Awhile back, YouTube made a change to their algorithm to favor watch time, which means the longer you can keep viewers tuned in to your videos, the higher they will rank in search. This doesn't mean making lots of long-form videos of 15 minutes or more (although if you can make compelling long-form videos that people will watch all the way through every time, that works too); watch time is just the length of time your videos keep a viewer on the site. One way to do this is through playlists, and by linking to playlists instead of specific videos.
Increasing Watch Time with Links to Playlists, Using Analytics to Measure Their Success
One way to increase watch time is, instead of linking to a specific video at the end of one of your videos, link to a themed playlist. Typically, you may have a "video preview" at the end of the video that a viewer will click to watch one specific video. Instead, use that same video preview to link to content inside of a playlist, using a playlist URL. When a viewer clicks on that, they'll be taken to the playlist player interface:
If this content is useful or entertaining, viewers will just stay and watch, which will help with search or "suggested videos" or wherever videos are pushed by YouTube.
Now how can you figure out whether this is working? You can go to YouTube Analytics:
- Go to "Views Reports"
- Click on Views
- Go to the pull-down menu "Compare Metric"
- Click "Unique Cookies."
If you see that viewers are watching more videos per session, that's an indication that a playlist strategy is working.
Do you have any other ideas to increase watch time? Let us know in the comments below or come to the YouTube watch page and share your techniques!