How To Increase Watch Time On YouTube: 9 Fast Ways

Written by: GetFans Team
On Feb 02, 2021

How To Increase Watch Time On YouTube: 9 Fast Ways

If you're interested in earning a living from YouTube, you've got to put the work in. Studying ways to keep your viewers entertained and adding subscribers daily is going to help you in the long run, but there are also things you can do right now. Every single person who is watching your videos will be important, so you want to produce the best content possible – but that isn't the only thing needed to increase your YouTube watch time quickly.

This article is going to take a look at 9 different ways you can increase your YouTube watch time, but most of these tips will also help you increase audience retention as well. Just like a business wants its customers to come back for more, audience retention can be a very important (and often overlooked) aspect of increasing your YouTube watch time

What is YouTube Watch Time?

YouTube watch time is how long people spend viewing your video, and it can make a massive difference in the amount of revenue you're able to bring in as a YouTube channel. Without viewers who are dedicated to watching the majority of your videos, odds are you won't be able to capitalize on your content as often when it comes to monetization. 

How Does YouTube Calculate Watch Time?

YouTube uses an algorithm of sorts to calculate how much watch time your videos are getting, and although it might seem complicated at first, it's quite simple. They use the following equation:

Watch Time = Views x Average Watch Duration

They take the number of views a video has and multiply them by the average watch duration. This gives YouTube a somewhat solid outline for exactly how long your videos are being viewed!

What is a “Good” Amount of YouTube Watch Time?

A good amount of YouTube watch time is going to vary, but if you're interested in pursuing a career with YouTube, you'll have to worry about meeting monetization requirements. Striving for the highest watch time possible will allow you to maximize your revenue, and longer videos will allow viewers to watch for even longer than usual! If you release longer videos on a consistent basis, you can expect to see a drastic increase in your YouTube watch time.

There are a few different requirements you have to meet before you can start displaying ads on your YouTube channel, but the two important ones are:

  • 4,000 watch hours
  • 1,000 subscribers

YouTube watch time can be your main goal if you’re interested in monetization. Some people force themselves to increase the average video length being produced, but once you've met the requirements for monetization it should come naturally (if you're producing high-quality content). There's no fast way to get to 4,000 YouTube hours, but if you’re producing great videos and engaging with viewers, your channel will be hard to ignore.

The Importance of YouTube Watch Time

Improves Video Rankings On Search Results

Where your video ranks on Youtube search results for specific keywords is very important, as it is one of the most efficient ways to bring in traffic organically. Having a higher video watch time results in a better chance of getting ranked because you’re keeping users on the site, and YouTube’s algorithm rewards videos that do precisely that. 

There are a lot of YouTube channels that fizzle out because they didn't focus on stuff like video SEO, maintaining public watch time, or even improving average view duration. Putting forth an effort to improve your watch time is always going to be worth it. You can try to rank your videos #1 for specific phrases (like “funny videos”), and the picture above is proof as to how much it can impact your watch time (8 million total views!).

Become Suggested on Recommended/Suggested Videos

Have you seen all of those cool videos that pop up on the side of your YouTube feed? You could be a part of the club, all you've got to do is make your mark on the YouTube community. It's hard to refuse somebody a “Recommended Video” spot when they're gaining traction on YouTube, most of the time that means viewers/subscribers of other related channels will check out your videos as well. By becoming a suggested video, you’re going to notice a natural growth to your YouTube watch time from curious viewers who are interested in similar video topics - those who are already interested in the kind of videos you’re creating are more keen on watching the entire thing.

Needed for Monetization

If you haven't met the requirements for YouTube Partner Program monetization, it can feel like you’re wasting time on YouTube! Although having 1,000 subscribers can be a tough feat to accomplish in itself, you also have to have 4,000 watch hours to qualify (and for those of you who are interested in learning how to get 4000 hours of watch time, check out these tips below!).

How To Increase YouTube Watch Time

Increasing your YouTube watch time can be the most impactful process you go through for the channel itself, so it’s important to make use of every opportunity available. If you want to know how you can effectively increase YouTube watch time, we’ve got you covered. Your video length is often a direct indicator of how much YouTube watch time you’ll see, but average view duration will also play a part. 

1. Collaborate with Popular Channels

Popular YouTube channels have already carved out their niche within the YouTube community, and that means you've already got an “in” when it comes to gathering new subscribers. When you're looking to increase your YouTube watch time, collaborating with a related channel is going to help you immensely! When viewers see a recognizable face on their screen, they’re going to give your video a chance and watch it for much longer than they typically would.

