In one of our previous articles about measuring video marketing ROI, we discussed some metrics to consider when measuring the success of your video marketing strategy. Once you know your ROI, how do you go about improving it? One area to look at and improve is ‘Audience Retention.’

What is Audience Retention?

Audience Retention reflects the duration your viewers are engaged with the content, as opposed to just your view count, which could only reflect a second’s viewing before someone clicks away. It is likely evident that the first 15 seconds of your video are very important- this is the point your audience is most likely to drop-off.

You typically have just 8 seconds to grab a viewer’s attention. In that time you must confirm to them that the video they are watching is the one they want, which means reinforcing the message that brought them to the video. There is a lot to consider before getting to the main messages of the video.

This is just the start of the engagement process. Your video should finish with a ‘call to action’ (e.g. prompting the viewer to make contact) which could be 30, 60 seconds or maybe even 3 minutes away, so holding their attention to that point is what you must consider throughout.

Put simply the more viewers who watch your video to the end, the higher your conversion rate will be.

Shown above is an audience retention chart from one of our videos on YouTube.

It shows how audience retention levels vary along the video time-line: depending on where the viewers are coming from:

Organic (in blue): When the viewers are coming from natural searches (Google, YouTube search engines, etc.) or click through a suggested video from an email perhaps. in this example retention level stays pretty steady throughout the video as the viewers were intending to look-up such a video.

True View in-display (in green) is a video that is advertised on the YouTube display and search network. Viewers might be enticed to click on it to watch, but didn’t search for it.

True View in-stream (orange): This is the video ad that is auto-played before you start watching any video on YouTube. The drop out in the beginning is not a surprise as the video was unsolicited!

How to improve audience retention of your marketing video?

The first 2% of your video is essential.

According to a professional video hosting website Wistia, the loss of audience retention during the first 2% of a video is correlated with the length of the video.

Wistia’s experience with videos shows that in case of a 1 to 2 minute long video, the drop in retention is 4.9% during the first 30 seconds of the video, whereas the retention rate drops by 17.5% for 5 to 10 minute long videos.

So, if you are experiencing low audience retention rates, here are areas to look at and improve on:

Check the quality of your video.

Does it load easily? If not, check whether the video is as light as it could be?

Does it play smoothly throughout and on different browsers such as Chrome, Firefox, Safari or Internet Explorer etc ?

Is the sound quality good?

Get straight to the point.

The best approach is to confirm to the viewer what they video they are about to watch is of interest to them, so get straight to the point.

Often a long introduction can be boring for the audience. So, try to keep it concise.

Keep the content relevant.

People have clicked through to watch your video expecting something quite specific by reading the title or by looking at the image in the thumbnail. Make sure the video meets those expectations throughout

Have a proper introduction.

The first few seconds of your video are important for the viewers to understand what they should expect from the video. With a proper introduction, you can tell them exactly what they should be looking forward to in the video.

Is your audience leaving before the end? Break the monotony!

When the viewer has watched through the initial seconds of the video and then drops out before the end of the video, there can be only two reasons for it – they have found what they were looking for, or they got bored or confused and gave up. If this is happens then they are more unlikely to watch any of your other videos.

In all of the above cases the viewer wont reach your call to action.

Holding Attention . . .

Keeping your audience entertained is the key. People do watch long videos, but moreso for entertainment than research. If you have a lot of content to share on a topic, consider making multiple videos as part of a series.

Another thing you could try is using some cinema tips to break the rhythm – like using several shooting locations, more than one voice-over or alternating human speakers with animations. Even though the editing will be a little tough, it will be worth it in the end!

The type of music and its volume also plays a role in holding and engaging attention.

. . . To the end.

You wrap things up and deliver your final call to action toward the final 2% of your video. This is where you would be showing your contact information, logo, social media addresses and so forth on the screen.

Avoid using any ‘summary’ phrases that might give them an idea that you’ve finished. Remember the main objective of your video is to engage with the viewers, so you should always have your call to action before your logo.

You can also engage with the viewers from time to time through annotations or by suggesting related video content at the end of the video.


Don’t be disappointed if your first video is not as successful as you had expected. Try re-editing it with some changes, add a revised voice-over or include animations to make it more engaging for your viewers. People prefer watching videos over reading the same information because it’s an easier way to learn new things.

So always remember to KISS – Keep It Simple & Short!

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