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There are lots of topics regarding YouTube that do not get much exposure or coverage these days. Namely, these are things like getting more video views, adding more subscribers, and finding a lot of engaging content to add to your YouTube channel. All of these things are actually part of one bigger purpose that we call the Ranking Factor.

I have asked my good friend Gideon Shalwick, who is also certified by YouTube, to help discuss this topic in depth and highlight some ideas that will help improve the experiences for those content creators that want to gain more understanding about this.

Starting out, Gideon and I collaborated to find the best solutions and answers for our asking audience members. Since we both have been trained and certified by YouTube, some of the most essential basics are finding ways to develop audience growth. One of those include things that help you rank higher with your videos and getting found on YouTube in related video searches. Other key strategy areas to understand are session watch times. This became a great discussion and here are some helpful hints that will benefit everyone.

Session Watch Times

What exactly is Session Watch Time? This is the total time that someone stays on YouTube as they are watching a video, but also, Session Watch Time calculates other times that you spend watching different videos apart from the original one you were viewing on YouTube. This is the calculated total watch time. YouTube has key indicators that help them process this information into time results. They specifically look at whether your viewers finished their first video before moving on to another, along with the session time that was spent viewing for that specific user.

Another thing that is calculated into the session watch time formula is what viewers do after that original video. Do they watch 2 or 3 more videos or do they stay for 2 or 3 hours? Session Watch Times are what gives you, the content creator, more ability to rank higher. This is what they call ‘authority’ on YouTube, and that authority really cross pollinates with Google. You are able to see that with Google as well because once you release a video, it might rank really high on Google because you actually have that authority. YouTube knows it and so does Google. They know that you are going to get your session watch time because they already have the metrics of saying, “Hey, if the person comes in, they are more likely to watch more videos if they come through your channel.”

It’s good to look at this information in two ways:

  • First, think of why YouTube sees it this way. From their point of view, they really want people to be there and stay engaged for as long as possible. So, if you, as a user are able to increase the session time of your viewers, they are going to love you for it and also reward you by ranking your video better. If they are ranking your video better, then your video is what will be encouraging viewers to stay on YouTube longer.
  • Second, if people are staying longer on YouTube watching your video content, they will also click on more ads which make them more money.

So the great question here is how to increase Session Watch Time. This can be done by linking one or two videos at the end of your video with an annotation. Try this by linking a whole playlist. This encourages people to watch more than just the original video. People will continue to watch one video after another, eventually going to the whole playlist and stay engaged on your channel as well as on YouTube.

This is a very powerful technique, and one that YouTube teaches us to use. They also suggest doing this… instead of sharing the URL for that one specific video, share the playlist where that video is located. When they click on it your video is already in a playlist. This allows viewers to click on the annotations in the outro and actually go into another playlist. Basically, what they are wanting is to allow their viewers to see your video content the whole time along with the playlist content.

By doing this, you are being very strategic. And then by carefully planning out your playlist, you can make sure that content can flow to viewers… one right after another where viewers stay engaged with the things they are interested in. This actually ends up being two strategies in one. Here is why:

  • Watch times and session times are two different things.

Watch Time

Watch Time is a very important metric to help promote your videos on your YouTube channel. You want to make sure that your video is engaging and that people actually watch your video until the end where you call them to action to watch more videos. Remember this:

  • Watch time is more than just making a video. It is creating content that people will feel is worth watching as well as sharing your content with other viewers.
  • Other things to consider are releasing content on a set time or schedule which encourages viewers to tune in. Direct your content with annotations that makes it easier for viewers to keep watching your content.
  • Be tough on yourself and edit and re-edit your content until it is perfect. Everything you put out there will affect your Watch Time. Your video content must accurately represent your brand so always keep this in mind when promoting your brand.
  • Use your analytics to see which videos your viewers like most. This will ultimately help you create more of the same engaging content that builds your community and drives subscribers and loyal fans to your content.

That is the reason these two strategies work hand in hand. Why? If viewers drop off after only10 seconds of watching your video and leave YouTube, it is going to affect your ranking because the session times will be next to nothing. YouTube will know that your video content is not engaging and you will see your rankings fall quite drastically. Another great way to increase session time and watch time is by using YouTube Live… but that is another topic to discuss in the future.

Ultimately, we are all here to learn and grow together. It’s all about finding things that will add success to what we are doing. My friend Gideon and I have found our passions in life. We have been taught by the YouTube experts and learned through trial and error. Now it is our turn to share what we have learned with you to help you succeed as well.

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In this video, Derral Eves and Gideon Shalwick talk about one of the most important YouTube Video Ranking Factors – Session Watch Time. This will help you get more video views on YouTube.

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YouTube Video Ranking Factor: The Importance of YouTube Session Watch Time With Gideon Shalwick

Derral Eves

Derral Eves is executive producer of The Chosen, which is the first multi-season series about the life of Christ and the highest crowd-funded TV series or film project of all time. Derral's passions also include YouTube and video. He is one of the few in the world to be officially certified by YouTube in “Audience Growth”.

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Derral Eves

Derral Eves is executive producer of The Chosen, which is the first multi-season series about the life of Christ and the highest crowd-funded TV series or film project of all time. Derral's passions also include YouTube and video. He is one of the few in the world to be officially certified by YouTube in “Audience Growth”.

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