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I created the UGC club to help creators turn their side hustle into a mainstay. For free. Tap into my 10+ years of experience as a creative strategist and make your name in the UGC industry.


How To Increase Your Watch Time

March 6, 202314 min read

On average, TikTok users spend 52 minutes per day on the app. 

And just like many other social media platforms, TikTok wants people to spend more and more time on the platform. Produce content that keeps more people on the platform, and you’ll massively boost your reach.

Why does watch time matter for UGC creators? Two fold. If you’ve got your own UGC account to demonstrate your ability, you want to show that your videos actually do what they say on the tin. You’ll also be able to reach more potential paying clients. Secondly, you’ll want to make sure the work you submit has the best chance for success so that your buyers keep coming back for more.

Increase your TikTok watch time and combine with other engagement metrics such as likes & comments, and there’s nothing stopping you.

So constant feedback loop:

High Watch Time ⇒ More time on the platform ⇒ TikTok pushes video to people ⇒ More views

So how do we close the loop?

How to find your watch time:

Before you look to increase your watch time, you need to find out what your average Watch Time per video is.

Once you’ve got this, you can do your own analysis. For example, if your watch time is just 1 – 3 seconds, then it means that your hook is weak. 

If people stay beyond the hook, however, drop shortly after, that might mean you have to re-hook the user once again.

To find your Watch Time → Press on your video ⇒ Click on the 3 dots in the bottom right corner ⇒ Analytics ⇒ Average Watch Time

How to increase your TikTok watch time:

After you’ve analyzed your current Watch Time, and know at what point people stop watching your video, you can work on increasing it. 

Use the following strategies to keep people engaged for longer:

Use a strong hook

If you are struggling to keep people watching your video beyond the point of your hook, you need to up your hook game. End of. If you can’t capture the audience’s attention within the first 2 – 4 seconds of your video, changing anything else is pointless.

Your hooks should be intriguing, attention-grabbing, and eye-catching. The best way to solve this is by using proven-to-be-working hooks, so test various mega hooks for UGC and see what works best.

Re-hook the viewer

If people watch your video throughout the hook but leave shortly after it, it means you have to re-hook the viewer.

Try introducing something new in the video, such as adding captions, switching up a scene, or adding an effect.

Use storytelling

We, humans, relate to stories so much more than just native facts, that’s why using storytelling in your videos can keep people engaged for longer.

For this to work, you must have a clear beginning, middle, and end to the video. It works even better if the end of the story has some sort of a payoff.

There are multiple ways how you can structure a video around storytelling, however, here’s 1 framework you can use:

Problem: Hook the audience in with a problem statement that relates to something they struggle with.

Agitation: Dig a little deeper into the problem by hinting at what can or will happen if a solution isn’t found and implemented quickly.

Solution: Present the solution you have.

Outcome: The desired outcome that the audience is after and can ultimately achieve once they implement your solution.

You can even explain the story of your brand, as these guys did. This video gained over 40M views.

@drinkpoppi The poppi story! #drinkpoppi #health ♬ original sound – Sarah Cothran

📜 You can find more about storytelling in your videos HERE.

Tease the end of the video

Tease that something is going to happen at the end of your video. 

You can use a caption that says “wait til the end”, or “wait for ____ reaction”, you want to hint that something will happen at the end of the video.

It’s important to note that you don’t want to tell them what will happen at the end of the video – this will prevent people from watching until the end. 

Let your audience’s imagination fill in the initial blanks so they’re curious to see what will happen at the end.

Share the most important piece of information at the end of the video

This will lead more people to watch until the end of the video since they will be curious to know what is the last part.

You can do it by saying:

”3rd tip is the most important”

“Last point changed my life”

Use editing

There are some simple editing methods you can implement in your videos that will increase your Watch Time.

The main ones that work extremely well are:

  • Looping your content
  • Keep your videos fast-paced
  • Leveraging comments

✅ You can find other tips by searching “how to increase watch time” on TikTok search.

Gen Z UGC content creator creating a video

The SOPs to Follow to Increase TikTok Watch Time

Avoid long scenes and explanations. Instead, aim towards using multiple short scenes.