2. Produce High-Quality Videos

The better your content is, the more likely viewers will stick around for a long time. Trying to get 4000 watch hours is tough, but the same could be said for getting YouTube watch hours in general. Creating content that you're passionate about and use to either educate or entertain your viewers is always going to benefit your channel in the long run. Videos that look like they've been professionally produced are going to keep viewers' attention, while lesser quality videos (for example phone recordings) may not offer the same boost. 

Know Your Audience

Knowing your audience is the key to producing high-quality videos. You already know what people want to see from your YouTube channel by taking a look at your most popular videos, so create more content of that nature to get things started.

Hire an Editor

Hiring a professional editor to handle all of the editing work is one of the most important things a growing YouTube channel can do. When you want to release content consistently and keep it high-quality, optimal editing is a must. 

Be Willing to Innovate

Remain innovative and don’t be afraid to push the boundaries a little bit. Some of the most successful YouTube channels have amazing amounts of YouTube watch hours, and that’s all attributed to the high-quality content they produce. 

3. Use the First 15 Seconds to Draw Viewers In and Catch Their Attention

If you don't capture the mind of your viewers within the first 15 seconds of your video and hook your viewers, you're basically out of luck. You have to ensure that you're not only interacting with your viewers during the first 15 seconds, but you also have to bring the energy! Let them know what the video is about, but also be sure to shout out your dedicated community (as PewDiePie would with the Bro Army) too.

4. Perfect Your Video Titles and Thumbnails

You can research to figure out which titles and thumbnails work best with your videos, as you'll notice a trend forming if you use the same “style” of thumbnail/title multiple times. If you notice that something is working out and keeping your viewers interested (as in certain titles or thumbnails result in a longer watch time), stick with it! If things aren't working as well, it might be time to tackle new terrain and try something new with your thumbnail/titles to improve your YouTube watch time. 

5. Conduct Keyword Research

Keyword Research is a necessity when you're looking to get serious with your YouTube efforts. Without proper keyword research, you're going into the whole process blindly! You don't know which words are best for your titles and video descriptions, and there's no real way to keep track of your videos' ranking in the search results. Having a higher search ranking will increase your channel exposure and bring more viewers in.

There's a small chance you strike gold and go viral, but proper keyword research is always going to put you in a more successful position - when you target a specific niche and make relatable content, people are more willing to watch and increase your channel YouTube watch time.

6. YouTube Playlists

YouTube Playlists can be used to put together a mix of related videos, allowing viewers to watch them without having to move a muscle. Viewers are more likely to watch the entirety of your video if it’s in a playlist, resulting in longer YouTube watch hours for your channel.

It's perfect for when you want to lure subscribers or viewers in so they can binge-watch related videos you’ve posted recently (or in the past), and it's especially effective if you're an ASMR channel that happens to help people sleep! Can you imagine how many hours of YouTube watch time are being delivered by sleeping viewers? 

7. Timestamps

Timestamps allow viewers to “consume” your video as they feel fit. If you're producing rather long videos, it could end up damaging your YouTube watch hours – some people just aren't willing to stick around for a video longer than ten minutes! While that's true, you can use Timestamps to break the video down into segments, and people can come back to pick up where they initially left off with ease (or skip through to the “good stuff”!). 

8. Use the “Premiere” Function to Build a Buzz

Just like a YouTube call to action, the Premiere function built into YouTube allows you to let your subscribers know when a video is going live. When people are excited for the release of a video, the chances that watch it in its entirety (or even multiple times) are much higher. 

There's no chance for your most dedicated viewers to miss out on any content, and it also allows you to build a bit of buzz around your YouTube channel before releasing something. It's perfect for when you've got a great video you've been stashing away! Giving your viewers plenty of opportunities to prepare for the premiere can almost guarantee an increase in YouTube video watch time. 

9. Use YouTube Analytics to Test and Make Changes

YouTube Analytics can tell you a lot about your channel, and it's going to be a tool that you become familiar with quickly. If you aren't constantly testing different ways to bring viewers in and keep them watching, you're not doing it right! Using the YouTube Analytics tool will allow you to test things and see the sort of impact they have on your YouTube watch hours, making it a must-have tool when you want to increase watch time on YouTube


There are many ways to increase watch time on YouTube, and it might be the only thing holding you back from starting to earn money from your content! If you're trying to grow your YouTube channel fast, keep these tips in mind the next time you're planning on releasing a video. In regards to long-term success, focusing on YouTube watch time should be on your radar at all times!

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