Audience Retention: Definition and Why It’s Important

Ed Pronley


March 8, 2022 (Updated: May 16, 2024)

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With every content marketing campaign, it’s important to make sure your blogs, articles, and videos provide helpful and informative pieces to your audience. But what happens when your readers or viewers don’t stick around long enough to learn it? Measuring audience retention and applying its data to your campaign can help you improve your marketing strategies and create more engaging content. Let’s find out why.

What Is Audience Retention?

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Audience retention is the measurement of how long someone engages with your content. Essentially, it shows how long a person reads, views, or listens to your content before they click away. Most often, marketers associate audience retention with video engagement. In fact, it’s one of the main analytics that YouTube measures for the content on its site. But audience retention is also important for other types of content, including podcasts, blogs, and articles. No matter what type of content your company produces, it’s important to make sure you’re keeping your audience’s attention and providing them with excellent information.

Why Is Audience Retention Important?

There are several reasons that audience retention is important for your content. Those reasons include:

Demonstrating Your Content’s Quality

Knowing how long someone views your content can inform you and search engines of the content’s quality. For instance, Google pays attention to how long someone stays on your webpage. If they click on your content, and then immediately click on the back button, Google notes that. That’s because it tells the search engine that the person didn’t find what they were looking for from your article or blog.

It works the same for YouTube videos. Though that shouldn’t come as a surprise, because Google owns YouTube. The point is, you don’t want someone to stop watching a five-minute video after 30 seconds. YouTube notices that and it will rank your video lower in its search results. But the opposite is also true. If enough people watch your video or read your blog from beginning to end, it has a better chance of ranking higher, which can positively affect quality leads to your site.

Pro tip: Regularly review your content to ensure you aren’t attracting visitors to outdated content. Old content can quickly turn them away and they may view your business as less trustworthy as a source for the information they need. Updated content is high-quality content.

Related: What Defines Quality Content?

Informing You About Your Target Audience

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Wouldn’t it be nice to know more about what your audience likes and doesn’t like? Look no further than your audience retention rate. If you notice everyone clicks away from your video after ten seconds, look at the ten-second mark. Is there a drop in audio or video quality? Does your video show something or talk about something that might turn your audience away? Seeing where your audience consistently leaves your content can help you understand them better and develop more engaging content in the future.

Pro tip: Offer something in the beginning of the video, and even in your video’s caption, that immediately draws your audience in. Help them to quickly understand why your video is important for them so they want to keep watching, even if the a-ha moment you’re providing is further into the content. 

Improving Content’s Current Performance

That being said, if you notice your audience turning away, don’t let them go without a fight. Take the analytics you receive and change your content to ensure you keep your viewers’ or readers’ attention. If there’s a point in your video that turns people away, remove it or fix it to improve your retention rate. If the bounce rate on one of your web pages is abnormally high, you might need to adjust the information to make it more succinct or improve your webpage’s loading time. For example, for e-commerce websites in particular, optimizing page load speed is crucial to ensure a smooth user experience and avoid cart abandonment

Don’t just let the poor content sit on your website and generate bad analytics and low rankings. Update it! Figure out what you need to adjust and make the changes. That can help you improve your audience retention and develop more high-quality blogs, articles, and videos.

Pro tip: Aside from making sure your webpage is as optimized for page speed and visitor needs as possible, think about how you can keep your audience interested by including links to other content you’ve produced that is related to the information they’re currently learning more about. Make it easy for your visitors to learn more about the topic from the content you’ve produced.

Related: 7 Content Marketing KPIs to Track

Does Audience Retention Only Matter for YouTube?

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No. As stated above, you can use audience retention for all types of content you create, including blogs, articles, infographics, and podcasts. It’s important to measure audience retention across all content marketing efforts so you have a firmer grasp on what your audience needs, wants, and looks for from your brand.

Trying to better understand your content marketing analytics? CopyPress has a team of writing, editing, and quality assurance professionals who are experts in developing high-quality content and determining the best way to engage with your target audience. Schedule a free call with us today to learn how we create blogs and articles that keep your audience’s attention!

Author Image - Ed Pronley
Ed Pronley

CopyPress writer

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