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YouTube Hacks: How to Hook People in the First 30 Seconds

3 min

How do Google and YouTube decide whether you video is good enough for the homepage, or whether it comes up in suggested videos? There are a few key metrics involved, but can you guess the most important one? Watch time.

You see, YouTube wants to get the most eyeballs on its videos for the longest amount of time. So if people click your videos and watch 10 minutes of one video, then 5 minutes of another, YouTube loves it. And they’re more likely to feature your videos…

But if viewers are quick to click off, it tells the algorithm to downgrade your video. Then, you’re less likely to appear in search and suggested videos.

Watch time is crucial. The longer people watch your videos, the better.

So, how do you increase your video’s watch time? You need to hook people in at the beginning – specifically in the first 10-30 seconds.

Today, we’ll give you some strategies for doing exactly that. Let’s get into some YouTube hacks.

How to hook people in the first 30 seconds of your video

Keep It Short

The hook should be less than 30 seconds. Otherwise, it’s not really a “hook” – just a drawn out introduction. In general, the quicker you can hook people in, the better.

All you really need is 10-15 seconds for a solid hook.

Then, you should start getting into the “meat” of the video (i.e. the reason people clicked to watch it in the first place.)

Use Visuals

Charisma on Command is a rapidly growing YouTube channel – and they are masters of hooking people in at the beginning of their videos.

One of the ways they do it is through visuals. They post multiple images related to their video topic in the first few seconds, while playing a voice-over.

Check out this video to see how they do it: Why the Starks Will Always Get Betrayed. (And make sure you watch at least the beginning, because we’ll be referencing it a bit throughout this post, because Winter is coming!)

Now, after watching the beginning, you shouldn’t be surprised that the video has over 800,000 views and counting. One of the reasons is they have an interesting barrage of images at the beginning.

Think about your video topic – what kinds of images could you post at the beginning of your videos?

Tease the Value Proposition

Let’s go back to that Charisma on Command example again…

In the hook, they include a very compelling value proposition. They show that they’re so sure that the Stark men are destined to betrayal due to their poor judgement, with the first example of Eddard Stark being betrayed by his “friend,” Little Finger, which leads to his beheading.

(Hello, he was in love with your wife!)

Poor Ned…

At this point, viewers are already hooked. They know that by watching the rest of the video, they’ll get some hard evidence as to why the Starks are cursed, and why they won’t survive the Game of Thrones.

So, what’s your video’s value proposition, and how can you tease it?

Let’s look at another example. Let’s say your video is about 5 signs you should quit your job and become an entrepreneur. To tease the value proposition, you can say something like, “The moment I decided to quit my job and become an entrepreneur, everything in my life completely changed. If I had ignored these 5 signs, I never would’ve started a successful business and traveled the world. So, pay close attention!”

Make a Human Connection 

This is all about giving your viewers something they can personally relate to. It can be as simple as making a quick statement. For example, let’s say your video is about how to naturally lose weight. You could start by asking, “Have you ever struggled to lose weight, even though it felt like you tried everything?” This will get your viewers nodding their head, and they’ll feel like you understand their problem.

Then, you can tease them with the value proposition, and say something like, “Well, I felt the same way, until I figured out the solution you’re about to learn in this video.”


Your video’s performance and popularity are correlated to how long viewers watch it. In order to keep them watching longer, you need to hook them in at the beginning. This gets them excited for the rest of the video and maximizes watch time.

What are some other ways you’ve tried to hook people in at the beginning of your videos? Let us know in the comments below!