5 Retention-Killing YouTube Mistakes To Avoid
Understanding why people choose to click away from your videos.
Let’s take a look at some retention-killing YouTube traps.
You learn something from every single video you make, and I want to share what I’ve learned from my ongoing work with multiple creators.
To help this along, I have a big question…
Would you be willing to share some of your retention curves with me?
I would LOVE to turn this into a regular feature and the more videos we study across different niches, the better our videos will get!
You can drop me an email here or DM me on Twitter - happy to keep you and the video anonymous if you prefer! Think of this like a free script review ;)
Let’s get into it…
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1 - Bland Start
This video from a little earlier in my career had an appalling drop-off and it’s easy to see why.
The video opens on a point so blindingly obvious that viewers will assume the rest of the video is filled with boring information too.
Even if you feel you have to make a boring point because it’s fundamental to understanding the broader context, try not to open with it.
It’s for this reason that I didn’t start this piece with my fourth tip.
2 - Too Much Too Soon
In an “X ways to…” video I worked on, I noticed retention suffering during one segment more than others.
On reflection, I noticed we’d summed up the entire segment in the first sentence.
Of course, you’re always going to have to introduce the point you’re making, but if the point is simple enough for the audience to fully understand after the first sentence…
Then it’s time question how much more time you need to spend talking about it.
3 - False Start
I was surprised to find people had skipped the first 10s of this video despite what appeared to be a pretty tight hook.
This spike at 10s is when we get onto the first discussion point.
This suggests that the 10s hook was already too long for people to bother watching. They wanted to get right into it.
But why? It was brief, energetic, and reaffirmed the promise of the title.
But the problem was that it didn’t actually add anything.
Now, it really pays to reaffirm the promise of the title during the hook of a MrBeast video, for example, because the premise is always so outlandish that you need to reassure the audience you’re actually doing what the title says.
But in this case, the premise was a little more pedestrian. And as a result, we basically took 10s to say what the audience had already read in the title, before moving on to the value.
In contrast (and what I’ve found has helped with other videos) kicking off with an interesting metaphor or something more visually engaging is a good way to hook their attention without blandly restating the title.
A Brief Interlude…
🔧 My YouTube Script Template
While no two scripts are the same, it always helps my flow to have a clean space to write and repurpose videos. And it certainly helps to have little reminders about what I’m trying to achieve at each point in the script.
So if you’d like the template I use to write for YouTubers, click here. It’s free!
Back To It…
4 - Get Outta There
As previously mentioned, this point will be known to most of you, but I had to include it as this is the first time I’m talking about retention curves:
Your outro should be your Call To Action and nothing more.
Send them to another video and stop talking.
Don’t summarise everything you’ve discussed or start up a little heart-to-heart.
Once the final bit of value has been delivered, end the video.
Retention can absolutely bomb in the final 15s, which doesn’t send good vibes to the algorithm.
5 - Overwhelm
This video had been cruising on a nice 60% until the final point we made, where retention dropped off rapidly.
I reviewed this segment several times and couldn’t figure it out. The quality of information and editing was just as good as the rest of the video and the pace seemed fine.
But when I actually listened to what was being said in this segment, I realised the advice we were giving in the final minute was probably 1 or 2 steps beyond where most of the audience was at.
It’s important to think about where the audience is at in their journey and whether you’re likely to overwhelm them with information.
That’s all for this week!
Send me some of your retention graphs (good or bad!) if you’d like to be featured in a future edition - email or Twitter!
You’ll basically get a free video review out of it and help other creators make better videos!
Now, this is me Getting Outta Here.
Thanks for the insights George! Very helpful