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Influencer Marketing
July 13, 2023
min read
Elad Schulman

What is engagement rate and why is it important?

The YouTube algorithm is always changing and adapting, but one thing that has stayed consistent is the importance of engagement. Both creators and brands have realized that engagement more accurately paints a picture of the relationship a creator has with their audience. With a larger engagement rate, it’s more likely that an audience is going to interact with the product or service being mentioned. But what is an engagement rate, and how can you work on increasing it? 

What is the YouTube engagement rate? 

Simply put, the YouTube engagement rate is the percentage of people watching and interacting with your videos. This number includes views, likes, dislikes, comments, subscribers/unsubscribes, and shares.

How to calculate engagement rates on YouTube? 

To find your average engagement rate, you have to calculate the average engagement rate of 5-10 different videos. The most common way to calculate engagement is by finding your rate by reach, and don’t worry, the equation isn’t too complicated. All you have to do is follow this equation: 

(Total number of engagements / total impressions)*100 = Engagement rate %

For the total number of engagements, we suggest that you focus on the three engagement factors that have the highest impact on your channel - likes, comments, and shares. 

Why does the YouTube engagement rate matter? 

Knowing what your engagement rate is will help you know if your audience is enjoying the content that you’re producing. In broad terms, a higher engagement rate means a higher enjoyment rate. Also, brands will use your engagement rate when deciding if to partner with you, and they may also use your engagement rate to measure the performance of a specific partnership deal. 

How can you increase the engagement rate? 

Join in on trends

The YouTube algorithm is built in a way that promotes trending videos, meaning that content creators from all different kinds of niches want to jump on the bandwagon before it’s too late. Brands also know that getting with the latest YouTube trends will make sure they stay relevant and also increases the chances that new viewers will see the sponsorship since it’s being featured on a video that’s ‘cool’. 

What are the best ways to find out what’s trending? 

  • Google Trends: This is a free way for content creators to jump on what’s trending. By staying up to date with what’s currently relevant online, you will not only be able to keep your content up-to-date, but possibly even start a trend. The key is to do your research and come up with creative ways to integrate trends to your content. You can learn more about how to use Google Trends here
  • Ahrefs: Using Ahref’s free keyword tool for YouTube, creators can not only research what’s trending but how much its trending - that way, they can really know what type of content needs to be created right now and what is less relevant. 
  • The ThoughtLeaders blog: Trends are always coming and going and at ThoughtLeaders we like to ride the bandwagon and keep up with the latest industry trends.

Recommended read: How to get more views on YouTube with Google Trends

Create YouTube shorts

YouTube Shorts is probably the feature that YouTube has been pushing the most in the last few months. YouTube Shorts is a short-form, vertical video feature that YouTube introduced to its platform back in 2020. This feature allows YouTubers to record, edit and upload short videos (of up to 60 seconds) directly on the YouTube app. Its main competitors are Instagram Reels and TikTok. Since its launch, YouTube Shorts has accumulated over 5 trillion views. 

For creators, incorporating YouTube Shorts into their content has been incredibly important for the YouTube algorithm. 

Recommended read: How to make money from YouTube Shorts 

Collaborate, collaborate, collaborate

Collaborations are refreshing for you, and for your audience! Content creation can get quite lonely, so getting the opportunity to share the process with another content creator is always an exciting opportunity. It’s also a great way for new viewers to discover your channel since whoever you collaborate with will most likely share the video you did together with their own audience.

Engage with your audience

The minute that your audience feels a genuine connection with you, the creator, they will be more inclined to like, comment, and share any content that you create. A great way to work on that genuine connection is to initiate the engagement! Respond to comments, give shoutouts in your videos and your other social media platforms, and ask for feedback! Knowing what your viewers like most about your channel will help you to create content that has more of a chance for success.


Work on your thumbnails

Thumbnails can make or break a video’s chances of catching viewers' attention and ultimately succeeding - a thumbnail that isn’t bold enough or lacks a clear connection to what the video is about, will cause viewers to scroll right over your video. You want a thumbnail that’s clear, catchy, and not too crowded. Don’t be afraid to experiment with your thumbnails, but try and find a style and stick to it. Viewers love consistency!

As you can clearly see from the example below, Alisha Marie sticks to a specific style on her vlog channel. The fonts that she uses stay the same and the main idea of the video is clearly highlighted.  The viewer can get a pretty good idea of what the video is about without needing to read the title or getting into the description. 

Alisha Marie YouTube Channel Thumbnails

Try out different editing techniques

When Emma Chamberlain started uploading videos in 2018, she decided to add her own twist on vlogging/lifestyle content. She made sure to appear raw, genuine, and filter-less and it paid off - her subscriber count grew dramatically in a short period of time. Just like with thumbnails, some form of consistency in editing style is a good idea, but creators shouldn’t be afraid of trying something new when it comes to editing techniques.

Add info cards and “watch next” end screens

It’s important to make use of all the features that YouTube has to offer since YouTube loves spotlighting creators that take advantage of these new features. One of these features is info cards - pop-ups during your video that direct viewers to the products, websites, or other videos you’re talking about.

The Everyday Dad Info Cards

Another feature that you should take advantage of is “watch next” end screens. This prompts the viewer to keep watching your content instead of scrolling through what YouTube suggests as their next video (which isn’t necessarily going to be one of your videos!)

Matthew Storer watch next

Optimize your content

More than 500 hours of content is uploaded to YouTube every minute, so it’s important to do everything you can to stand out in the eyes of the YouTube algorithm. This process is known as YouTube SEO - it sounds complicated (and it definitely takes time!), but it’s pretty much the practice of making a video appear at the top of the search results. 

How should you start with SEO and keyword research? Here are a few tools to help get you started: 

  • TubeBuddy: A browser extension designed to help you manage your YouTube channel and make sure you're enhancing your reach and engagement. The features on TubeBuddy include keyword research, tags, analytics, and video SEO.
  • Ahrefs: One of the most recommended SEO tools on the market, with it being the second-fastest web crawler (the first being Google), and having the best user interface that is easy to use and comprehend. SEO experts depend on Ahrefs for backlink audits, competitive analysis, keyword search, and SEO analyzer that ensures your site is running optimally. 
  • VidIQ: A YouTube-certified tool that offers access to keyword and tag rankings based on search trends, a competitive comparison against other channels, as well as help with managing comments on your videos. VidIQ also has a browser extension that allows you to see top tags and keywords that other channels used on their videos. 

Working on increasing your engagement rate isn’t easy - as a creator, it takes a lot of time, effort, and experimentation to find what works best for you and for your audience. But, it’s 100% worth it, and you’ll be reaping the results before you know it. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out and contact us!

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