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9 Epic Strategies To Increase YouTube Watch Hours

Increasing the watchtime on your YouTube videos will help you grow your channel and even help you earn more money! But how do you keep your viewers engaged for longer periods? Find out with these 9 strategies to boost the watchtime on YouTube videos.
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9 Strategies To increase YouTube Watch Hours
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We all know that generating more views for your YouTube videos is important. But if you’re focusing solely on raising your view count, then you’re missing a key component of a growing, thriving YouTube channel: watchtime. 

Watchtime is the amount of time that your viewers spend playing your content. While it’s true that a user only needs to watch 30 seconds of your video to count it as a view, it’s also important that they watch more than that. In fact, your goal should be to persuade them to watch as much of your content as possible. 

In this article, we’ll explain the reasons why it’s important to boost the watchtime on YouTube videos, and we’ll also provide 9 strategies to help you do that as quickly and efficiently as possible!

Why Is Increasing Watchtime on Your YouTube Videos So Important?

There are two main reasons why increasing the watchtime on your YouTube channel content is critical to your future success. 

Let’s get into them!

Reason #1: Ranking

As you may know, YouTube utilizes a sophisticated algorithm to rank your videos in search results and Recommended lists. One of the many factors that the algorithm pays attention to when forming the ranking list is the amount of time that users have watched your videos.

The more watchtime you accumulate on a single video, the higher that video is likely to be ranked. The higher it ranks, the more likely you are to gain more views, likes, and comments from organic search traffic. You may even convert new subscribers! 

Thus, from a ranking perspective, boosting your watchtime is definitely an efficient organic growth strategy for your channel.

Reason #2: Monetization

YouTube’s Monetization Requirements

One of the requirements for YouTubers to become eligible for monetization opportunities (like Watch Page Ads, Shorts Feed Ads, Memberships, etc.) is to accumulate a certain number of valid public watch hours.

For example, if you primarily publish long-form content, then you’ll need to generate 4000 public watch hours (as well as 1000 subscribers) to take full advantage of the YouTube Partner Program (YPP). Alternatively, you can join a limited version of the YPP with only 3000 watch hours and 500 subscribers.

The faster you reach one of those milestones, the faster you’ll be able to earn money as a YouTube creator. With that new flow of revenue, you can invest more money in content creation and marketing and expand your brand to new levels of influence!

9 Strategies To Increase Time Spent Watching Your YouTube Content

Your journey to acquiring the watch hours that will help boost your ranking and earn more money is about to begin! Use these 9 strategies to get you started.

1. Buy YouTube Video Views

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First, let’s talk about an oft-used strategy among YouTube creators: buying YouTube video views

You may wonder why we included this, since we just got done explaining that generating views alone is not enough to truly grow and expand your channel. 

That’s still true! 

On the other hand, if you buy the right video views – that is, views from YouTube accounts that are operated by real human beings and sourced by a reputable online provider – you can actually accomplish two goals at once: boost your view count, and boost your watchtime, as well. 

For this strategy to work, it’s vital that you only purchase real views, not fake ones from bot accounts. The people behind those authentic engagements are more likely to watch the entire video, and there’s even a possibility that they will like or comment on your video, too. 

Bots provide none of those benefits. In fact, most of the time, their views don’t even count, which means their watchtime won’t count, either.

Buying real YouTube video views will also work best if you do it in tandem with the other 8 watchtime-boosting strategies on our list. By attacking your goals at multiple fronts, you’ll find it much easier to achieve them!

2. Cover Topics That Your Target Audience Wants To See

If your objective is to increase your YouTube video watchtime, then you can’t overlook the most important factor in your success: your target audience and what they want to see from your channel.

Many YouTubers try and fail to build followings and become popular because they can’t figure out what their target audience wants from them. Or, in some cases, they know what they want, but YouTubers often have specific visions for the type of content they want to create. They may not be able – or willing – to meet viewer demand. 

Truthfully, though, if you want to make YouTube your career and not merely a hobby or a creative outlet, then you must make an effort to appeal to your target audience. They are, after all, the group of people that is most likely to provide you with that precious watchtime you’re seeking.

To do that, create videos that cover topics that your viewers want to see. Brainstorm ideas by reading comments on your previous videos, posting polls on social media, and tracking trends in your content niche. You may even be able to find a happy medium between what you want and what your subscribers want.

3. Work Off a Script

One thing that drives viewers away from a YouTube channel are disorganized, poorly conceived videos. If your audience can’t find the point, plot, or hook of your video within the first 30 seconds, you may not even get a view out of them, much less high watchtime. 

That’s why we always recommend working off a script. A script will keep you on track throughout the entire video and ensure you don’t go rambling off into a tangent and lose your audience’s interest. It will also help you identify gaps or weaknesses in your video before you start filming, and give you a guideline to go by when editing. That way, the final product will always be tight, professional, and to the point.

