What Is YouTube Watch Time?

Do you own a YouTube channel? Are you searching for ways to engage viewers for the longest possible time? You can consider fine-tuning the YouTube videos for increasing the total number of views that are generated on the channel while also delivering longer viewing duration. In this post, we will help you understand all about YouTube watch time and how you can increase the same

An Insight Into YouTube Watch Time 

Watch time can be defined as the total amount of time that people would spend in watching the respective YouTube videos. YouTube has made it clear that watch time serves to be a vital aspect of the search as well as discovery algorithm. 

Before the time of October 2012, the total number of views on YouTube served to be a major factor in when it came to ranking videos. However, upon updating the YouTube algorithm, watch time has become the primary factor for YouTube analysis.

Watch time is also referred to as audience retention –as referred to in YouTube Analytics. It is the total time in aggregate that viewers tend to spend in watching the videos. In ideal cases, videos topping in the given metric would result in the overall increased viewing sessions. 

With an increase in the overall watch time, YouTube would promote your channel through both recommended as well as search videos. This, in turn, leads to increased views. While paying attention to watch time, it is important to note that this metric is distinct from Audience Retention. Audience retention is known to measure the total percentage of video that viewers watch. On the other hand, watch time is known to observe the total accumulated minutes that people might have spent in watching your videos since the time you have first published the same.

Ways to Increase Watch Time for Your YouTube Channel

Now that you are aware of the meaning of Watch Time in context with YouTube, it is imperative to understand how you can increase this metric for your channel. Here are some effective ways to ensure the same:

#Increase Audience Retention

As expected, the set of strategies that is going to boost audience retention will increase the watch time for your YouTube videos as well. Here are some effective methods of increasing audience retention for your YouTube channel:

  • Grab the Attention Within First 15 Seconds: Most of the viewers on YouTube are known to judge a video on the basis of the first 15 seconds of the video. Therefore, it is important to get relevant attention of the viewers as soon as they would start watching the videos.
  • Combine Elements: Viewers are known to dislike static videos. Therefore, it is imperative for you to combine the basic essentials including camera angles, background light, music, visual styles, and so more. This will help in keeping your videos fresh & interesting.
  • Plan & Outline: Planning, scripting, and outlining the videos beforehand would allow you to deliver a highly refined and finished content.

#Create Longer Videos

Looking for an easy way to increase the overall watch time? You can go for the option of creating longer videos. A recent study on YouTube factors revealed that longer videos (mostly longer than 15 minutes) tend to outperform the shorter videos in a typical YouTube search result. 

#Get More Subscribers

When you create long, engaging videos on YouTube, it can help you to get access to increased watch time on the videos. In other words, it can be said that if you wish to truly maximize watch time, you will be required to get a good number of views on the respective videos. What is the best way to do that? You should aim at building a loyal group of channel subscribers. 

By doing this, whenever you would publish a new video, you will already have thousands of viewers to watch the same. As subscribers are used to enjoying your content, they are most likely to watch a particular video to its end.

#Promote the Videos

In case you do not yet have many subscribers on your YouTube channel, you should not worry. You can still look forward to generating ample views (while increasing the overall watch time) by sending people outside YouTube to the respective videos. In simpler words, you can consider promoting the YouTube videos of your channel to the existing network of followers or fans on other channels like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and others. 

#Take a Note of What Exactly Works

There is no denying the fact that there are specific videos on your YouTube channel that are going to feature increased watch time in comparison to others. If you are able to analyze what is exactly working for those videos, you can create potential winners for maximum watch time on a consistent basis. 

Some of the essential factors that most of your winning videos are going to feature are:

  • Style
  • Video length
  • SEO optimization
  • Title & thumbnail
  • Target audience
  • Visuals
  • Format

There is a lot of guesswork involved in creating and promoting a YouTube video. You might be already aware of what exactly works for your target audience. Then, it simply becomes a matter of repeating the same actions for your future videos to ensure the best results.

#Increase Session Watch Time

Until now, we have been focusing on the Watch Time for individual videos or content on YouTube. Another important factor to consider while analyzing the watch time is Session Watch Time. 

Session Watch Time can be defined as the duration someone tends to spend on YouTube during a single watching session. Indeed, YouTube is known to favor videos that keep the target audience engaged on YouTube. Moreover, YouTube has also made it clear that videos leading to a longer or increased session watch time can help in increasing the overall visibility of the particular videos on the platform.


As Watch Time serves to be an integral factor on YouTube, it is imperative for you to pay attention to the same –especially when it comes to promoting your channel. 

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