The difference between YouTube Retention and Watch Time.

As a YouTuber trying to hit gold on YouTube, metrics are a very important part of your journey. Your metrics tell you a lot about your YouTube channel and whether or not you are getting things right.

The difference between youtube audience retention and watchtime

There are two major metrics that you have to be familiar with. They are rather popular and more often than not, a lot of YouTubers get them mixed up and cannot easily tell the difference between the two. These metrics are: Audience retention and Watch time. 

In order to boost your views and enhance your content planning and creation process, it’s important for you to easily tell the difference between these two metrics. 

This is because studying and analyzing your metrics lets you know whether or not you are making progress in your journey as a YouTuber. 

YouTube retention and watch time are two factors that influence the YouTube alogrithm. This simply means that these two metrics can determine if you will rank higher on YouTube search results or appear on the recommended section of YouTube. If you still plan on hitting gold on YouTube, you can already tell why these metrics are important and how necessary it is to be able to tell the difference between the two. 

Today, I’ll be telling you about the difference between these two metrics and why they are important to your success as a YouTuber. 

Retention is how long people decide to watch your videos and watch time is the total amount of time people watch your videos.

That means the longer your videos are, the less likely you are to retain people and also the more watch time you get. And the shorter your videos are the more likely you are to retain people and also the less watch time you get.

But then again if you post long interesting and captivating videos that hooks your viewers, they are likely to stay. Which gives you both retention and watch time at the same time and short boring videos denies you both.

What Is YouTube Audience Retention?

Audience retention in YouTube is used to calculate how many people watch your video, how long they spend watching the video and the point they stop watching. 

Audience Retention in Youtube is used to calculate how many people watch your youtube videos.

Audience retention let’s you know if you’ve been able to capture your audience’s attention or not. It tells you how interesting your content is and which parts of your video are more interesting. Thanks to YouTube audience retention you can track the exact point that your audience loses interest in your video.

Having this knowledge becomes very useful when you are planning future content and can help you create better content that your audience will find engaging and exciting. 

Audience retention on YouTube not just let’s you know when your video was abandoned but also let’s you know the part that your audience watched the most. The audience retention charts help you track what kind of video your viewers loved more.

For example, if your audience doesn’t watch past 10 minutes into the video, you can then tell that your audience prefers shorter content to longer ones.  If your viewership increases when you create a certain type of content, it can help you in your content creation and planning process.

How To Track YouTube Retention?

YouTube provides you with data that makes it much easier to track your audience retention metrics. In your YouTube analysis, you can easily see your report. 

In this report, you can find two graphs. The first graph let’s you know if your content is engaging or not. It lets you know how many people your content is able to retain. This graph is called the absolute retention curve.

The second graph does more than just tell you the numbers of your viewership. It lets you know how great you are doing when compared to your competitors. This graph compares your content with other similar videos on YouTube and shows you whether your content is retaining enough viewership when compared to others. This second graph is referred to as The Relative Retention Curve. 

What Is YouTube Watch time?

YouTube watchtime let’s you know how long people spent watching your YouTube video. It  lets you know the total minutes your audience spent on your videos. YouTube can give you this analysis either for just a single video or for all the videos you’ve uploaded on YouTube put together. 

Watch time refers to howlong people spend watching your content or videos on youtube.

This metric also makes it easier for you to know how well your users are responding to your videos. If your video(s) are engaging and interesting your watch time increases. If they are boring and not fascinating to your audience, your watchtime begins to dwindle. 

Tracking your YouTube watchtime is a lot more helpful in your content planning and creation process than simply looking at your video view count. This is because several viewers can simply click your video for a second or two before leaving almost immediately. Your YouTube watchtime metrics actually let you know how long they spent on your video and if they left almost as soon as they clicked on your video. 

It is also a very important metric in the YouTube algorithm. This is because if your video has a high watchtime, it’s more likely to rank higher on YouTube search results. For this reason and several more, it’s important to allocate time to monitor and study your YouTube watch time analytics. Observe what kind of videos attracted a longer watch time and what video attracted shorter watch times. You can compare the watch time for videos on your YouTube channel and find out what worked and what didn’t. 

The Major Difference Between YouTube Audience Retention And Watch Time

The Major difference between youtube retention and watch time

The basic difference between audience retention and watch time is that YouTube audience retention metrics lets you know the number of viewers watching your videos and let’s you know the point when they stopped watching or abandoned your video.

On the other hand, YouTube watch time analysis tells you how long your viewers spent watching your videos. 


YouTube Audience retention and watch time are two metrics that provide you with data that lets you know how engaging and interesting your videos are. These metrics can also let you know if your video was a success or a flop.

With audience retention metrics you can tell which part of your video got the most views and which part didn’t. With watchtime, you can tell how long they spent watching your videos. It’s important to rank high on these metrics in order to be successful in YouTube. 

If you want to increase the number of viewers watching your video (Audience retention), you can opt for creating playlists for your videos and more engaging and interesting intros for your videos.

On the other hand if you would like to see an increase in the amount of time people spend watching your videos, you can develop mechanisms to make your audience stay until the end. Like having a secret announcement or guest that is not revealed until the end of the video.

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