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How to Increase Video Retention Rates with Storytelling [Video Influencer Interview]

Marketers want to hook their viewers! Simple right? But unfortunately for many marketers and ad creators, they can’t seem to get enough people to stick around to see their videos’ CTAs — let alone take action. Getting an audience to watch their videos until the very end can be hard to master. Still, to increase video retention rates (read: hold someone’s attention throughout a video) is a must.

Fear not! To stop people from abandoning your videos, we’re here to guide you toward keeping your audience glued to your content through storytelling genius-ness!

Powtoon’s Chief Evangelist, Renee Teeley, sat down with Video Creator founder and YouTube consultant, Tim Schmoyer, to lean into some of today’s best practices on the topic. Hint: It’s all about generating suspense through questions and conflict. Let’s get started!

Sweeten the Clickbait

It’s so important to consider the title and thumbnail your viewer will see before they even press play. These two factors may seem arbitrary, but they help set viewer expectations. With the power to choose which videos to watch on YouTube, you’ve got to set expectations high, and then be sure to follow through. The most important thing is to deliver that promise your title and thumbnail made within the first 15 seconds of the video.

If there’s a misalignment between the clickbait and the initial impressions of the video, you might be written off as untrustworthy and expect some serious drop off rates. Make sure that doesn’t happen to you! Tee-up those expectations and watch your viewers get hooked into the next stage of video retention.

Get to the Nitty-Gritty!

Once you’ve affirmed that value is coming, it’s time to get into the content. To keep viewers intrigued throughout the video, ask (or less explicitly, get the viewers to ask themselves) questions that will act as dangling carrots that guide them from segment to segment of your video’s content.

The eagerness to answer questions like, “What’s going to happen next? How does that work itself out? What else will I learn? How does the character/ video maker resolve that challenge?” is what will maximize that retention until the very last frame.

Create Conflict Through Stories

Speaking of characters and challenges, it’s best to think of your videos (be it for marketing, educating, or corporate training) as a story. Since our days as cavepeople, we’ve been hardwired for telling and listening to stories.

Turn your video into a storytelling experience by creating a hero to root for, a conflict they need to overcome, and a “The End”-worthy resolution. Do that, and you will increase the irresistibility of your video. Not only will you keep your viewers watching until the end slide, but they’ll be begging you for more.

One Last Nugget

You can’t talk about anything in marketing without measuring what worked and what didn’t. This is no less true when it comes to video retention. Take a look at your analytics. You can get these on YouTube if your video lives there. You want to track where viewers are dropping off, and see what words get people to leave your videos. Cut those words out to optimize your content. On the flip side, check to see if viewers are replaying certain parts of your video. Was there something you said that was unclear or so jaw-droppingly interesting that they had to watch it twice to let it truly sink in?

When it comes to viewer retention, the key is to catch them before the click, rope them in with suspenseful questions, and leave them hook-line-and-sinker with an applaud-provoking story. To learn more about how to win at the retention rate game, be sure to check out Episode 3 of the #MakeItAwesome Show where Renee Teeley gets even more insights from Tim Schmoyer (founder of Video Creators) on video retention.

Got any of your own tips for video retention? Let us know in the comments below or on YouTube. Last but not least, don’t forget to subscribe to Powtoon’s YouTube channel for more episodes of the #MakeItAwesome Show and more awesome content from the Powtoon team!

Stay Awesome!

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Shoshi joined Powtoon as a Marketing Assistant. To read more of her stuff, you can find her content on Upwork and Business 2 Community talking all things inbound marketing for SaaS. After only 2 weeks at Powtoon, Shoshi was dubbed by the marketing team as having the superpower of "Unbridled Enthusiasm". So that was pretty cool.

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