How to Maximise Your Video’s ROI by Improving Viewer Engagement

Engagement metrics measure your ability to captivate your audience and keep them glued to your videos, but it’s an often overlooked part of video marketing.

In this post we’ll take a look at what engagement actually means, how to measure it accurately, and actionable tips for improving it…

What Does Engagement Mean?

First off, when we talk about engagement, we’re generally referring to two things; either the average video view time or the percentage of people that make it to the end of your video.

Cats watching tv

You can’t get more engaged than cats watching cat videos

Engagement is Useful

Engagement tells a useful part of the story of your video’s effectiveness. Not only do you want to know at what points in your video people are switching off, so you can prevent the same from happening in your other videos, but you also want to know people are seeing your message and calls to action.

So How Do I Measure Engagement?

Most major hosting providers have ways of measuring your engagement metrics, these can be found in the analytics / stats section of your account.


To find the relevant metrics in YouTube you will have to go to the Creator Studio, then Analytics and Audience Retention.

Here you can find some overall stats about your videos and see retention rates of individual videos so you know which parts are causing people to leave.

Youtube audience retention



Vimeo doesn’t let you see the drop out rates for different parts of the video like YouTube does, however, if you go to the “plays vs loads vs finishes” section of your stats you can see how many people hit play and how many of those got to the end.


In the Wistia stats section you can find what they call an engagement graph, which is similar to YouTube’s retention graphs.

The main difference between YouTube and Wistia’s graph is that when someone re-watches a part of the video, YouTube shows it as an increase in retention and Wistia shows it as a separate part in red.

Wistia engagement graph


How to Improve Your Engagement Rates

So now you know how to track you engagement rates it’s time to look at making them better.

Here are a few things you can do to boost your engagement rates…

Grab Attention Early

This is definitely the most important point. The largest drop in views comes soon after people hit play. Once people have decided to stay around past the first five percent of your video they are much more likely to stay around for the whole thing.

This is especially true the longer the video is.

Wistia Length matters graph


So your job is to make sure they get past that first hurdle, start with something that will keep your audience’s attention long enough for them to be committed to your video.

At the beginning of your video mention a bonus or an offer that you’ll let people know about at the end, or make sure you clearly explain what your viewers will gain from watching your video – these are good ways of capturing their attention right away.

Thumbnail & Metadata

Having an interesting thumbnail not only increases the amount your video gets clicked but it also increases the length of time that people stay on your video by up to 154%.

But one of the most important things you can do is to make sure that your thumbnail and all of your metadata is consistent with what your video actually contains.

You won’t gain anything by enticing people with an interesting thumbnail that has nothing to do with your video, people will just go away after they’re disappointed.

Shorter is Better

Wistia have written an excellent article about how the length of your video affects how many people watch it – check it out here.

The TL;DR is that the longer your video is, the fewer people stay around to the end, this effect is larger for shorter videos but flattens out so that there isn’t much difference between a 4 min and a 10 min video in terms of engagement.

Essentially, one quick way of increasing the number of people who watch your videos is to make sure they are short, easily digestible clips.Wistia length matters graph 2


Extra point – informational / educational videos won’t suffer from being longer as people often prefer more in depth information from these types of videos. People often won’t watch a video if they are looking for a lot of information and they see that the video is only one minute long.

Give People a Preview

At the beginning of your video let people know what is coming up. Knowing that you’re going to get to what the viewer wants to see will stop people from going away because they believe the video isn’t relevant to what they are looking for.

Of course this can’t be used on all types of video. This is mainly useful for videos which consist of people talking directly to the audience.


Summing it up

So to make sure you’re getting the most out of your videos – just remember the following steps:

  1. Review your video analytics to determine drop off points and engagement performance.
  2. Grab attention early on
  3. Make sure your thumbnails and metadata are interesting and relevant
  4. Keep it short and sweet
  5. Let people know what’s coming up in the video and why they should stick around


If you do all these, you’ll be well on your way to creating engaging, quality videos that keep your viewers sticking around until the end.

If you have a tip you think we’ve missed, let us know in the comments and we’ll do our best to include it.

image credits –,,

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