Room to improve: a micro case-study on audience retention

5th October 2018
audience retention

When it comes to channel-focused digital content marketing, improving performance isn’t always about big ideas. In fact, more often than not, it’s the tiny details that are the most important. Paying close attention to particular aspects of content performance and making small tweaks as we learn more about audience retention doesn’t sound glamorous. Yet, it’s how we get the best out of our content. To illustrate this, we’ve put together a ‘micro case-study’ on a recent piece of content that we’ve been adjusting at a granular level in order to continue improving performance.

The concept: entertaining, weekly, destination-based quiz content

The idea behind this piece of content is simple. As we tend to focus on a new destination each week on social media channels for our client National Express coaches, we start each Monday with a fun quiz. This includes clues to the next location, and followers have to guess where we are going next. Previously image-based, our first tweak to improve performance of this piece was to swap out static stock images for more organic content. For this, we created a dynamic polaroid camera animation. This first improvement proved successful, with the ‘Guess the City’ animation becoming one of our most popular posts each week in terms of both views and engagement. However, thanks to our ‘always room to improve’ mentality, we didn’t stop there!

The question: How do you make a top-performer perform even better?

Looking at the number of views a video has had can only tell you so much. A great way to understand whether people are actively watching and enjoying your content is to analyse audience retention statistics.

Upon a detailed measurement of our top-performing ‘Guess the City’ animation pieces, we noticed that though audience retention was good, it could be better. We were losing a fairly significant chunk of viewers before the 5-second mark, so we asked ‘why?’ When rewatching our animation with this in mind, we realised 5 seconds was how long it took for the animated polaroid camera to appear on the screen. This meant that many viewers had stopped watching before our animated camera had started ‘printing photos’ (the most important part!). Theoretically, reducing the time this intro took would increase audience retention as it would grab attention even earlier.

The result: Fantastic, but never perfect!

After re-editing the animation, our theory proved correct. Audience retention shot up, even more, proving that finding something that does ‘well’ and continually creating it isn’t good enough. Analysing content from an audience point of view will always highlight further areas for improvement.

As well as this micro-study on audience retention, we also made tweaks to improve engagement even further. This included adding a small prize incentive to encourage comments, as well as tweaks to relevancy. (E.g. basing destination clues on audience location insights).

These constant micro-improvements mean that all of our content types just keep on getting better. And there’s no end in sight. As soon as we even get close to ‘perfection’ with one content type, it will probably be time to swap it out altogether! The great thing about content marketing and audience retention is that demands are constantly evolving. We must be adaptable with it, never afraid to question what has been done before in order to move forward.