Why is My YouTube Channel Watch Time Decreasing?

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A new article on Search Engine Journal features some guidelines from YouTube that go over the steps you can take to understand why your channel’s watch time is decreasing.

How to better understand watch time performance..

YouTube explains why channels experience drops in performance. Search Engine Journal discusses how to answer the question, “why is my watch time decreasing?” The information comes from YouTube’s Creator Insider channel, and the full article is well worth a read whether you see shorter watch times or not.

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. Keep in mind that the performance of recent uploads generally peaks within the first few days. 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.
  • 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 the 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 in 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.
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