🔎 70% retention after 7 minutes (Retention Review #3)
Discussing the flexible rules of YouTube retention.
As we know, improving retention on YouTube is a neverending game with extremely flexible rules.
How you try and fix retention depends on your niche, your audience, and your goals.
One video I reviewed this week had a 33% dropoff within 30s and had lost 66% of the audience by around halfway… yet this creator consistently ranks top of search within their niche and pulls in hundreds of thousands of views.
Another had over 70% retention after 7mins, yet ignored almost every “rule” I’d provided in previous weeks.
What works for one niche won’t always work for yours.
So let’s talk about these videos…
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1 - Victim of its own success?
Title: TOP 20 BEST NEW SEEDS For MINECRAFT 1.19! (Minecraft Bedrock Edition Seeds)
Creator: Minecraft & Chill
Average % viewed: 27.1%
To my mind, this video is exactly what it needs to be.
Neatly written with a nice turn of phrase.
Deliberately calm where other creators in this niche shout in your face.
I feel relaxed as I watch it.
The curve is naturally going to be a little spikey with a top-20 video because people click around to find what they want. Nonetheless, there’s still a problem with retention during the hook.
Here are some suggestions based on things I saw other creators in this niche doing.
You could include your face for short periods.
While keeping that calming tone of voice, you could try being a little more energetic during the first 10s, or use slightly more bombastic language.
I noticed all the videos on this channel start with a slightly passive “imagine if your Minecraft world had…” - maybe this could be traded out for a more active “these ARE the 20 best Minecraft worlds…”
Don’t open with your least interesting example.
I felt the first seed example wasn’t particularly exciting, especially compared to the footage we’ve been shown of what’s to come - this could have had people skipping ahead to more interesting seeds.
Ultimately, a video like this might be a victim of its own success. The very point of it is for people to watch, find a seed they like, and then take it away to go play the game. It’s still ranking high in search so I wouldn’t worry too much.
2 - A Little Less Repetition… 🕺
Title: I Reached Round 100 With 0 Kills
Average % viewed: 53.7%
Problem: Repetition (kinda)
Sets up the premise brilliantly.
Gives all necessary context.
Cleverly foreshadows multiple events to come (1:00, 1:16, 1:37)
This is a great alternative to actually showing footage from later.
But there is a drop-off around 4:00.
This happens when the creator dies for the first time and loses the challenge.
To be honest, I enjoyed the comedy value in showing a montage of his apparent recovery only to see him immediately die again.
But I think this might have made the video feel like too much effort for the audience.
“We’ve gotta get through all 100 rounds again?”, they ask impatiently.
I noticed that on later deaths, he cut straight back to the same level of progress on his next try, so it didn’t feel like we were having to witness the same thing happening again. During these moments, retention seemed almost perfect.
The takeaway for me is that some people are super impatient, so finding the sweet spot between varying the pace with comedy and showing only new information is paramount.
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…
3 - Check out THIS retention curve
Title: I Got an Elite Clue from EVERY Wilderness Boss - Clue Scroll Only Ironman #102
Creator: Only Trails
Average % viewed: 64.1%
This video surprised me.
It starts with a title card that goes on for nearly 10s.
The creator is playing a game over 2 decades old.
He doesn’t explain what the video is about until after 30s.
But get a load of this retention graph 😍
Ignoring the dip during the sponsored segment, this video has:
80% after 30s.
70% after 7:30
65% after 14:30
My theory? It’s this:
Highly specific niche x Strong core idea x Time
People who come to watch these videos are not passing viewers - they’re a community.
The game is 21 years old, so those still playing are evidently hardcore fans and extremely dedicated.
The core idea of the series clearly resonates with the audience, because it’s the 102nd video in a playlist spanning four years. Evidently, they keep coming back for more.
Therefore, he’s had plenty of time to figure out what his audience wants and cater to it.
You only have to look at the comments to see the dedication to this series.
So while the answer “it just takes time” isn’t always nice to hear, videos like this show the compound effect of gradually refining your content to suit your audience over time - especially if that audience is niche.
That’s all for this week.
Thanks as always for sending your retention curves. If yours wasn’t featured this week, I promise I’ll get to it soon 😅
DM me on Twitter if you want me to review yours.
Have a lovely weekend!