How I used TikTok Retention Stats to Increase Views

  • Martin Kollie
4 minute read
A dark room illuminated by the green glow of a backlit mechanical keyboard in the foreground and a laptop screen displaying lines of code, with a secondary monitor showing similar content in the background.
A late night editing session in my coworking space.


I filmed a short-form video to promote my tech startup, Tintage. It took a couple of tries to get it right, and I'm going to share my process and what I learned.

How to Get a Ton of Views on TikTok?

To get views, your video must be promoted by the algorithm, which looks at:

  • Viewer retention
  • Engagement
  • Likes and shares

TikTok provides these metrics, which can be used to improve your future videos.

Filming the Video

Sound quality > Lighting > Camera quality

People won't continue to watch if they can't hear what you're saying.

Being on a tight budget means I don't have fancy lighting equipment or a camera. So, I decided to film in my car with my iPhone 7. I chose my car as it provides a good acoustic environment and natural light. I also taped my microphone to the steering wheel for better audio.

Version 1: The First Attempt

I attempted to keep the video engaging. The first few seconds are the most important. Despite my efforts, the first version didn't perform well.

I started it with a hook:

"Do you want a rare username?"

Looking at the statistics, this helped keep people watching, as the average view duration was 5.5 seconds.

It seems like TikTok stops promoting it on the "For You Page" after 24 hours.

Tiktok results
Results for the first video
Tiktok results

At the end of the day, it ended with around 67 views, 2 likes, and 0 shares (the two likes were from myself :p). That's no good.

Version 2: Re-editing the Video

I re-edited the video to make it more interesting. I added B-roll footage, captions, and cut out the boring parts. I also added music (produced by myself) and a bunch of sound effects: swooshes, dings, and ca-chings to emphasize the points. Half-way through the video, I stopped the music and added reverb to emphasize the point that "It is more than just a link in bio site".

I then looked at the analytics of the TikTok and discovered that the average view duration was 5.5 seconds.

At this timestamp, I was explaining what it was:

"Tintage allows you to create your own page for yourself or for your business."

The part must've been boring, so I cut out that entire segment. It's understandable; viewers probably thought, "Ugh, I've seen this before."

Tiktok results
Results for the second video
Tiktok results

At the end of the day, it gained 320 views, 8 likes, and 0 shares before the views finally stopped.

All Techniques I Used

  • Use a hook to keep people watching.
  • Use text to engage the viewer.
  • Make sure something interesting is always happening on the screen to re-engage attention.

Version 3: Final Attempt

The next day, I reduced the video from 23.3 seconds to 19.6 seconds by cutting out the part at 6.7s, which is when people stopped watching.

Now, before I share the final result, let's compare it to the previous videos:

Video 1: 67 views, 2 likes, 0 shares, 5.5 seconds average watch time

Video 2: 320 views, 8 likes, 0 shares, 6.7 seconds average watch time

Video 3: 370 views, 32 likes, 2 shares, 7.2 seconds average watch time

Here are the results after posting it:

Tiktok results
Results for the third video

It's an improvement as the average viewer duration increased, but it is still disappointing.

Instagram Reels

Instagram recently released a new feature called Reels. It's basically a TikTok clone. I decided to post it there and see what happens. I posted it to Instagram Reels and gained 18.8k views and 643 likes.

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