When you’re starting a YouTube channel, there are plenty of things you need to be thinking about. While subscribers and views are massively important, there’s perhaps one metric you need to be paying attention to more than any other: viewer engagement.
Out of all the video analytics on YouTube you can analyze, your YouTube engagement rate is essential. It’s a simple equation: if you’re not creating engaging content, you’re not able to grow. The higher your YouTube engagement is, the more committed and invested your audience is in your YouTube channel – it’s this engagement that will build a relationship with your audience and pave the way to success. The question is, what is it exactly, and how do you calculate it? Furthermore, how can you improve your YouTube engagement? We’ve got all the answers for you below.
How YouTube engagement is calculated
First of all, to calculate engagement on YouTube, you’ll want to gather your data using a few key metrics. These are:
- Subscriber count
The math is very simple here. You take the combined number of engagements (that’s your comments, shares and likes/dislikes), divide it by the number of subscribers you have and multiply all of this by 100. Check out the image below to visualize it:
So, for example, if I have a combined interaction total of 354, I divide that by 8652 subscribers and then multiply by 100. That leaves me with a YouTube engagement rate of 4.09%. Check it out on your own channel.
8 tips for improving your YouTube engagement rate
So, now that you know what it is and how to calculate it, you can start to look at how to improve your YouTube engagement rate. No matter what numbers you’re getting, there’s always room for improvement in the creator economy. The higher that YouTube engagement rate is, the healthier your channel is.
1. Don’t be afraid to ask for interaction!
It can feel a bit needy or cringe when you first do it, but it’s totally normal – don’t be afraid to ask for some viewer engagement. In the same way that you ask people to subscribe, you should include questions to stoke conversation and increase comments. You should also encourage your audience to like and share your videos if they enjoy them. It may seem trivial, but the stats don’t lie – these calls to action can really make a difference. They can take people from being passive viewers to active community members.
2. Nurture your community
There are many types of content creators out there, but this one applies to all. You need to nurture your community. That means taking the time to actually connect with your audience. If they take the time to comment on your video or message you on social media, you should acknowledge that. You should also take the time to reply and interact with them. This boosts engagement on YouTube because your audience feels like they can really connect with and relate to you. It encourages them to keep coming back to watch more videos and stick with you on your journey.
Additionally, you can get some beneficial insights and feedback from your audience about what they enjoy and what they want to see more of. This will no doubt help you grow your YouTube channel.
3. React to trends
You want to try and ensure that this isn’t clickbait (that will just turn people off or prevent them from clicking the video in the first place), but reacting to and creating videos around trends that are relevant to you and your channel can be a surefire way to improve engagement on YouTube. It’s simple, really. The more relevant and on-topic your videos are, the more likely the algorithm is to pick them up and place them in front of people, and the more likely people are to click and watch.
If the content is relevant, it can help tap into ongoing discussions and chatter online, boosting everything from likes to shares and comments.
4. Hone in on better thumbnails and SEO
The key for any video content creator out there is to create engaging thumbnails and to improve your YouTube SEO skills. You have to ask yourself: Why should viewers click on your video with almost unlimited content out there to watch?
You need to be creating YouTube thumbnails that really catch people’s attention – something that stops people from scrolling. Couple that with intriguing titles and utilize keywords that the algorithm will pick up and push to the right types of viewers.
5. Hold attention to your edits
Once you’ve got people watching, you need to hold their attention. One of the keys to a better YouTube engagement rate is going to be audience retention. The longer people watch, the more invested in your channel they’ll become. This will boost the chances of them feeling like they want to leave a comment or give the video a like and share it with their friends and family.
The trick is that because people have so many videos they could watch, you don’t want to bore them. There are literally YouTube-suggested videos right next to yours, tempting viewers to click away! In your edits, cut out all the unnecessary fluff and get straight to the point. Do not waste their time. To help with this, you can script your videos ahead of shooting to avoid any rambling.
Another effective way to boost viewer engagement is to collaborate with other YouTubers. You don’t want to force this, so pick another channel that’s similarly aligned to yours and feels natural – a collaboration where it feels like the audience members already overlap a lot.
This induces “cross-pollination,” where your audience is intrigued and decides to check out the other channel, while their audience is intrigued and comes to check out yours. If done right, it’s a very effective way to gain new viewers and subscribers, which in turn can help boost your engagement on YouTube.
7. Make YouTube Shorts
This is a new one, but it’s no less significant. It’s pretty clear that right now, the attention is all on short-form content. TikTok (the instigator), YouTube Shorts and IG Reels – everywhere you look, it’s short, vertical videos taking over. With a fiercely competitive space where every platform is fighting for your attention, YouTube is really investing a lot into YouTube Shorts. So if you want to grow your channel and increase viewer engagement, it may well be wise to do what YouTube wants you to do – start creating YouTube Shorts. The algorithm will hopefully reward this accordingly.
8. Go live
Figure out how to live stream on YouTube. Going live is a great way to further engage with your audience. It’s where you can all hang out for long, extended periods of time and really get to interact with your audience members on a deeper, more engaging level. It’s the under-utilized option in a trifecta of video types (live streams, Shorts and standard uploads).
In conclusion, we’ve covered what YouTube engagement is, why it’s critical and how to calculate it. Armed with this knowledge and these 8 key tips, you’re now well equipped to start boosting your YouTube engagement rate. Remember to be patient and persistent. You may not see results overnight, and like anything with YouTube, there’s a lot of experimentation and adapting involved. But sooner or later, you’ll start seeing that YouTube engagement rate climb, and that leads to success for your channel!