The Power Of The YouTube 70/50 Rule

All the talk about Impressions and Click-Through-Rate can make our heads spin as YouTube creators. Still, once we get people to our video, we are now concerned about audience retention rates. Determining what is a good rate can be confusing and vary depending on length and type of video. Is there a more concrete way to judge if we are making good videos?


It’s called the 70/50 Rule. I use it to help me measure how much my audience enjoys my video. It’s derived from two concepts. The first, ‘70’, comes from Evan Carmichael - he’s obsessed with getting 70% of his visitors to watch the first minute of his video.

Evan’s philosophy is that if your viewer is willing to watch the first minute of your video, there is a greater chance that they will watch most, if not all, of your video. Evan has over 2 million subscribers so I’m all in on his recommendation. 

The ‘50’ comes from a few sources however, I like to give credit to the first person to drive the concept into my brain, Tim Schmoyer. He says that you should have 50% of your viewers watching until the end of your video.

It’s important to get people to click and watch your video but if they don’t make it to the end, there is less of a chance that they will hear your call to action, or click on an end screen to watch another video. If they watch more than one video, this means they actually like your channel content -  and a nice bonus is that YouTube notices too.

When you combine these concepts together, the power of the two statistics increases. The 70/50 Rule should be used as a guide to help you understand where you need to improve to make a better video and keep your audience happy and engaged. 

If your audience drops to 50% in the first minute, you know you need to work on your hook. Maybe you need to get the the point faster, or possibly change up the order of your videos.

It’s possible that only 10% of your audience will watch until the end of your video. If this is the case, identify where your audience drops off. It’s quite possible you are dragging out scenes or unconsciously giving signals that the video is about to end, even if it’s not. 

If you have trouble getting people to stay until the end of your video, try shortening your video.  If 50% of the viewers drop off by the 2 minute mark, try making 2-3 minute videos. As you learn to keep your audience’s attention, increase your average video length until you find your sweet spot.

You can certainly add additional metrics to the guide to continue to improve your videos. For example, Brian G. Johnson likes to focus on the first 10 seconds to hook your audience. Dane Golden focuses on converting 20% of his viewers who make it to the end of the video. Such rule additions could be the 10/70/50/20 rule! Well, that can get confusing. 

Bonus - you can use the TubeBuddy Retention Analyzer tool to help you keep track of which videos are meeting the mark.

However, before you go hyper technical on your retention, start with the 70/50 rule as a guide and improve your videos from that point.

Rosh Sillars

Rosh is the owner of Rosh Media a Google product focused marketing company based in Detroit Michigan. Rosh is the author of 4 books, podcaster, YouTuber and blogger. He’s also known to take a few photos too. 

Check out the Tube Labs Podcast

Follow him on Twitter @roshsillars

Comments (9) -

  • I hope my all videos can impeove
    • Just keep reviewing and making adjustments.
  • Except it's hard to improve your videos when pretty much no one comments on the video saying what they liked or didn't.
    Which makes improving almost impossible.
  • Hi Rosh
    I too heard that 50% of your audience to the end of the video from Tim S. And that my friend, is a very high bar indeed....a very high bar.
    I hadn't heard about the 70% rule, but I'll have a look.
    I would be interested to know if there are others here on post that have been anywhere near successful in getting 50% to the end of their video.
    I have an education channel.
    All the very best, Cheers RIck

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