This 2-minute tweak will boost your YouTube retention

August 11th, 2023



min read

This week I’ve got a super simple tweak for your next script.

But it’s the kind of adjustment that could have a big impact on retention once you start doing it.

The bad news? You’ll need to unlearn something you’ve been conditioned to do for years.

The good news? It’s not hard!

Buy a bin. Like, right now.

I’ve got to admit something…

I still have no idea why Ali Abdaal keeps talking about how useful “owning a bin” is.

Ignoring the bizarre nature of the subject matter, it’s just… obvious 😂

But that’s not all.

We’re told, “you should own a bin” and then told, “here’s why”.

But if we care about audience engagement, the structure of this delivery is inefficient.

And once you understand why, you’ll learn exactly how to present information in a more engaging way…

Unlearn this…

The problem we’re trying to correct stems from how we talk to each other.

In conversation, it feels natural to present information like this:

“I’m cutting meat from my diet because X.”

“If you wanna make loads of cash, do X.”

“You should own a bin because X.”

This is fine in a casual chat.

But, in YouTube terms, it’s a retention disaster.

The problem with ordering information like this is simple:

It gives the audience permission to skip ahead.


Because you’re giving the answer first and the explanation second.

Let’s see how this looks in practice:

A few months ago I reviewed this video by the ex-Olympic Boxer Tony Jeffries (the chap who trained Michelle Khare recently!)

But Tony fell into the “answer first, explanation second” trap.

At the start of each tip, he’d say:

“This is the tip.”

Then he’d demonstrate it.

The result?

Retention was shaky.

The issue was that, as soon as Tony said:

“Tip number 9, throw a double or a triple jab!”…

…I’d completely understood the segment.

I no longer needed to watch the demonstration and, if I were short of time, I could happily have skipped ahead.

So… how do we fix this?

The joy of this problem is that it’s an easy fix.

Here’s what I suggested for Tony:

Why not simply reverse the order of information?

Rather than naming the technique, then demonstrating it…

He could begin the segment by demonstrating the technique.

Then he could ask the audience to observe his actions (e.g. “can you see what I’m doing here?”)

Lastly, he could clarify what the technique was…

By reversing the order of information, we’re now doing something audiences LOVE.

We’re making them feel smart.

Because now they have to interpret what’s happening before they get told.

We’re no longer giving them the answer on a plate, but asking them to engage and figure it out themselves.

In my experience…

It pays to assume your viewers are intelligent.

So don’t spend ages dissecting something that’s easily understandable in seconds.

If you’re building something my audience would love, you can get it in front of 1100+ creators!

Sponsor Write On Time

⚡️ Action Item

  1. On your next video, try “Explanation first, Answer second“.
  2. Buy a bin.

If you want to see me talking about this (and more!) at length, check out this interview I did with Jamie Whiffen 👇

That’s all for now!

Speak soon,

George 👋

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