If you’ve never written a video script before, there are templates you can search for online (like this one from Backlinko), as well as AI text processing tools that will generate scripts for you (like ChatGPT).

4. Film Using High-Quality Video Equipment

Another factor that the YouTube algorithm looks at when ranking videos on the platform is the quality. It’s important to upload videos that meet YouTube’s minimum quality requirements for that reason, but also to attract more viewers. Your audience will enjoy watching clear, crisp, steady footage far more than footage that is blurry, grainy, and wobbly.

To capture great-looking footage, look for a DSLR camera or a high-end smartphone like an iPhone or a Samsung Galaxy. Use a tripod or a gimbal to help you hold the camera steady. And don’t forget to invest in a microphone that will make your voice come through the video crystal clear. 

This is just the basic video equipment you’ll need to get started. As you increase your watchtime and your channel grows, you can invest in more and better equipment as needed to improve your craft.

5. Craft a Compelling Hook for Each Video Intro

Just as we’re drawn into a great hook by the first sentence, YouTube users are drawn into a great video by the first few seconds of footage. 

This beginning part of the video is called the intro, and it’s your job to craft a compelling hook for it. If you can convince your viewers in less than 30 seconds that this is one video they won’t want to miss, then you’ll all but guarantee their watchtime.

But how do you hook your audience, exactly? One idea is to tell them what your video is about and the interesting things that they will see or learn if they watch it to the end. If it’s a skit, then you should set an opening scene with props, backdrops, and lighting that are appropriate for the mood you’re trying to convey. 

Whatever you decide to put in your hook, remember to make it as compelling as possible, so that your viewers can’t help but be curious and keep watching!

6. Edit Out Awkward Pauses and Interruptions

What if you have a great script and a compelling hook, but you’re still not generating much watchtime? 

If that’s the case, then there could be a problem within the video that you haven’t noticed yet. But we guarantee that if you watch your footage from start to finish, you’ll catch on. 

Have you guessed the right answer yet? It’s all those awkward pauses and interruptions that you haven’t taken the time to edit out. 

Anytime you watch a video and the person speaking is doing things like saying, “Uh,” “Um,” or “Like” between sentences; going silent for several seconds at a time to collect their thoughts; or is being drowned out by other noises going on around them – those are all viewing deterrents. 

Your video could feature the most amazing footage in the world and have an airtight plot. But if the speaker (whether it’s you or someone else) is awkwardly pausing or getting interrupted throughout the video, that’s extremely annoying. Those things alone can cause someone to leave your channel. 

The good news is you can easily avoid this problem by eliminating all those issues during the video editing process. You can also practice not saying filler words like, “Uh” or “Um” as much as you can. That will help cut down on editing time.

7. Incorporate Copyright-Free Music 

Your audience may get bored with your video if there are long stretches of footage with no noise in the background. Incorporating copyright-free songs from Creator Music in the YouTube Studio is an easy solution to this problem. 

Just find a track (or multiple tracks) that match the mood and atmosphere of your content and place it in the quieter parts of your video to give your viewers something to listen to.

8. Segment Your Video with Timestamps

Some of your viewers may find your video by searching for a specific keyword or query that interests them. When that happens, they may click on your video and then look in the description section for clues that it covers the information they’re looking for. 

In the description section of your video, you can help your viewers find the information they seek – and simultaneously boost your watchtime – by adding links to timestamps. 

Timestamps indicate the specific minute and second in your video in which a new segment begins, such as the intro and outro. They’re common in how-to videos, where they show which parts of the video cover specific steps in a process.

Even though a viewer may not be interested in everything your video has to offer, they may still watch it if they see a segment in your timestamps that meets their needs. At the very least, they can click on that timestamp and watch that segment from start to finish, which is better than them clicking away altogether!

If you’re unfamiliar with timestamps and how to add them to your content, check out our article about How To Set Timestamps in YouTube Videos.

9. Create Playlists of Similar Videos

The last strategy on our list is so simple, yet it’s incredibly useful! 

To increase your watchtime, you need to make it as easy as possible for your viewers to watch more of your videos, right? 

All you have to do to make that happen is create playlists on your channel and group together your videos that are similar to one another. That way, if someone watches one of your videos and wants to see more content like that, they can click on the corresponding playlist and find hours’ worth of footage to pique their interest!

Frequently Asked Questions

Do YouTube Shorts Views Count as Watchtime?

YouTube Shorts views do not contribute toward your channel’s overall watchtime. Only your regular long-form videos do that.


Increasing the watchtime on your YouTube videos is a must for YouTubers who want to turn creating content on the video-sharing platform into a career. We hope that the above 9 strategies have inspired you to pursue your watchtime goals with fresh determination! 

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