Improving Audience Retention Rate – Should You Bottom Line It or Share the Backstory?

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If your audience retention rate is low, meaning people are leaving your videos after just a short time without watching the entire video, you might have a problem with filling in too much fluff.

I have a tendency to riff and rant when I’m trying to make a point. My husband’s always telling me “land the plane, honey”. I just can’t help it. I like to fill in every single detail.

Backstory vs Bottom Line- How They Affect Audience Retention Rate

There’s definitely a time and place for sharing the backstory. For example, my video on Why I Quit Beachbody Coaching is by far my top video (with over 300k views) and the coordinating blog post has similar traffic. In the video, I share my experience as a former Beachbody coach involved in multi-level marketing.

The viewers who click on that video are prepared to listen to a story, a testimonial, etc. They are either involved in, or are considering joining Beachbody as a side hustle or business opportunity and want to hear from someone who’s lived it and experienced it (whether good or bad).

The average audience retention rate on that video is 5 minutes and 46 seconds (of the 12 minute video), so nearly 50% watch time.

Other videos on my channel offer tutorials, and I’ve noticed that people tend to drop off when I start to go off-script or share too much personal “filler” information, or backstory.

Nate at ChannelMakers has a video about why some YouTube Shorts fail and others succeed in which Jim from The Income School breaks down audience retention. What piqued my interest was that this is relevant for all videos on your channel and not just YouTube shorts. It’s also relevant to bloggers!

You can go into your analytics and see exactly where some people are dropping off. The spots where there are huge dips are where more people decided to “dip out” and leave your video.

audience retention rate dips on youtube analytics

You might notice a pattern of dropoffs, so those are key things to work on with regards to audience retention. Watch this video to see what I mean.

As I began to look into my own analytics, I realized that more viewers were clicking off of my video when I was adding more of the backstory instead of getting down to business and sharing the bottom line.

Now, of course, you need to share everything relevant, but your audience is looking for solutions to X,Y, or Z, and they don’t want to have to sift through, or wait, for the answers.

What’s a Good Audience Retention Rate on Average?

Now a good audience retention rate is between 35-40% on average. Some videos and blog posts will do better while others might tank. Don’t be discouraged if, after analyzing your own channel or blog, you realize you’ve got some work to do. We all started out from zero and are working to improve our audience experience and grow from scratch.

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