5 Simple Ways to Sky Rocket Your YouTube Engagement

Red youtube logo on a black beackground on phone with a laptop in the background

There’s no better time than now to increase engagement on your YouTube channel. According to Forbes, YouTube is currently the second largest search engine, with only Google surpassing it.

This billion-user platform is a hugely useful tool for your business marketing strategy. So, if you’re already posting videos on YouTube, you’re ahead of the game. And if your YouTube engagement is on the rise, you’re building your channel’s success.

However, the path to increasing YouTube engagement amongst your target audience can be a tricky one. Especially if you’re just starting out on the platform. That’s why, here at Simplified, we’ve broken down the process into five easy hacks for you.

From creating eye-catching thumbnails to being strategic about your specs, we’ve got you covered. These simple hacks will help you improve your reach and maximize your ROI. Let’s dive in!

What is YouTube engagement?

YouTube engagement is when a viewer takes action on your YouTube page or YouTube video. YouTube engagement reflects how many times a video or channel has been interacted with. These metrics can be an important measure of your video or channel’s overall popularity. The key actions are:

  • Comments – This is all about viewers sharing their opinion and leaving thoughts about your content. It proves how relatable or exciting they found your video.
  • Likes and dislikes – This is a simple way to determine whether your viewers enjoyed your video. The number of likes reveals whether your video resonates with your audience. Dislikes are still active engagement. One popular example of this is the official music video for Friday by Rebecca Black. With over a million dislikes and only 250,000 likes, the video still amassed a staggering 53 million views.
  • Shares – The number of shares shows you how often your video was shared by viewers and on which platform. This happens if a video is a perfect reflection of how the viewers currently feel, or where they want to go, how they want to feel, what they want to do, how they want to be.
  • Subscribers gained and lost – This engagement metric shows you whether your video attracted new followers or turned off current followers.

5 easy hacks to increase YouTube engagement

1. Nail the thumbnail


Don’t fall into the trap of thinking first impressions only count in the “offline” world. People make quick decisions online, too.

According to the YouTube Creator, Academy, 90% of the best-performing videos on YouTube have a custom thumbnail. A solid thumbnail should be informative, enticing, and aesthetically pleasing. Thumbnails help your video gain initial interest and show your viewers what they can expect. Plus, properly optimized thumbnails will increase video engagement by over 154%.

Simplified has many templates that you can use to create thumbnails for your YouTube videos. Browse through different options or sort by category to find the right one for you and then build on it using your own images and text.

2. Impress with your intro


When it comes to video, starting strong is the name of the game. The make-or-break mark for your video is between 3 to 5 seconds. That’s the amount of time you have to hook your viewers and prevent them from scrolling away. So, make the most of it and grab their attention! For example start your video with a question, “What if you could travel the world on less than three dollars per day?” Or in the first few seconds of the video, pose or address their pain point directly, “Are you sick and tired of getting the flu?”.

Interestingly, the YouTube algorithm doesn’t necessarily prefer online videos with lots of views. This goes against what we know as a standard YouTube engagement strategy. Instead, it takes a user’s “session time” into account (not available to the users).

Session Time (also known as “Session Watch Time”) is the total amount of time someone spends on YouTube after watching your video. And it’s one metric that YouTube cares A LOT about. So if someone watches your video and then leaves YouTube, that’s going to hurt your channel’s Session Time. But if that person stays on YouTube, your Session Time is going to increase.

And the best way to improve your Session Time?

Promote your BEST videos on your channel page.

3. Include annotations, visual cues, and CTAs


Youtube engagement requires your viewers to participate. And with video marketing, there’s no shame in being direct. If you want viewers to subscribe to your YouTube channel? Then, tell them so. Or if you want viewers to like or share your video? Then, remind them to do so! This says to your viewer that their opinion is valued and that you always want to improve the quality of content you provide. This also provides the opportunity for increased viewership through social proof.

One of the best ways to boost your YouTube engagement is by using annotations. These are little boxes of text or visuals that appear during the video that encourage your viewers to take action. Like in the image below, the annotation is highlighted in red.


Using annotations and CTAs will help you tell your viewers what you want them to do—and how. Do this throughout the entire video, not just at the end or beginning. This will help you increase engagement, even if people don’t watch the whole video.


The YouTube algorithm also rewards high engagement in terms of likes, comments, and shares. So, adding a simple annotation to encourage action on the platform can help your video show up more in search results.

4. Give people a reason to keep watching

Video watch time is another key ranking factor for videos. Here are a few tips to keep your YouTube engagement rate up and viewers watching till the end: • Although your viewers can’t interact with you, talk to them as you would if you were having a conversation in real life. • Make your information clear, simple, and digestible • Highlight necessary steps or tips • Keep it fun (less lecturing and more jesting can go a long way) • Recap by repeating key points

5. Showcase YouTube videos on your website


YouTube videos are a great way to explain your business’ USP and showcase your company culture. Explainer and introduction videos are strong tools for your homepage or a “how it works” section on your website.

Most people don’t want to read through all of your services or scroll through hundreds of products to find the one they’re after.

Here are three of our favorite examples of how brands are using video to:

So, simplify it for them with a YouTube video instead.

Create your Website YouTube video in minutes with Simplified! Your brand will benefit from tying your website and video content together with cohesive branding for a professional look.

How to track your video engagement rate

You can easily measure your YouTube engagement rate with the right formula. The engagement rate provides a more accurate representation of content performance than simply looking at measures such as likes, shares, and comments.

One of the most common ways is to measure your engagement rate by reach (ERR). ERR is the percentage of viewers who engaged with your video or other content after watching it.

Step 1

Use this formula across at least 5 of your posts:

ERR = total engagements per post / reach per post * 100

Step 2

Calculate the average. First, add up all the ERRs from the posts you want to average. Then, divide your answer by the number of posts:

Average ERR = Total ERR / Total posts

Congratulations, you just calculated your YouTube engagement rate. The ERR can give you a solid idea of your YouTube engagement across all audiences. The engagement rate proves that your content was compelling enough to generate a response. By understanding how engagement rates work, you can use this information to improve the quality of your video marketing campaigns over time.

Are you ready to grow your YouTube engagement faster with Simplified? As an all-in-one platform, Simplified can help you design everything you need to scale your brand on YouTube.

Enhance your YouTube videos and YouTube engagement with Simplified’s free tools. These include dynamic templates and AI copywriting for ads, channel art, intros & outros, and thumbnails. You can even create catchy titles for YouTube using Simplified’s free AI tool. The best free design tool on the web is yours for the taking. Get your free designs for YouTube now!

One Free app to design, collaborate, and scale your work – try Simplified today.

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