actions that viewers take, whether it is liking, sharing, commenting or subscribing. It may come as a bit of a surprise, but the best way to get them to take those actions is to ask them.

The good news is that YouTube provides an excellent way to ask viewers to take action: Cards and end screens. By adding either of these options to YouTube videos, you can encourage users to take the actions that you want – and it is normally very effective.

As a start you could add end screens to your YouTube videos to drive the actions that you want. For some videos you can then mix in cards to promote specific actions for that video, and make them more interactive with polls and other elements.

The more you’re able to get your viewers to take action, the better your video engagement levels will be.

Optimize the Video Thumbnail

Although people tend to assume the thumbnail’s main role is to get more viewers – it is also an important factor in engagement. Because many viewers will watch a video on the strength of its thumbnail, it influences the expectations they have for its content.

If you video doesn’t live up to that expectation – you will find that you lose lots of viewers.

While there are lots of tips to improve thumbnails – one of the best is to add context in the form of text. It will directly help to ensure viewers have a more accurate expectation about the content of your video.

Be sure that the text you add is concise, and can be viewed easily on screens of all sizes. A good chunk of your viewers will be using mobile devices, and it is important that they can read it as well.

Aside from that, try to include branding elements in your thumbnail. In general viewers are more likely to stay and watch a video for longer if they associate it with a brand that they like.

Final Words

Make no mistake there are other factors that affect the engagement of YouTube videos, and the appeal of your video itself is one of them. That is why it is important that you are able to create and edit together high quality videos, and for example you could use a Video Editor.

As you can see creating engaging videos for YouTube doesn’t have to be that complicated if you focus on the right areas. By taking on board the tips listed above and implementing in your videos, you should notice an immediate impact in terms of the retention rate, video completion, and other metrics that are tied to engagement.

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