How To Reach 4000 Watch Hours on YouTube

How To Reach 4,000 Watch Hours On YouTube

We have a subscriber question today: How do I reach the 4,000 watch hours requirement to be monetized on YouTube faster and more efficiently? How exciting! This question comes from Jessica over at Savidge Kitchen which is a channel all about making very fancy, schmancy cocktails. Let’s roll her question:

Hey Jenn, it’s Jessica over at Savidge Kitchen. I have a question for you about the threshold for monetization for YouTube. I’m at 30% of my goal as it relates to subscribers but I’m only at 10 percent of my goal as it relates to watch hours. What I’m wondering is, is that important and how can I even that out? How can I get those watch hours up to match the pace of my subscribers?
Jessica Savidge, The Savidge Kitchen

If you’re not familiar with the requirements for monetization on YouTube, you have to hit 1,000 subscribers and then have 4,000 watch hours in the past year…that’s how you can get monetized on YouTube. First, let me say that Jessica’s situation is not uncommon. I think it’s true for most people that they hit that subscriber threshold before they hit those 4,000 watch hours…and 4,000 watch hours, especially when you’re first starting out, does sound like a lot; so let’s talk about how we’re gonna get you to that 4,000 hour watch time mark.

Longer Videos

My first tip is a pretty simple one and it’s to make longer videos. Seriously, there’s no easier way to get more watch time than to make longer videos, so look at your content critically. Where can you add length while still keeping it interesting? What can you show in more detail? Or what can you explain in more detail? In the case of Savidge Kitchen, I checked out some of the videos on your channel and I spotted one video where I think you could add some length. You said that you had to shake a cocktail for 30 seconds, but then you cut away while you were shaking and then came back when you were finished. What if you showed that shaking on camera and made it funny like adding some rocking dance moves or maybe telling a story that’s related to your cocktail. That could be a really easy, natural place for you to add some of that length.

If you have a question for me, and if I can answer it right here on my channel, I will. Simply record yourself asking the question, upload it to your own YouTube channel as unlisted, then email me that unlisted link at Jenn at

Increase Retention to Reach 4,000 Watch Hours

My next tip is to increase your retention rates. Retention rates are how long someone stays watching your video. You have more control over his than you think. Here are a few tips for you:

First try to make content that has a payoff at the end that kind of forces the viewer to keep watching your video. A great example of this would be some sort of transformation, like a makeover, where if they want to see the end result, they have to keep watching to the end. Or a tutorial where if they want to learn whatever it is you’re teaching in the video they have to keep watching.
Another thing you can do is try to tease something that’s coming up at the end of the video that’s going to be really significant for the viewer. For instance. I have a really important tip at the end of this video, so you want to make sure you keep watching to see that tip.
Another thing you can try is a gimmick. For instance, you see here nikkietutorials, at the end of all of her videos she teaches her viewers a word in Dutch. She calls it the Dutch Word of the Day, so if people are really into that feature they stick around to the end of the video.
For you, you could do, I don’t know, maybe, tell a joke and save the punchline for the end of the video. Get creative!
But that is a model that you can use to increase your retention rates.

Retention Graphs

The other thing you want to do is take a long hard look at your retention graphs. In YouTube analytics you can find this. In analytics, by selecting a particular video, selecting analytics, and then clicking engagement at the top of your screen. Now take a look at this graph and look for any points where you’re always seeing a consistent drop-off. How can you remedy that? In the case of Savidge Kitchen, and this is pure speculation because I have not seen your metrics, but what if, because the cocktails that you make have a lot of very exotic ingredients, a viewer clicks on your thumbnail, starts watching the video, and then says I don’t have that in my liquor cabinet and clicks out to try to find a creator with some more common ingredients. If you’re seeing that being an issue in your retention on your videos, maybe at that point suggest alternatives that people can swap out with more common ingredients.

Ask People to Subscribe

My next tip is to make sure you remember to ask people to subscribe. I know we’re talking about watch hours in this video and not really focused on upping your subscriber count, but those two are related and you can’t disconnect them. Think about what happens when you subscribe to a new channel…all of a sudden YouTube starts suggesting older videos from that channel all over your homepage on YouTube, right? If you get new subscribers, this is a way for you to get a lot more mileage out of videos you’ve created in the past and really get more watch time without doing more work. Of course, right now is the perfect time for me to ask you to subscribe to my channel if you’re learning something.

Share On Your Social Media Platforms

My next tip is to share your YouTube video across all of your social media platforms by copying the direct link to that YouTube video and posting it to let’s say Facebook or LinkedIn. You would do this as opposed to uploading natively to those platforms. What that means is that you would take the MP4 file that you made and upload it to Facebook or LinkedIn, instead what you’re going to do is copy the link from YouTube and post it in a Facebook or LinkedIn post so that when people watch the video they will be watching it actually on the YouTube platform, thus you will be accruing those watch hours. Fair warning here: LinkedIn and Facebook don’t like when you do this because it takes people on their platform and brings them to YouTube, and that’s not what they want. They probably won’t show your post to as many of your connections as they would if you had uploaded it natively, but who cares if you’re really trying to hit those 4,000 watch hours. Post that link!

Make and Use Playlists and Improve Watch Hours

My last tip for you is to use the power of playlists. Grouping your individual videos together into playlists that make sense because the topics are common is so powerful. To do this, go to YouTube analytics and select the playlist tab. Then select new playlist. In the top right corner, give your playlist a title and hit create. Now your empty playlist appears on your playlist list as a gray thumbnail. Click that grey thumbnail and add in a keyword rich description. Click the three little dots and select add videos. Click your YouTube videos in the pop-up box and select which of your videos you want to add to this playlist. You can select multiple playlists by holding the shift key as you click. By doing this you’re telling YouTube what of your content belongs together so when someone watches one of the videos from that playlist YouTube might recommend the rest of those videos from that playlist to that viewer, increasing your watch time. The other thing you want to do, and this is very, very important, is to actively promote those playlists in your videos. Tell your viewers you have an entire playlist about this topic and make sure they can access it by adding a card. Add them where they make sense or when you reference them, or add an end screen to the end of your video. I do have a whole playlist about earning money on YouTube. I’m gonna link to it right here Savidge Kitchen! I hope I answered your question.


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