With more than 2 billion active users – or nearly a third of the world’s internet audience – YouTube has become a major platform used in most video marketing strategies.
However, as one of the largest online platforms, YouTube is also one of the most competitive for brands. For every YouTube channel related to a particular industry, there are a handful of others producing similar content.
To stand out from the tough competition from YouTube, you need to regularly create content that will grab your viewers’ attention and keep them busy.
When viewers break away from your YouTube videos, they’ll click out of them before the end and find better content from another channel.
Before you start producing any content, ask yourself, “Why are consumers clicking outside of YouTube videos?”
To help video marketers answer the above question, I used Lucid software to ask nearly 300 consumers why they are breaking away from YouTube videos.
Why Consumers Click Out of YouTube Videos
After you’ve taken the time to film, edit, upload, and optimize videos, it can be frustrating to see a heavy viewer dropout before the content ends. Not only can this trend hurt your YouTube engagement metrics, but it’s also a sign that you’re wasting valuable time and money creating content that people won’t even finish.
While higher dropoff rates are often a sign of content being disabled, it’s important to note that sometimes video exits aren’t the fault of the creator.
When I asked consumers, “Why do you most often click out of YouTube videos before they end?”, Over a third of respondents, or 36%, said they opted out because “too many ads” were in front of or in the Middle are switched by videos.
Below we will dive into the top answer like the one above to help you achieve the most engaging YouTube video experience.
1. Too many ads appear before or during videos.
While some creators can’t do much about ad placement at the beginning and end of their YouTube videos, mid-roll ads, which appear by default on videos that are eight minutes or longer, can be turned off in your YouTube settings.
When trying to monetize your content by enabling more mid-roll YouTube ads, it’s a good idea to weigh the pros and cons of this type of ad. While you may be making more money on your content, that ad placement can also be a major point of friction that will cause your viewers to click out of your video.
Additionally, if you choose to include mid-roll ads, you should take steps to ensure that your video is intriguing, valuable, or exciting enough that the viewer can continue to see it even after a brief commercial break.
Read on to help you create engaging videos that are less prone to ad-related dropoffs to determine the content-related reasons people click on YouTube content.
2. Videos are not entertaining or attention grabbing
While 18% of respondents turn off videos that they “don’t entertain”, 17% click on content that doesn’t “get and hold” their attention. While respondents’ need for entertainment coincides with YouTube’s research that consumers watch videos to relax or get away from it all, the need for attention-grabbing content is in line with myriad video and social media data.
While most viewers don’t expect B2C or B2B branded content to be as entertaining as videos from musicians, television studios, or influencers, you should still try video storytelling approaches that put your viewers in an action-packed, intriguing, or funny scene around them get them to invest their attention. Once you’ve embed them, you can keep adding interesting information or scenes to your content so it’ll keep showing up.
But how can you entertain and intrigue your audience while highlighting the selling points of your brand, product, or service? Here’s a great example of a brand that is doing this incredibly well.
In this episode of Purple’s video series “The Purple Boys”, two simulated talk show hosts, played by comedians Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim, tell an overdramatic story about the “Sunday Scaries”.
The video starts with Heidecker waking up in his host chair. Then he suddenly starts screaming because of the Sunday fears – or because of the stress that can be felt on Sunday before the start of a work week.
As the video progresses, viewers learn what the Sunday Scaries are, hear a man tell his story, and learn how the purple mattress helped him sleep through the stresses and strains of the week ahead. To avoid dull moments, the editors added weird sound and visual effects to portray what the Sunday Scaries feel like.
This is a great example of how a brand uses video to tell a fascinating, dramatic, yet understandable story related to a general consumer’s pain point. At the same time, Purple’s video explains how the product can help. Not only will this content keep viewers watching, but it can also make them remember the Purple brand the next time they need a sleeping accessory or mattress.
