September 28, 2021

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Why is My YouTube Channel Watch Time Decreasing? via @sejournal, @MattGSouthern

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YouTube explains why channels experience drops in performance. Here’s how to answer the question “why is my watch time decreasing?”

This information is provided on YouTube’s Creator Insider channel to help people understand how to analyze their video and channel performance.

If your YouTube channel has experienced a decline in watch time, here’s what you can do to better understand what’s happening.

How to Diagnose a Sudden Decline in YouTube Channel Watch Time

To determine why your channel’s watch time is suddenly decreasing, first you need to understand whether it’s a single video causing the drop or if it’s multiple videos.

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It might be the case that one popular video is experiencing a drop in watch time which is dragging down the total number.

Keep in mind that the performance of recent uploads generally peaks within the first few days. If you’re noticing a drop in watch time days after uploading a new video, that’s completely normal.

If the issue isn’t limited to a single video, here are some other things to look for throughout your channel.

Confirm Visibility Settings

Go through your videos and make sure their visibility is all still set to public.

Sometimes an accidental flip from public to private can cause a sudden drop in watch time.

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Check For Claims

Check for claims against your videos, such as possible copyright claims.

A claim can block the visibility of a video in one country or in several countries.

How to Diagnose a Gradual Decline in Watch Time

A decline in watch time can happen suddenly, but it can also be a gradual pattern observed over the course of weeks or months.

If your YouTube channel is experiencing a gradual decline in watch time, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Did anything change? Changes in channel’s style of thumbnails, titles, and content can lead to dramatic changes in performance.
  • When was the performance drop? Expand the date range of your data to get a better understanding of the channel’s typical performance. The drop may be part of a normal pattern.
  • Is seasonality an issue? Changes of seasons can have an impact on how much time people are spending on YouTube. For example, sitewide watch time is known to go down during the holiday season.
  • How frequently do you upload? A change in upload frequency can directly impact watch time, as viewers get used to consuming a certain amount of a channel’s content every week.

A key segment of data to check is watch time among subscribers versus non-subscribers. A decline in watch time among subscribers suggests there’s an issue with the direction of your content.

YouTube suggests reviewing data about your niche in Google Trends. This data shows how interested people are in different topics, which is taken into consideration by YouTube’s recommendation algorithm.

If people are losing interest in a particular topic, then related videos are less likely to get recommended on YouTube.

Alternately, Google Trends data can be used to discover what users are interested in at the moment. Shifting your content toward those topics may help bring up your channel’s watch time.

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See the full video from YouTube below:

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