The YouTube Blog announced they have adjusted their ranking algorithm to include the time a video was watched.
YouTube said they experimented with this ranking factor with suggested videos and it lead to “less clicking” and “more watching” and thus feels it is a good idea to add to the overall YouTube Search ranking algorithm.
Part of this announcement, YouTube also added the time watched statistics to video producers YouTube Analytics dashboard. You can access the time watched statistics under the “Views” report. There is a section labeled “Estimated minutes watched.” Here are screen shots from two of my videos I made in the past few weeks:
You can see that while the Apple Maps published on September 28th has over twice as many views as the Google EMD video published on October 5th, the time watched on that video is less than the Google EMD video. In fact, I have five times the minutes watched on the Google EMD video than I have views on that video. Which may be why it ranks number one in YouTube for [Google EMD].
Google’s YouTube wrote:
The experimental results of this change have proven positive — less clicking, more watching. We expect the amount of time viewers spend watching videos from search and across the site to increase. As with previous optimizations to our discovery features, this should benefit your channel if your videos drive more viewing time across YouTube.