Content Creation

How Long Should a YouTube Intro Be - Basics, Ideas & Examples

Vukasin Ilic 6 min read
Table of Contents

YouTube videos are made up of many parts.

The very first one should be the introduction. This section can have many benefits, including letting your audience know what’s coming up while also hooking them into sticking around.

Creating the perfect intro isn’t as easy as it sounds, though. You need to write and say something that gives value to your video, while also finding a good length.

Otherwise, viewers might drop off within a few seconds. That would lead to many other problems, like low retention rate and low average watch time. Remember, these are critical to your video's success.

And that's why we think that a YouTube intro can make or break your video.

So, read on for some basics, ideas, and examples on how long a YouTube intro should be, as well as some benefits of having one, and how to know if you should make it longer or shorter.

What Is Considered A YouTube Intro?

An intro is the first section or chapter of your YouTube video.

It can include a welcome message, an introduction to you and your channel, and a round-up of what you’re going to talk about in the video.

Some creators confuse the intro with the bumper of the video. A bumper is a quick shot that can include your logo, channel name, and theme tune. Bumper is more like a title page than an introduction.

Here’s an example from a channel called Noize London.

The host teases the viewer with some humor by saying that he has a secret that no-one else knows. The bumper comes next with the Noize intro music, then the host, Fabio, introduces himself, the channel, and what is coming up.

The humorous intro, bumper, and main intro take up around 30 seconds.

Why Having An Engaging Intro Is Important?

With the right kind of intro, you can hook viewers into watching the rest of the video.

If your video is information-dense, your introduction can let your audience know what to expect while also adding some intrigue as to what is coming up.

They’ll feel engaged and want to hear your thoughts or explanations on the topic. In this way, your audience retention stats increase.

Depending on the channel you are running, you can also show a certain level of professionalism.

Videos with professional intros tend to come from channels that have a branded message. This helps raise brand recognition if you include a slogan or welcome message in every video.

These kinds of messages can help the viewer feel more comfortable and included in a community that recognizes the channel’s brand.

So, before signing off on your intro script, ask yourself these questions:

  • Will this hook the viewer? Or drive them away?
  • Does it look professional?
  • Does it increase brand awareness and recognition?
  • Is it informative?

How Long Should a YouTube Intro Be?

YouTube intros should be up to 10 seconds long, but the shorter the better. However, there are some exceptions to this rule.

If you don’t need a 10 second intro, don’t do one.

Aim for the lowest amount of time possible. Viewers are watching your video to get a better understanding of the topic, not to watch an intro. With attention spans getting shorter, you want to get your message across as soon as possible.

Intro should be about hooking your audience, and it’s not the highlight of your content.

On the other hand, if 10 seconds really isn’t enough, make the intro longer. If you have a 15-minute video on self-improvement, 10 seconds might not be enough to go over the different topics you’ll talk about.

So, aiming for 10 seconds works well, but you should always be as concise as possible. Only include information that really needs to be there. Present your brand and your topic, then move on.

Ben Johnson: Lighting for YouTube Videos - Make Your Videos STAND OUT

In this video, the host quickly introduces himself and hooks the viewer with a change in lighting.

He does this in 10 seconds, then moves on to the bumper.

There is some more information before moving on to the main topic, but the main hook is brought in very quickly.

How To Check The Efficiency Of Your YouTube Intros?

If you’re not sure if your intros are working well, you just need to check your stats.

Audience retention metrics like average view duration and average percentage viewed are good indicators of the quality of your intro.

When you’re studying these analytics, YouTube will emphasize the first 30 seconds of the video.

This is usually when the biggest drop-off occurs. If you can hook your audience in under 30 seconds, it's way more likely they’ll watch until the end.

Intros that are too long or that don’t hook the viewer will make the audience move on more quickly. This will show as a quick drop-off on the metric graph mentioned above.

Audience retention tends to drop off throughout the video, no matter how engaging it is, so keep that in mind.

Don’t worry if there is a slight drop during the intro. This is normal. But if there is a steep decrease, you’ll need to make some improvements.

You can find these metrics by following these steps:

  • Sign in to YouTube Studio.
  • Select a video in the Content section.
  • Choose Analytics from the left side menu.
  • Scroll down to the Audience retention area, where you will see Average view duration and Average percentage viewed. Below these values, you’ll have the graph that shows when viewers are exiting the video or rewatching sections over time.

How To Create A Great YouTube Intro

Mastering intro creation can take time. You need to understand how your audience reacts by studying your analytics and figuring out what they want to see.

Here are some tips for creating great intros:

  • Keep it short
  • Don’t get complicated
  • Stay on-brand
  • Think about subscribers and first-time viewers

Keep It Short

As mentioned above, keep your intro to the most concise point possible.

10 seconds can work well, but think about how long your video is in total.

If it’s over 10 minutes long, up to 30 seconds can be okay. If it’s under two minutes, 10 seconds might be too long. Having any kind of intro might even be too long.

Depending on the video type, some users may not even care about the intro.

They don't want to know more information about who you are and your latest life updates (unless they are relevant to the video). If the video is supposed to have a solution to a specific problem, then get to it immediately.

Think about your own viewing habits. Would you watch a 10 second intro when the whole video is only one minute and 30 seconds? Probably not.

Don’t Overcomplicate It

You don’t need a grand explanation about what’s coming up.

You need to avoid giving-away the entire premise of the video. Pick a few of the most important points and focus on them. After that, you should add a hook or teaser of some kind so that viewers have a reason to stick around.

If they felt like there's no unique or quality information to be found in your video, then they are very likely to drop off and don't come back.

Stay On-Brand

Your intro should be the section where you become a recognizable face (or voice) to your audience.

Have a standard intro message that you use every time. It doesn’t have to be exactly the same, but keep it familiar from video to video.

Think About Both Subscribers and First-Time Viewers

If you’ve built up a community of viewers who are subscribed to your channel and come back regularly, most of them won’t mind about the intro too much. If it’s a bit too long, most will stick around anyway. However, don’t test their patience.

On the other hand, you should also think about first-time viewers. Will they keep paying attention if you spend time on silly jokes or boring explanations?

Try to focus your energy on creating an intro that will appeal to your whole audience.

You want your subscribers to feel at home with you, while inviting new viewers to stick around.

Bottom Line

Having an intro for your YouTube video isn’t essential, but it can have its benefits. Brand awareness can give your channel a recognisable style and audience retention is what will increase your stats.

Aiming for an intro of around 10 seconds can work well. However, make sure to be as concise as possible. The longer the intro, the more likely it is that your audience will stop watching.

Just remember to keep it short and simple, stay on-brand, and modify your intros to best suit both new and regular viewers. With these tips, you can hook an even larger audience for your channel.

Do you create intros for your videos? How long are they? Feel free to share your ideas with other readers in the comments section.


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