The abundance of information the average person gets bombarded daily has had an enormous impact on people's attention span. Every new trend "demands" attention, thus shortening the time we have to focus on one thing.
Back in 2000, in a study done by Microsoft, the attention span of an average person was about 12 to 15 seconds. Today, 20 years later, the average person has an attention span of about 8 seconds. It has put a lot of strain on people looking to capture audiences and keep them hooked on their content.
For this reason, here we'll talk about the importance of hooking your viewers to get more likes and engagements. It is essential to increase watch time and build your YouTube brand, so read on for more advice on how to get your viewers glued to your content.
In short, we can describe hooks as attention grabbers for videos. However, there is more into that -
To increase watch time and drive visitors to your content, you need first to understand how people's attention works. Attention is not only the thing we tend to focus on, but it is also the things we need to tune out. It means that people's attention is both selective and limited. Actually, there are four types of attention:
How to apply this knowledge in hooking your YouTube audience to watch your content? Basically, you only have the first 10-15 seconds of your video to get people's attention to your content. For this, you need to use the appropriate hook, just like in fishing. The hook is the thing that keeps the audience's attention on your content. It can be done in several ways, which we'll cover in more detail below.
Hooking your audience is essential for growing your YouTube channel. Also, when people get hooked to your content, you will see a significant increase in the overall watch time. It results in your YouTube channel getting more viewers and more subscribers, which is kind of the whole point, right?
The hooks you use to lure viewers your way are essential for several reasons, none more important than the rest:
When a person is hooked to your content, they will stay longer on your video, which in other words means increasing your total audience retention metric. They'll often be inclined to leave comments, like and rate your videos, and share your videos with other people.
People who become hooked to your content subscribe to your channel and are more likely to watch each of your videos. It is reflected in the overall watch time that your channel earns. The more watch time your channel has, the more likely it is that YouTube will recommend your videos, as watch time is the prime metric the ranking algorithms consider.
If you hook your audience, you can rank higher on YouTube. The hooks you use are almost as important as the YouTube SEO strategy you employ. It goes hand in hand with producing fantastic content that can educate, inform or entertain your YouTube audiences. If a video gets more engagements like comments, shares, and likes, it will automatically rank higher on YouTube.
Wonder why? Well, because the engagements like comments are among the top metrics the YouTube ranking algorithms consider. These are dependent on the quality of your content and how you hook your viewers to your channel.
A channel with a lot of watch time that continuously puts out new content that earns viewers and subscribers is more likely to find its way on top of the recommended videos. It is because YouTube's ranking algorithms like to promote such videos; it is in everyone's interest for popular content to reach wider audiences.
When your content hooks many viewers, YouTube is more likely to put it on the homepage suggestions. The videos that show up here result from the viewer's YouTube activity and are clicked more often. You realize the importance of hooking your viewers to your content, right?
To hook your viewers, you need a great hook. Are you wondering how to make a great hook? It is not an easy task; you'll need to plan in advance so your efforts will be successful. Here are two main things that define a great hook, and you should know:
To create a curiosity gap, you need to tease your viewers by hinting that something interesting is coming, but they need to watch your content and see what that is. The curiosity gap compels your viewers to click on your videos and watch them, thus appeasing their curiosity.
You are basically banking on people's natural curiosity. You can hint at something in your YouTube channel trailer, and people will be enticed to click through your videos to see more about it.
Another way to inspire the curiosity gap is to promise that your views will get something from watching your content. Naturally, they will benefit more by subscribing to your channel and getting notified when you post a fresh video, so you should also drop this in when inspiring their curiosity.
Examples of this are the videos on the YouTube channel ZHC:
All the titles and thumbnails are creating a curiosity gap. Also, the initial 30 seconds of each video hold a teaser, and it seems like people cannot resist seeing how he does all the things in his videos.
