As years go by and technologies evolve, one thing has remained the same – our desire to consume digital entertainment.
YouTube now serves about 1 billion hours of fresh content per day, which positions it as the leading platform for video, with Facebook coming in second at 100 million hours.
Since YouTube’s launch back in 2005, there have been many shifts in consumer trends that directly affect performance and revenue on the platform. Because videos are accessible by users across multiple devices, it’s always good to investigate where your viewers are watching from and how long they are staying tuned in. The more you know there, the better you can adapt to enhance the viewing experience for everyone. This can all be tracked and analyzed in your YouTube Analytics. Below we’ve outlined the importance of mobile consumption as well as the other top 2 sources of viewership typically seen on channels (regardless of content type). We’ve also outlined some insider tips on how to use YouTube resources to help increase engagement and retention so that you can put your best foot forward.
Mobile: The new black.
We have become accustomed to having instant access to content regardless of where we are. According to ComScore, about 70% of all views on YouTube come from mobile devices. This has in part led YouTube to adapt to advertiser needs and viewer trends to create its own mobile-friendly “pre-roll” ad format called Bumper Ads; a 6 second ad that aims to discourage viewer drop-off, while simultaneously allowing advertisers to get their message out.
Additionally, more than half of the individuals on the planet own their own mobile devices and YouTube has taken notice. New features that work on all devices (especially mobile) have now been introduced to help content creators engage their audience on devices outside of traditional desktop (e.g. End Screens replacing the now-deprecated annotations). Linking to more content, playlists and retailers has never been more important.
Want to track a video’s performance on the go? No problem. A mobile version of the YouTube Analytics app within YouTube Studio provides channel owners with a simplified analytics tool to help highlight key milestones and actionable data, like tracking audience retention rate and percentage watched on your newest video upload and other stats, while also allowing you to make comments to your most popular uploads. It is important to consider these metrics so you can adjust your video production line and make tweaks along the way to keep viewers engaged accordingly. For instance, if you’re noticing viewers tuning out quickly around the 1 minute mark, reevaluate what is happening in the first minute and make edits. Your audience will tell you when you’re doing something right or wrong. We do know that mobile retention is not typically as long as desktop comparatively, so try creating slightly shorter content to match your audience’s attention span.
Desktop: The classic.
Up until 2016, desktop consumption was the leader of the pack in terms of viewer engagement, until mobile slowly traded places with it over the course of that year. Though not quite as popular as mobile anymore, it is still an important method of consumption and should not be overlooked. Desktop still remains the most practical place to view links, convert direct-to-consumer purchases, edit video descriptions, and navigate multiple YouTube viewing windows at once.
TV: On the horizon.
We are currently smack dab in the beginning phases of viewers branching out to new devices for YouTube video consumption, which we might expect to grow dramatically in the next few years. Smart TVs are big business nowadays, which came with the rise of popular on-demand streaming platforms like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime. The recent integration of YouTube TV into Roku is also a significant sign that YouTube knows where the audience might be heading. Broadcasting YouTube on Smart TVs will become more prevalent in the coming years and may contribute in a few interesting ways. Because of the impracticality of typing on your TV’s search (letter-by-letter with a small remote), audience retention may be higher, as users tend to rely on the suggested search feature or playlists to set a mood and not need to engage further. It is important that you optimize your channels and videos to their maximum potential to increase the odds of appearing first during search, since suggestion is the main way your videos get discovered and seen. You can do this by making sure your video titles, descriptions and tags are strong and properly included in your uploads.
YouTube is a constantly expanding platform, that will be relevant in any consumption market. Make it a priority to dig into your channel’s analytics to find out on which of the top 3 sources your viewers are consuming content so you can customize your strategy. You’ll be glad you did!