Audience Engagement on YouTube: 10 Strategies to Boost It!

blog header audience engagement
  • Alex Lefkowitz
    (Author)

    Alex Lefkowitz is the founder and CEO of Tasty Edits. He holds a BA in Entrepreneurship and is an experienced video editor, having edited hundreds of videos for dozens of creators before starting his own video editing company. Since launching Tasty Edits, he has directly managed thousands of video and thumbnail orders. Now, he draws on his experience working with professional creators to write about video editing, the creator economy, and video marketing. You can also read his work on Hackernoon and Medium. Plus, he's contributed several expert opinions in interviews and articles as a guest on platforms like Jotform.

    View all posts
  • Esteban Ramos
    (Author)

    Esteban Ramos is a full-time YouTube Channel Manager at Tasty Edits. He has worked with dozens of high-profile and up-and-coming content creators and businesses to grow their channels with strategic YouTube SEO and personalized recommendations. He is a seasoned pro at finding video ideas, boosting YouTube audience engagement, and diving deep into YouTube channel analytics. Videography and cinema are also his personal passions: In his free time, he hosts a Spanish-language movie podcast.

    View all posts
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Engagement is one of the key metrics that YouTube’s algorithm uses to evaluate your videos and your channel. 

Likes, dislikes, shares, subscriptions, comments – how your viewers interact with your content is crucial. Videos with higher engagement rates have a better chance of going viral. Except, of course, if that engagement is a flood of dislikes. 

Engagement also influences how your audience perceives your content

Take two videos on the same subject that both have a million views. One of them has over 50k likes and thousands of comments to its name. The other merely 5k likes and a handful of comments. There’s little doubt which one viewers would choose if they saw them side by side. 

But how do you boost your audience engagement on YouTube? What can you do to captivate your viewers and encourage them to interact with your content? 

Here are 10 strategies you can leverage. 

Quick Facts

  • Audience engagement is measured in likes, subscribes, comments, and similar interactions.
  • More engagement makes your videos more visible.
  • Two ways of increasing engagement are good thumbnails and calls to action. 

Keep reading for more strategies you can use!

Contents

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Customize Your Thumbnail

To start with, you need to create custom thumbnails for your videos. Both for new uploads and existing content. 

Thumbnails are one of the key factors that determine whether someone who sees your video in their search results or recommendations will click on it. 

While YouTube will auto-generate thumbnails based on your footage, these are often bland and uninspiring. Creating a custom-tailored one lets you hone it to your audience’s tastes, and make it as intriguing as you like. 

Consequently, statistics show that custom thumbnails can increase your engagement rates by up to 154%!  

If you’d like to leave this one to the graphic design pros, there are plenty of thumbnail services out there to help you.

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Start With a Strong Hook

Next, you need to start out your video with a solid hook to draw in your viewers. 

The first five seconds of your video are crucial. This is when your audience decides whether to stick with watching your video or back right out of there. 

So what makes a strong hook? That depends on the type of video you’re making. 

  • Is it a tutorial? Then consider giving your audience a run-down of what exactly they’ll learn if they keep watching. 
  • Is it a challenge? Tease some of the most jaw-dropping parts of your footage! 
  • Fashion try-on haul? Give a glimpse of your best looks. 

Basically, you need to show the viewer what awaits them – and why they should keep watching.

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Drop Teasers Throughout Your Videos

Another trick to boost your engagement rates is to keep your viewers engaged throughout your videos. 

A lot of content starts off with a strong hook – but then quickly becomes boring. 

To avoid that, you need to properly structure your video and include hooks throughout your script. Here’s just two examples of text hooks:

  • “Now that we know how to do Y, let’s take a closer look at X!”
  • “That was crazy, right? Not as crazy as what we did next!” 

Proper video editing is also key to keeping your YouTube audience engagement high throughout your videos. Transitions need to be smooth and natural, effects eye-catching but not jarring, and the audio needs to be on point. One wrong step and you can put off viewers.

🥳 Get more subscribers

And earn more money with great video editing💰

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Use Chapters

Next up, another great way to structure your video and keep audiences engaged is to use chapters and timestamps. (Check out our full guide here!) 

Well-placed chapters let viewers know what awaits them, which encourages them to stick around. A quick look at the description – or at the progress bar – and they’ll know how your video is laid out, a bit like a table of contents.

This goes especially for talking-head and tutorial videos. Here, viewers are often busy or might know part of what you want to teach them already. Having chapters allows them to go straight to the part that interests them most (rather than quitting out entirely).

For this reason, your chapter headings should be short and to the point.

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Include a Call to Action (CTA)

As you get to the end of your video, you should be including two elements to boost YouTube audience engagement: a call to action (CTA for short), and a good end screen. 

Let’s talk about the call to action first.

The CTA is where you tell your viewers what you want them to do next:

  •  Like and subscribe? 
  • Sign up for your Patreon? 
  • Tell you what they want you to do next in the comments? 
  • Join your community? 

There are dozens of actions you might want your audience to take next. There is one great place to make this easy for them: an optimized end screen. 