3. Videos are too long.
Even when you have great content, sometimes viewers can only pay attention for so long – especially on a fast-paced platform like YouTube. For this reason, almost 10% of the respondents stated the length of time it took to turn off a YouTube video.
While some people watch videos during a work break, others may watch on their smartphones during a daily commute. That being said, research shows that each new generation has seen a slightly shorter attention span when it comes to online content.
If you feel like you are creating really compelling content but are seeing the viewer drop off, make a note of when most of the viewers turn off your videos.
If viewers are regularly dropping off at about the same minute for each video, then you should adjust your strategy to create shorter, more accurate videos. You can also find some helpful guidelines in this blog post.
Create engaging long form YouTube videos
While length may be the cause of videos dropping out, the small segment of consumers they cited shouldn’t stop you from reviewing long-form content. Although the above data suggests that some consumers dislike long video content, data straight from YouTube shows that certain age groups like Gen-Z are watching more long-form content on the platform than in previous years.
In addition, a number of successful brands, including HubSpot, regularly offer long-form content on platforms such as YouTube,
If you want to consume long-form content but still want to worry about filing videos, put the most valuable information at the beginning of the video – or give viewers a taste of what they will see if they keep watching. That way, when viewers don’t have time to watch your entire video, they can see your expertise in action and have a motive to come back later when they need to take a break.
An example of a brand that knows how to draw viewers into the action of a long-form video and then hold their attention is Patagonia.
For example, Patagonia’s 27-minute documentary begins with clips of a climber in action and a brief narration from him: “As a veteran, you feel like I’ve really closed that void and can see what nature is telling me I can see the characters around read me around. ‘”
Suddenly, after the hiker’s first narration, you see an intense clip – recorded from his perspective – in which he screams as he gets caught in an avalanche.
When the screen goes black and viewers see the title of the film along with “Full Film Starts Now”, they find that they are only getting a glimpse of the action that they will see later.
Patagonia’s branded documentaries and video teasers are a great example of how a brand can get viewers to endure even the longest types of YouTube videos. When the video reopens, viewers will likely want to keep watching so they can hear the full story and get the context behind the intense scene they just saw.
4. Videos do not provide helpful information.
Although only 7% of respondents click mainly out of videos that do not provide helpful information, it is still important to call this out.
While consumers use YouTube to learn how to do something, engage in a hobby or interest, or learn more about their favorite influencers, others use it to get more information about companies or industries. In fact, YouTube research shows that consumers are increasingly using YouTube to learn about products, services, and brands.
No matter what type of content you create, you should provide valuable or educational information so that users feel like they are learning something new. If you do, viewers may watch your videos until the end, assuming they will continue to get valuable insights from you. Additionally, your viewers may also identify your brand as a thought leader to turn to in the future for more helpful videos.
Need an example of how you can offer valuable or educational information to viewers in a video?
Check out the following HubSpot video that highlights Instagram hacks for business. While the video serves as a detailed list of trending social platform tips, it of course also mentions one of HubSpot’s free Instagram templates:
5. Other reasons people click from YouTube videos.
While 8% of consumers said “Other”, 3% said “The videos felt overly promoted” and 2% said “The content does not match the video’s headings or descriptions.”
Watch the YouTube viewers
While you may not have been shocked by some of the above answers, they reiterate that video marketers need to take additional steps to motivate their viewers while promoting their brand. While you might like to believe that advertisements or high-promotional videos are the best way to sell products, they may not result in high engagement or growth in YouTube audience.
When creating your next video, keep the following tips in mind to avoid wasting too much:
- Engage your audience: Start with interesting information or an attention-grabbing scene, or tease viewers about what’s to come.
- Specify value: Make sure to provide interesting information, educational dialogues, or action points throughout the video as well as at the beginning to keep viewers motivated.
- Do not draw things out: If you can get your point across precisely in a short period of time, opt for a shorter instead of a longer video.
For more information on how to be successful on YouTube, check out this latest study or this ultimate guide. You can also click below to download a helpful free resource.