To give your viewers a value proposition, you need to point to a particular problem they may face and then describe your offer and how they can benefit from it. The value proposition is another clever marketing trick that can help you hook your viewers to your YouTube content.
When giving a value proposition to your audience, you should highlight why the audience needs to select your videos over the competition. To create a great YouTube value proposition, you need to focus on how your viewers define your value. It should pertain to your strengths: what makes you the go-to YouTube channel for the particular subject matter.
As an example of this, we've selected the YouTube channel of Dr. Jordan Peterson:
His videos include educational content, interviews, and podcast talks with various people. He is one of the leaders in his field, meaning viewers will get proper value from watching his videos.
Now that we talked about what makes a great YouTube hook, it is time to put this into action. Since the YouTube competition is quite fierce, you should not cut any corners, but use all available options to hook your viewers. Here are some field-honed tips that you can use to create great YouTube hooks.
The title and thumbnail are the things people see when making a YouTube search. It is what draws the people to click on your video in the first place, as a great thumbnail and a great keyword-relevant title are the best hooks that attract viewers. We have a detailed article on creating an excellent video thumbnail, so make sure you browse our blog for more knowledge on this. Remember, the title and thumbnail should be used as teasers to your videos so they can attract viewers.
One channel that does this entirely is Clickspring: Each of his videos has an excellent title and a great thumbnail presenting the finished product, and the video features a detailed description of the entire production process.
Think of your channel trailer like a movie trailer. You feel enticed to watch the movie after watching an exciting trailer. Well, the same goes for your YouTube channel trailer. The YouTube channel trailer is where you tell your potential viewers what they can expect to find on your YouTube channel. The channel trailer needs to be short and on point so you can have a good shot at hooking your viewers. Aim for 30 to 90 seconds, and use the first 10-15 seconds to hook viewers: introduce them to your content and tell them why they should watch and subscribe to your YouTube channel and tell them how often you post fresh content. Don't forget the end card with the appropriate Subscribe CTA.
An excellent example of a quality captivating channel trailer is the channel Quantastic. The host welcomes you with the most important things about the channel and the type of content you can expect to see here, ending with the appropriate Subscribe end card.
We talked about how people's attention is so low, it is challenging to hook people to your videos. A great trick you can use, as it is something plenty of other YouTubers already use, is to tease the value proposition. A person will watch your video because it is entertaining, educational, or informative. So, show a short teaser of the paramount value proposition within the first 10 seconds of the video, hooking viewers to stay tuned up until the end. Or, you can ask an intriguing question from the start, hooking people to stay until the end, to learn the answer.
This can be easily seen in the FailArmy videos. Even if you know that you'll see fail videos, each new video features a short clip of the video's theme.
To hook your viewers, give them something to relate to on a personal level. You can put something in the opening of your video, showing your viewers that you are an actual person and you have feelings that you'd like to share with them. It can be something personal that happened to you, like "Hey guys, I visited the ____, here I'll share the experience with you." Depending on the topics of your video, the human connection can be something else entirely. The main thing to remember is that you should work towards building a human connection with your viewers.
An interesting example of this is the channel Crazy Russian Hacker. He starts every video by introducing himself, putting on his "safety equipment," and sharing what exciting thing he decided to show that day. He is quite interesting and funny, inspiring a connection with his viewers.
People's attention span has become so short, capturing their attention is becoming an arduous task. Even if your video's content is incredible, you still need appropriate hooks to capture people and entice them to watch your content, as this is one of the best ways to keep viewers coming back.
Using quality hooks pays off in the long run, as these have a beneficial influence on the overall watch time your channel gets. Hooks can get more views and more subscribers to your channel, and your content can rank better on YouTube.
So, to hook viewers to your content, we advise you to use a great thumbnail and title, add a teasing channel trailer, form human connections with your viewers and always tend to tease the value proposition of your content within the first couple of seconds. When used correctly, these are powerful tools that can help elevate your YouTube channel, get more views, and get more subscribers.