Measure audience retention

Audience retention is a measurement of how many people are still watching your video during your video playback. It also shows you when viewers stop watching.

Knowing when viewers interest is sustained or when they stop watching your video can give insight into areas of your video that are working well, as well as opportunities for improvement.

You can view audience retention data at 2 levels:

  • Channel-level: Here you can compare audience retention performance among your recently published videos. This can be found on the Engagement tab of YouTube Analytics.
  • Video-level: Here you can dive deeper into one video’s audience retention data. This can be found on the Overview and Engagement tabs of YouTube Analytics.

See your video’s audience retention

The audience retention report is available at the channel level and video level of YouTube Analytics.

To see this report at the channel level:

  1. Sign in to YouTube Studio
  2. From the left menu, select Analytics.
  3. Select the Engagement tab and look for the Audience retention report.

To see this report at the video level:

  1. Sign in to YouTube Studio
  2. From the left menu, select Videos and choose a video.
  3. From the left menu, select Analytics.
  4. Select the Overview tab or the Engagement tab and look for the Audience retention report.

Understand audience retention

Knowing when viewers interest is sustained or when they stop watching your video can give insight into areas of your video that are working well, as well as opportunities for improvement.

There are 4 types of moments that may be highlighted on your audience retention card:

  • Intro: Intro tells you what percentage of your audience was still watching your video after the first 30 seconds. It helps you to understand how well your video hooked viewers in.
  • Continuous Segments: These are moments in your video where almost no one dropped off while watching.
  • Spikes: Spikes are moments in your video that were either re-watched or moments that users skipped to.
  • Dips: Dips highlight moments in your video that were either skipped or moments where users stopped watching your video completely.
Note that your video may not have all these moments; they are only highlighted if they are detected in a video.

The shape of the audience retention graph can tell you which parts of your video are most and least interesting to viewers.

When the line on the chart is flat, it means viewers are watching that part of your video from start to finish.
Gradual declines mean viewers are losing interest over time. All videos on YouTube generally taper off during the playback period.
Spikes appear when more viewers are watching, rewatching or sharing those parts of your video.
Dips mean viewers are abandoning or skipping at that specific part of your video.

Using audience retention to improve your channel

Knowing when viewers interest is sustained or when they stop watching your video can give insight into areas of your video that are working well, as well as opportunities for improvement.

Intros

A higher intro % is good because it could mean a few things:

  • The content in the first 30 seconds matched the user’s expectation of the video’s thumbnail and title.
  • The content was able to keep the audience engaged and interested to hear more.

Here are a few recommendations to improve your intro %:

  • Consider adjusting your video thumbnail and title to better reflect your video content.
  • Modify the first 30 seconds of your video and experiment with different styles to find one that will keep the audience engaged.

Continuous segments

Continuous segments provide a signal that the content segment was very compelling to users. A few improvements to consider based on continuous segments.
  • If the continuous segment is occurring in a later portion in the video, consider introducing the compelling content earlier in the video -  audience sizes typically decrease over the length of the video.
  • Consider creating newer content by expanding on the content from the continuous segment - given the continuous segment, there is potentially more interest to go deeper into that topic.

Spikes

Spikes are an irregular increase in retention - typically, this means that the audience watched that segment more than previous segments. But sometimes, spikes also appear when the content is not clear and the users had to rewatch a section. So, we suggest that you review the spikes to better understand reasons for an increase in retention.

Dips

Dips are an irregular decrease in retention - typically, this means that the audience watched that segment less than previous segments. We suggest that you review the dips to better understand why audiences lost interest in a particular segment.

View types of audience retention

At the video level, you can view different types of audience retention when you click on the “See More” button. Use the options above the graph to switch between the Audience retention and the Relative audience retention.

Audience retention

The audience retention curve shows the number of views for every moment of a video as a percentage of the total number of video views.

Tip: Pay close attention to the first 15 seconds of every video — that's when viewers are most likely to drop-off.

Relative audience retention

Use this report to see how your video compares to similar YouTube videos. Relative audience retention shows a video's ability to keep viewers compared to all YouTube videos of similar length.

When the graph is higher, it indicates how many more viewers kept watching your video for that timeframe compared to the same timeframe in other YouTube videos.

Note: Relative audience retention is based on world-wide data even if you've selected to see data for a specific location.

View audience retention by traffic type

If your video also serves as an ad, you can see a breakdown of audience retention by organic traffic, traffic from skippable video ads, and traffic from display ads. This information is available at the video level when you click on the “See More” button.

Learn best practices for keeping your audience watching

Organic traffic

These are views that are the direct result of user intention. For example, traffic is considered organic if a viewer takes an action like searching for a video, clicking on a suggested video, or browsing a channel.

Paid traffic

These are views that result from paid placement.

  • Skippable video ad: Views for ads that are auto-played before a video and that viewers can skip after five seconds.
  • Display ads: Views that resulted from a viewer clicking a display ad, including ads shown in search results or on other video watch pages.

Learn more about video ad formats in Google Ads for video.

Can’t see audience retention key moments for your video?

Please note that audience retention data typically takes 1-2 days to process.

If you don’t see any key moments highlighted on your video, it could be that your videos did not meet the criteria below:

  • Video should be at least 60s long.
  • Video should have at least 100 views.

If you don’t see audience retention data at the channel level, it could be that:

  • In the last 365 days, you have not published any videos - the channel level card only compares videos that have been published in the last year.
  • None of your videos from the last 365 days have any key moments.

Metrics to know

Average view duration Estimated average minutes watched per view for the selected video and date range.
Watch time (minutes) The amount of time that a viewer has watched a video. This gives you a sense of what content viewers actually watch (as opposed to videos that they click on and then abandon).
Was this helpful?
How can we improve it?