YouTube Update - Back to the Drawing Board


Screen capture of YouTube video statistics. Average view duration is 13 seconds.
Video Analytics of Shame

Well, hard work usually pays off, but not in this case. I have been laboring diligently on updating my YouTube content to comply with the new captioning guidelines. I want to make sure that my videos are accessible and inclusive for everyone who wants to watch them.

You can see from the analytics from the first video that I have some work to do to improve retention. The entire internet decided this video is worth about two minutes. Even though I'm not interested in making money from YouTube, low average view duration tells me that people aren't getting what they expect from my videos. 

I decided to investigate why this is happening and I found out that it has a lot to do with the structure of my videos. Since the videos are designed for my online classes, I start the video with specific indicators of where the material fits into the course. Students in the class can get that information from the Blackboard shell. Viewers outside the class don't care.

As an additional point, I like to use the Bing AI feature to draft my blog posts. Without any prompts, the AI generated this list of improvements for my videos. I like the list, so I'm quoting it almost verbatim.

Here are some of the things I'm going to do:

 - Start with a hook: Instead of giving a long introduction, I'm going to start with a hook that grabs the attention of the viewers and makes them curious about the topic. For example, I could start with a question, a fact, a story, a joke, or a challenge.

 - Use shorter segments: Instead of having one long video, I'm going to break it down into shorter segments that focus on one main idea or concept. This way, the viewers can digest the information more easily and stay focused on the topic.

 - Add visuals: Instead of just talking to the camera, I'm going to add some visuals that support and illustrate my points. For example, I could use images, graphs, charts, diagrams, animations, or screenshots.

 - Use captions: Even though I already have captions in two languages, I'm going to use them more effectively. I'm going to make sure that they are clear, accurate, synchronized, and readable. I'm also going to use different colors and fonts to highlight important words or phrases.

 - End with a call to action: Instead of just summarizing what I said in the video, I'm going to end with a call to action that encourages the viewers to take action or learn more about the topic. For example, I could ask them to subscribe, like, comment, share, visit my website, or check out another video.

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