Joining the YouTube Partner Program (YPP) is something, every YouTube creator wants to achieve.
However, you will need to have at least 1000 subscribers, and 4000 watch hours to be eligible to join the YouTube Partner Program.
While, it is relatively easy to gain 1K subscribers on YouTube by uploading high-quality content, getting to 4K watch hours can be a challenge.
To help out YouTube creators, we’ve decided to simplify the process of increasing watch hours with a dedicated guide, featuring some of the best ways to increase watch hours on YouTube.
Unlock different strategies that can help you increase watch hours consistently with these tips:
What are Watch Hours on YouTube?
Watch time, or watch hours on YouTube refers to the total amount of time, in aggregate that viewers spend, watching your videos on YouTube.
Watch time was introduced in YouTube Analytics to measure the audience retention of creators.
It should also be noted that public watch hours are one of the main criteria for determining a YouTube creator’s entry into the YouTube Partner Program.
Only creators who have an aggregate of 4000 public watch hours on YouTube are eligible to apply for the YouTube monetization program - YPP.
Therefore, to get your content monetized, it is important that you continuously build an audience, and improve your watch hours consistently.
Now that you have an idea of watch hours, let’s take a look at some of the different ways you can improve your overall watch time on YouTube:
1. Create Playlists to Group Similar Videos Together
When it comes to audience retention, you want viewers to consume the maximum content from your channel, instead of just the video that brought them to your channel.
That’s where YouTube playlists help!
By adding playlists that are structured and feature similar videos, you instantly improve your overall chances of getting more eyes and discoverability to multiple videos.
People that find your video from their YouTube feed or YouTube Suggestions, are more likely to check out similar videos from your account.
To extract the maximum from your YouTube playlists, it is highly recommended to add related playlists on the end screen of every video you add.
Another major advantage of adding themed playlists on YouTube is that all videos in the playlist will auto-play one after the other.
Not only does this improve audience retention, but it will also prompt more users to subscribe.
That’s why it’s highly recommended to add themed, and structured playlists to all your videos on YouTube.
2. Make Use of Pop-Up Cards on Your Videos
YouTube allows creators to add clickable cards on all the videos before publishing.
You can add up to five cards to every YouTube video, and all cards can feature any video that’s available on YouTube. Ideally, you should be using your videos on cards.
All of these cards are clickable and pop up at the timeframe the creator decides before publishing.
Whenever someone clicks on a card, they will be redirected to the video featured on the card.
Creators on YouTube often underestimate the potential of this feature and end up not making full use of cards and end screens on their videos.
If you want to consistently improve your overall views, and engagement on your video, start adding cards to your YouTube videos today.
There are a few ways to use cards on your video!
However, the most effective way to use cards on YouTube is to use cards with videos that are related to the content or niche the video you are publishing is based on.
This instantly increases the chances of viewers clicking on the cards and redirecting to other videos.
You can also add playlists to your video cards, and this can further help you improve audience retention, as playlists can feature a whole set of your videos that can be viewed one, after the other.
3. Don’t Forget to Add End Screens to Your Videos
YouTube allows creators to add end screens at the end of a video.
End screens are placeholders for videos that are displayed towards the end of the video. Creators can have any videos on YouTube, displayed on the end screen.
Whenever someone clicks on any of the end screens, they will be redirected to the video.
End screens are good to improve your audience retention, as any viewer that comes across the end of your video will have multiple options to choose from.
You can add up to 4 elements on your YouTube end screen, and this can even be four different videos. Simply add an end screen towards the last 20-30 seconds when you edit the video.
There are plenty of end screen templates available for free download from different websites.
Ideally, it is best to use videos that are related to the video you publish. You can also add playlists on your end screen.
4. Give Hints, and Add Mystery to Your YouTube Thumbnails
Thumbnails are the first impression your content on YouTube makes.
If they don’t convince someone to click and see what the video on YouTube is all about, you are never getting views, engagement, or audience retention.
That’s why having good thumbnails, that are consistent, match the content, and offer some clues into what the overall content is all about, can do wonders for a YouTube channel.
Learning how to do the perfect thumbnail can be time-consuming.
It will take time, and it is all about trial and error with different combinations before you find a perfect thumbnail that works.
Coming to thumbnails, another important thing for every creator to keep in mind, is to not use clickbait thumbnails or thumbnails that have no connection to your video.
While it may bring some views as people are not sure about what the content is, they won’t stay around, and this will affect the growth of your channel due to very low audience retention.
Always create thumbnails that have text, elements, and content that match what your overall video content is all about!
5. Use Titles That are Simple, Optimized, and Straight to the Point
YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world and a very good one at that.
Even though YouTube is primarily focused on videos, search engine optimization still matters. That’s why you need to spend some time improving your SEO score for all the videos you post.
Titles are key to directing traffic to your content on YouTube, and that’s why you need to make sure that you spend time, doing keyword research and implementing the same.
A good idea to optimize your video content for search is to think like a viewer.
Make sure that keywords that viewers are more likely to search for are included in your video’s title. Try to include long tail keywords as they are relatively easy to rank on YouTube.
Also, spend some time going through your competition to see what they are doing, and what keywords they are using to optimize their video titles.
What’s the most important thing about adding titles to YouTube videos is to make them simple, and straightforward.
If you are doing a video about a day in your life, make sure that you include a day in your life somewhere in the title.
A viewer who searches for a day in your life will come across your video in their search results.
If you have a thumbnail on point, a straightforward title, and good use of keywords in the title, and description, chances are they will click on your video.
Here are a Few More Tips to Improve Your Watch Hours
- Keep tabs on YouTube Analytics, and double up on content that has the most audience retention. You can check audience retention from the audience tab in YouTube Analytics.
- Give priority to quantity over quality to improve your watch hours. The easiest way to increase watch hours is to increase the number of videos on your YouTube channel, all the time.
- Create content that does not have seasonal or time-restricted reach. This way, your video will continue to bring in an unlimited number of new visitors.
- Consider going live on YouTube and interacting with your subscribers. This will significantly increase your watch hours as more people will tune into a live stream, than a regular upload.
- Do trending videos in your niche, as these are topics that will usually have the biggest audience. Your audience retention will increase as more people come across your content.