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Create an Optimized End Screen

Not only is an optimized end screen a great opportunity to display your brand colors and assets. It also lets you add any links and video recommendations you like! 

This, in turn, is a fantastic way of forwarding people where you want them to go – whether that’s the next video in your series, your homepage, or a link-in-bio page. 

Note, though, that you only get up to four end screen items, and that’s on standard horizontal videos. Make sure that your most important CTA is always visible!

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Get Viewer Input

Another winning strategy to boost YouTube audience engagement is to get viewer input on the type of content you produce. 

Instead of trying to figure out what your audience wants to see next on your own, ask them. Give them the opportunity to express their preferences in the comments, in the livestream chat, or even through polls and forms. 

You can get input on everything from your content format (Long? Short? In-studio or outside?) to the topics you should tackle (tutorials to make or challenges to take on!) 

Not only will this boost engagement in your comment section. It will also incentivize viewers to subscribe to your channel, and to come back when you release the video they helped inspire. 

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Reformat to Shorts

Struggling to get engagement on your long-form content? Consider remixing some of it into Shorts

In 2024, the Shorts algorithm is directly linked to YouTube’s main algorithm. It’s a key element in helping viewers discover new channels and creators. Someone who watches your Shorts is much more likely to get recommended your long-form content as well – and to watch it, because they’ll recognize you

In fact, 59% of Gen Z say that they use short-form content to discover longer videos to watch! 

Plus, reformatting some of your old content lets you generate some fantastic Shorts much faster than to start filming them from scratch. 

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Be Strategic with Sponsor Announcements and Ads

Something else to keep in mind is the placement of your sponsor announcements and YouTube ads. 

Typically, viewers aren’t wild about either. Many tend to click away when they get hit with them. 

That means you need to be strategic about where you place them for minimum disturbance of your viewers’ enjoyment of your content. 

Right after the hook when your audience is stoked to start watching? Probably not. 

At the very end when people are starting to leave? That can tank your chances of having your CTA heard. 

Where exactly you place these elements depends on your video structure. Generally, though, the last third of your video, after one more intermediate hook, is a good starting spot.

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Learn from Existing Content

Finally, one way to elevate your YouTube audience engagement is to learn from your existing content

Take a close look at the videos you’ve uploaded so far, and their performance. Here are some fundamental questions you can ask:

  • What resonates with your audience and what doesn’t? 
  • What clips have the best like-to-dislike ratio? 
  • Which ones get the most comments? 
  • Which have the best retention rates? 

To answer these questions, you’ll need to take a deep-dive into the Analytics tab in YouTube Studio and check out your various metrics. (See our full channel analytics intro here!) 

It will take a little while, but it’s well worth it! 

The Bottom Line

Increasing your audience engagement on YouTube is a tricky process and takes constant fine-tuning. 

To get viewers on board, you need good thumbnails, a great hook, and teasers throughout. At the end, don’t forget the call to action

Structure is important, so think carefully about chapters – and about strategic sponsor and ad placement. You can also increase engagement by remixing videos into Shorts, and simply by asking your audience for input.

YouTube analytics, finally, is where you can check up on your results.

It’s well worth putting in the time and effort to figure out exactly how to captivate your audience. Harness the strategies above and boost your channel!

FAQs

YouTube audience engagement is a measure for how viewers interact with your content, especially through likes, dislikes, shares, comments, and subscribes. It’s a key factor for whether YouTube’s algorithm recommends your videos.

Start by giving your videos custom thumbnails and end screens, a strong hook, chapters, and a clear call to action. You can also get viewer input on what videos to create next, and deep-dive into analytics to discover what resonates most with your audience.

The best way is to keep an eye on YouTube analytics. Metrics like retention rates, your like-to-dislike ratio, comment numbers and your subscriber counts are good indicators of how engaged your audience is.

The easiest way to track your audience engagement on YouTube is through YouTube Studio, the platform’s native analytics solution. It also comes as an app so you can track your metrics on the go.

Not directly! YouTube pays for ad impressions, not for audience engagement. However, to get more ad impressions, you need more views. And to get more views, your video needs to appear in search results and recommendations – and engagement is a key deciding factor for the YouTube algorithm.

Authors

  • Alex Lefkowitz

    Alex Lefkowitz is the founder and CEO of Tasty Edits. He holds a BA in Entrepreneurship and is an experienced video editor, having edited hundreds of videos for dozens of creators before starting his own video editing company. Since launching Tasty Edits, he has directly managed thousands of video and thumbnail orders. Now, he draws on his experience working with professional creators to write about video editing, the creator economy, and video marketing. You can also read his work on Hackernoon and Medium. Plus, he's contributed several expert opinions in interviews and articles as a guest on platforms like Jotform.

    View all posts
  • Esteban Ramos

    Esteban Ramos is a full-time YouTube Channel Manager at Tasty Edits. He has worked with dozens of high-profile and up-and-coming content creators and businesses to grow their channels with strategic YouTube SEO and personalized recommendations. He is a seasoned pro at finding video ideas, boosting YouTube audience engagement, and diving deep into YouTube channel analytics. Videography and cinema are also his personal passions: In his free time, he hosts a Spanish-language movie podcast.

    View all posts