YouTube engagement is crucial to your channel’s success. When you do it right way, you build an authentic and strong relationship with your viewers and community at large. They’ll realize that they can rely on you for great content that informs and delights them—and they’ll reward you for it by returning and converting. When you do it wrong, you’ll leave your audience frustrated and dissatisfied. You’ll also watch the ROI for any of your YouTube campaigns tank—something to avoid at all costs. Here are top 5 best tips that help to increase your YouTube engagement numbers.
What is YouTube engagement?
YouTube engagement is when your audience takes an action on your YouTube page or on one of your YouTube videos.
The most important actions are:
- Comments. These can reveal when a video emotionally resonates with viewers, which can be good or bad depending on the sentiment of those comments.
- Likes and dislikes. Shows whether or not viewers enjoyed your video. It can also reveal whether a type of video or content direction is resonating with your audience (or not).
- Shares. This shows how often and where your viewers shared the video. Shares can occur across a variety of social platforms (Facebook, Twitter, etc) or via messenger platforms (email, WhatsApp, etc). They are arguably the most important metric for YouTube engagement because they show that your video was engaging enough for people to want to encourage others to watch it.
- Subscribers gained and lost. YouTube also allows creators to dive into whether a video resulted in attracting new followers, or turning off current followers (enough to unsubscribe). This metric is the clearest indicator of the quality of a video.
Creators should always keep an eye on their YouTube analytics to get the most out of their YouTube channel. All of the data can help inform your channel’s growth strategy.
How to calculate your YouTube engagement rate
As business expert Peter Drucker once said: If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.
With the right formula, you can calculate your YouTube engagement rate to great effect. One of the most common ways to do so is to measure your engagement rate by reach (ERR).
This is the percentage of viewers who interacted with your video or other content after seeing it.
First, use the following formula across multiple posts (we recommend at least 5):
ERR = total engagements per post / reach per post * 100
Then determine the average by adding up all the ERRs from the posts you want to average, and dividing by the number of posts:
Average ERR = Total ERR / Total posts
Voila! You just calculated your YouTube engagement rate. The ERR can give you a solid idea of how engaging your videos are across all audiences (not just your viewers).
5 tips for increasing YouTube engagement
Let’s explore the very best practices for increasing YouTube engagement. Try some—or all—of them to see what works for your brand.
1. Nail the thumbnail
Your video’s thumbnail is arguably the key determining factor in a viewer’s decision to watch your content, especially if they are on their phone.
Along with the title, it’s the first thing viewers see when they browse for videos.
And it’s not enough just to pick an interesting shot from your video and use it.
Unless it’s VERY interesting of course.
You should customize your thumbnails to make sure there’s a clear, strong image that tells potential viewers about your video while drawing them in.
In fact, 90% of YouTube’s best-performing videos have custom thumbnails.
A few tips to create great thumbnails:
If you don’t have any super eye catching imagery in your video, add some text onto your thumbnail to grab your viewer. Think of it like a second title on your video. How can you leverage that space to really capture your viewers’ attention?
One YouTuber who has great thumbnails is The Film Theorists.
All of his thumbnails tell the viewer what they can expect from his video—but leaving just enough to entice them to click on the video to watch.
Also notice how the thumbnails are consistent. They each contain the same bold red font as well as his logo. This helps with branding, and can allow your viewers to instantly recognize your video from a list of other ones.
Use the rule of thirds
The rule of thirds is a basic principle in photography. It refers to the idea that the human eye is naturally drawn to four points in an image.
When you compose an image for your thumbnail, you’ll want to keep the most important aspect of it in one of those four points.
Of course, this isn’t a hard and fast rule. There are plenty of great examples of thumbnails that center their image. However, it is a solid rule-of-thumb if you’re looking for a way to compose your thumbnail.
Use the right tools
To create a great thumbnail, you’ll need thousands of dollars worth of fancy photo editing software as well as hundreds of hours of training to edit them…
…which is something I would say if creating thumbnails wasn’t incredibly easy.
In fact, there are plenty of great, free programs out there that’ll help you create beautiful images for social media.
One that we suggest is Canva. This is a web app to design graphics for almost anything from book covers, to logos, to infographics.
And, of course, you can create great thumbnails on there as well.
They actually have preset image sizes for YouTube as well as Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest. So you can easily design without worrying out the image specs.
It’s highly beginner friendly too, so no graphic design experience is required to create great thumbnails.