Watch time is an important ranking factor on YouTube, and knowing how to increase it is absolutely essential if you’re looking to monetize your videos.
So, how do you do it? Choosing the right music is a great way to make your content pop, and reign supreme in search. This guest post by music licensing platform, Lickd, will walk you through why music is vital for audience retention, and how to increase watch time with a killer soundtrack
What is Watch Time?
Watch time is the most important metric for measuring success on YouTube. Essentially, watch time means audience retention - the number of minutes and hours your content is watched by people on YouTube.
Video views reveal little about audience retention. Watch time helps you understand the kind of content viewers stay around to watch, as opposed to videos they click on and then desert.
Why is it so Important?
Put it this way: a catchy title and clickbaity thumbnail might pique the interest of a viewer. But if the quality of the video doesn’t match up to their expectations, you’ll quickly see thumbs scrolling away from your content.
The watch time metric is used by YouTube to identify videos people have actually engaged with. The platform analyses watch time to inform its search and discovery algorithm, so it’s absolutely crucial that you get it right.
It boils down to a ‘You scratch my back, I'll scratch yours’ philosophy. The more watch time YouTube gets from its users, the more ads they can sell - resulting in more money for you, the Creator. If your videos generate impressive watch times, YouTube repays the favor by showing your content to more people.
Hitting the Mark
The YouTube Partner Program (YPP) requires your channel to have at least 4,000 watch hours in the last 12 months, plus 1,000 subscribers. Once you’ve reached this quota, you can apply for the partner program and start making money from your ads.
Reaching the limit can be a hard slog, leading many Creators to think more laterally about how to get there. This is where music comes in.
Music is the Answer
Let’s talk about why music is so important for audience retention.
Cast your ears back to Apple’s iconic campaigns, which used chart hits to elevate the brand, beyond the computer products they were known for.
Think about your favorite movie scenes, would you be as engaged in the action without the killer soundtrack?
And think about Tik-Tok, a platform so successful and so reliant on trending tracks to grab people’s attention.
Music creates emotions. It’s a powerful psychological tool, and essential for YouTube engagement.
The right track helps you to connect with your subscribers in a meaningful way. Choosing a real, recognizable song taps into your viewer’s positive connotations with the music. And, if it’s one your audience knows and loves, they’re more likely to hang around.
This is called recognition value, and it’s virtually impossible to achieve with stock ‘filler’ music.
How to Create a Killer Playlist
Music provides all sorts of moods and emotions that can be used to different effect. You could set the mood for your travel vlog with an inspirational indie track, or power-up your workout video with an energetic dance tune. Think about what kind of video you’re creating, and how you can use music to enhance the experience.
In need of some audio inspiration? Check out some of Lickd’s most popular playlists like The Gaming Lounge, Home Workout, Talkover Tracks and Yoga & Meditation. Packed with epic tracks, it’s an easy way to find music for your videos - and to create genuine engagement with your audience in the process.
Next, think about music intros and outros, and how you can use these to mirror the narrative of your video. Think of these as the opening or closing credits of your video - they’re often coupled with text, animation, or clickable links - and help the audience know exactly what’s happening on-screen.
How the Pros Do It
YouTube Vlogger Joe Weller (5.4m subs) uses licensed music from Lickd to get amazing results. In a recent video, the YT star optimized his video with a playlist of tracks from Lickd - including intro and outro music.
Using chart music helped Joe to really elevate his video, helping it reach 845,851 views. How do we know? Simple. From the YouTube comments:
“The music I've used in this vid is in the description 💥💥 couple nice bangers” - 4.4k likes, 175 replies.
“The fact you used licensed music just took this vid to a whole other level” - 352 likes, 10 replies.
That’s why real, licensed music is essential for engagement. YouTube is the world’s second-largest search engine, and it can be a crowded place. These days, it’s more important than ever to choose the right background music for your videos. Here’s a free track on us to get you started.