Content Creation

How to Increase Engagement on YouTube

8 min read

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Ever find yourself staring at your channel analytics, wishing for more likes, comments, and subscribers? Those signals may not seem like much, but they’re key data points that help YouTube’s engine recommend your channel. 

In this guide, we show you how to create content that not only captivates but also sparks conversations. Learn how to increase YouTube engagement and turn those passive viewers into an active, buzzing community. 

What is YouTube Engagement Rate?

Your YouTube engagement rate is the percentage of people watching your videos who interact with your channel and content in some way. 

What counts as an engagement?

  • Views
  • Comments
  • Likes
  • Subscribes
  • Shares

Engagement is important because it tells YouTube whether people enjoy your content. This is a key component of the YouTube algorithm. Engagement also tells creators which kinds of content have worked and what might work in the future. 

What’s a Good YouTube Engagement Rate?

Statista reports an average 1.63% engagement rate for all channels with fewer than 15,000 subscribers. If that doesn’t seem very high, you’re right. Most people don’t engage with videos. They simply watch and move on.

That said, it’s different for each niche. For example, gaming videos have an average 5.47% like-to-view ratio, but music videos only 2.28% of music video watchers click like (even though music videos get a LOT more views). 

How to Calculate Engagement Rate on YouTube

Calculating your engagement rate of a video is pretty simple. Here’s the formula:

(Number of engagements / impressions)*100 = Engagement rate %

Total up all of the engagements your video received. A single person can engage multiple times. For instance, one person might view a video, like it, and then subscribe. That’s three engagements. 

Impressions refers to the number of times people see your thumbnail on YouTube. Basically, this is how often YouTube recommends the video to potential viewers.

Let’s say a video had 3,200 views, 150 likes, and 18 shares, and YouTube recommended it 36,400 times. 

(3,368 engagements / 36,400) = 0.093

0.093*100 = 9.3% engagement rate

But what if you want to know your overall engagement rate? That’s simple too. Simply calculate the engagement rate for several videos and average them together.

YouTube doesn’t tell you the engagement rate in the analytics dashboard, but there are several third party tools that will help you uncover this number. HypAuditor has a great one.

12 Tips to Increase Your YouTube Engagement

Now that you understand how engagement rate works, let’s go through some tips to increase your engagement on YouTube.

1. Choose Your Topics Wisely

If you want people to engage with your YouTube content, you have to choose topics they actually want to engage with. These are topics that strike an emotional chord with your viewers; something they care about deeply. This involves creating a lot of value, but the value can be education or entertainment. 

How do you choose topics people like? Historical data is most effective. If people have engaged with content in the past, there’s a good chance they’ll engage with similar content in the future. If you don’t have a lot of YouTube data, check your other platforms, like your social media profiles, website, or podcast.

Keyword data helps as well. People are far more likely to engage with the content they’re looking for, as opposed to something they came across through a recommendation. 

It’s also smart to create content around whatever is currently trending on YouTube. People are more likely to engage in whatever is hot at the time. Use the Explore tab to find new and popular content. Google Trends is also helpful.

2. Prompt Your Viewers to Engage

This is one of the most important tips to improve your YouTube engagement. And in fact, it’s the one tip that has worked the best for the Castos YouTube channel. It’s also the easiest!

The best way to get your viewers to engage with your channel is to ask them to. It sounds simple, but calls to action are definitely effective.

During your videos, tell your viewers to subscribe like the video, and turn on their notifications. You might even include a visual reminder, like an icon or message on screen. 

In fact, many YouTubers are honest about why they need their fans to engage. People understand how the algorithm works these days. You might say something like, “Interact with this video so YouTube shows you more of it.”

When should you prompt them? Most people don’t watch videos from beginning to end, so it’s a good idea to include a call to action at the beginning and one at the end.

3. Interact with Your Audience 

Videos are a one-way medium, but that doesn’t mean you can’t stimulate discussion. 

Throughout video content, ask thought-provoking questions. Don’t be afraid to make controversial statements (for the sake of discussion, not to anger people). Say whatever you need to get people talking about your content in the comments.

Then, join the discussion yourself by actively participating in the comments. Respond to as many as you reasonably can. Acknowledge feedback, answer questions, and express genuine interest in your viewers’ thoughts. If your audience knows that you read and reply to them, they will be more likely to comment.

Interact with commenters

4. Ask Questions

An easy way to get more engagement is to ask your viewers a question. tell them to answer the question by commenting. This gives many viewers a reason to engage when they ordinarily wouldn’t have. 