TikTok users’ attention span is extremely low, so if you are not introducing anything new in the video for more than 3.5 seconds (be it clips, positioning of the camera, etc), then you risk losing many people along the way.

Brands that are extremely successful at creating viral TikTok videos, all follow this principle.

Keep your video length between 10 – 35 seconds – this is the best sweet spot.

You don’t want your TikTok videos to be either too short or too long. 

10 – 35 seconds is the length that we’ve seen work the best.

Create native content.

This should go without saying, but if your videos don’t look like TikTok, they will not perform. 

TikTok users want to feel like they’re on TikTok, they’re not interested in videos that feel different from the organic style the platform is known for.

Therefore, make sure to record your content with the native elements it provides. 

Specifically, use the question box, the fonts they provide, emojis, and the range of transitions.

This is the same reason why repurposing IG & FB content for TikTok does not work.

If you want users to do something after the video, have a strong CTA

If you want users to go on your website, check your pinned TikTok, or comment – have a strong CTA in the video. 

You can’t expect people to take the action you want them to without guiding them.

Have a great hook

The first 3 – 5 seconds of your video are the most important.

When you’re writing an email campaign to your customers, you spend as much time developing your subject line as you spend writing the copy & designing the email.

When it comes to creating your TikTok videos, it’s the same thing. 

You should spend as much time developing your hook as you’re developing the body and outro of the video.

Use trending songs

88% of TikTok’s users say that sound is an essential part of the TikTok experience. 

Using trending songs in your videos if you want to boost your chances of going viral.

📈 How to find trending songs

Quality footage

Make sure your TikTok videos have proper lighting, all the text is in the safe zone, and audio is heard.

From all the things that could prevent you from going viral, the last thing you want is the quality of your videos being sloppy.

📹 How to Record Quality TikTok Videos 

Find a content style that works for your brand

This is where research and testing are crucial. Make a list of competitors in your space, and see what sort of content they post – see what’s working for them.

Once you know what content your target audience enjoys on TikTok, creating content becomes so much easier.

Ultimately you want to find a style of content that works well for you.

Find ways to increase your engagement

The more engagement you can get on your video, the better. Find a way to get many people commenting on your video and even start conversations with them in the comments section.

This will massively increase your reach since TikTok will see that more and more people are engaging with the video, which will then push your video further.

You can do this by including the controversy in your videos by:

  • Using strong humor
  • Purposely making mistakes that look accidental (be that in your spelling, captions, or in the entire video itself)
  • Outrageous clothing or looks

Common Mistakes That Prevent You From Going Viral

Here are some of the most common mistakes brands make, which prevent them from getting their TikTok videos to go viral.

Not doing enough research

You must do research on your competitors and content creators within your niche to find out what is working for them & what sort of content your audience engages with.

The same goes for finding trends. Spend quite a bit of your time within the TikTok platform to find trends & content inspiration.

Once you know what content your audience enjoys, creating viral TikTok becomes so much easier.

Lack of consistency

If you want to create content that go viral, you need to be consistent in your research, recording and posting.

Allocate 30-60 minutes every day to spy on your competitors, analyze content creators in your niche, search trends, and educate yourself on what content resonates with users in your niche.

Furthermore, you want to be consistently pumping out new TikTok videos daily, while not sacrificing the quality.

The more research you can do, and the more TikTok videos you can make while maintaining the quality, the higher your chances of going viral.

Repurposing content from other platforms

Just as mentioned, if your videos don’t look like TikTok, they will not perform. 

TikTok users want to feel like they’re on TikTok, they’re not interested in videos that feel different from the organic style the platform is known for.

If you repurpose your IG, FB, and YT content on TikTok, your videos simply won’t go viral.

Your videos should have the native elements of TikTok in them.

Such as the question box, the TikTok fonts, emojis, and the range of transitions.

And there we have it.  When clients pay for UGC, they expect tried and tested content that will work to increase their brand awareness or facilitate sales. The only way you’ll get this done is by stopping that thumb. Increase your watch time with other engagement metrics such as likes & comments, and you’ll be a UGC expert in no time.

Kirk Axley

Kirk Axley is the founder of The UGC Club. With nearly 10 years of digital marketing experience she set out to create a community that helped UGC creators learn the ropes (without having to spend a penny).

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