You can boost their response rate by overlaying the question in text in your video and leaving it on the screen for a few seconds. This helps your viewers understand that you think the question is important. 

5. Cut Your Videos Into YouTube Shorts

YouTube Shorts are 15-60 second videos that are easy to scroll through. As of 2023, they get 30 billion daily views. The low investment required to enjoy these videos makes some people more likely to engage. They are also a great way to introduce new viewers to your content.

Fortunately, you don’t have to make your own YouTube shorts. Simply edit your existing videos into the short duration format.

6. Use Editing to Entice Watchers to Engage

Cleverly edited videos can create anticipation, surprise, and a sense of entertainment. This keeps viewers watching until the end. Use jump cuts, visual effects, and engaging transitions to maintain a dynamic pace. Use call-to-action overlays during compelling moments, prompting viewers to like, comment, or subscribe. 

Editing adds a layer of entertainment value, making your videos more shareable and memorable. Keep it visually stimulating and aligned with your content’s tone.

7. Use Info Cards and “Watch Next” Screens

Info cards pop up during your video, providing clickable links to related content or additional information. This keeps viewers immersed in your channel’s ecosystem, increasing the chances of them watching more videos and engaging with the content. 

“Watch next” end screens appear towards the end of your video, suggesting other videos to keep viewers engaged. These guide the audience seamlessly from one video to the next, thereby improving overall watch time and signaling to the YouTube algorithm that your content is worth promoting. 

Use Info Cards and “Watch Next” Screens

8. Host a Contest or Giveaway

Hosting a contest or giveaway taps into people’s natural interest in freebies and competition. By asking viewers to participate, whether through comments, likes, or sharing, you not only generate immediate interaction but also increase your video’s visibility. 

The prospect of winning something creates excitement, encouraging viewers to stay engaged with your content and return for future updates. Just make sure that the prize aligns with your channel’s theme, otherwise your audience won’t be incentivized to engage. 

YouTube video

9. Create Click-Worthy Content

You can’t get people to engage with your content unless they actually watch your videos, so it’s important to give them the right signals that your videos are worth watching

Create engaging thumbnails. Thumbnails can increase your engagement by 154%. Create a unique, eye-catching style and then use it for all of your content. Your goal is to be memorable so people see your thumbnails and think, “Oh I love those videos.

Write compelling titles. Use captivating language that entices people to click. Make use of YouTube keywords so your titles match their search queries. But don’t lie in your titles (that’s called clickbait) as it’s a sure way to stunt your audience growth

Write smart titles and descriptions. YouTube uses the keywords in video titles and descriptions to categorize the content. If you want searchers to find your videos, make sure to use the words they search for. Then, add some captivating language to convince them to click. 

10. Create a Consistent Upload Schedule

A viewer may not engage with the first video they watch. They may not engage with the second or third, but eventually they’ll find a reason to interact with your content. So if you want to increase engagement on YouTube, you’ll need to produce a lot of it. 

A key way to boost engagement, therefore, is to create a consistent upload schedule and stick to it. This lets viewers predict when the next video will be posted. Over time, they will grow to watch your videos consistently, which makes them more likely to engage.

11. Improve Your Production Value

People are more likely to be captivated by videos with high production values. They will happily engage when they feel like a creator is invested in the content.

But that doesn’t mean you need fancy camera setups or expensive sets. These days, you can have high production value with your camera phone and some basic lighting gear. Spend a few minutes learning how to place your camera or block a scene and you’ll boost your production value over night. 

12. Set Your Videos to Premiere

YouTube Premieres lets you and your viewers watch and experience a new video together in real-time. Premiere will show your video thumbnail to viewers on a public page, but the video won’t be playable until the premiere date. 

The link is always the same, so you can share the video before it premieres to build hype. YouTube sends a notification to subscribers and puts a countdown on your video to give people time to watch. 

Set Your Videos to Premiere

Once the premiere starts, a live chat feed appears next to the video. Jump in and interact with users in real-time as you all watch together. Viewers will notice your presence and engage with you as well. 

This tip doesn’t just boost your value in the YouTube algorithm. It’s also a great way to create personal connections with your audience.

Engagement Doesn’t Happen Overnight

We’ve given you some tips to increase engagement on YouTube, but it’s important to understand that they won’t have much of an effect right away. Growing a YouTube channel takes time. It may take months for your engagement work to have an effect on your audience. But over time, your work to increase engagement on YouTube will compound and your audience will support your channel consistently.

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Dennis is a content marketer and web developer with years of experience helping startups and small businesses build their online platforms. He lives in Connecticut with his wife and daughter.

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