There are plenty of tips and tricks on growing your YouTube channel, and all too many of them are subjective. That trick works well for this kind of channel, and this tip is better for that kind of channel. Unfortunately, there aren’t many hard certainties when talking about succeeding on YouTube. At least, not once you get beyond things like “don’t steal content”.
When it comes to intros and outros, the answer is a little more reliable—though still not absolute.
So, do you need a YouTube intro and outro? Yes! If you want to grow your channel and your brand on YouTube, you should consider an intro and an outro an essential part of your process. Just make sure it’s not too long and adds value to the video.
As always, we’re not going to leave it there. Let’s take a deeper dive and get into why these things are important, as well as how best to craft them to help your channel grow.
Why Are YouTube Intros and Outros Important?
There are different reasons for the importance of intros than there are for outros, so we’re going to take a look at both individually.
YouTube Video Intros
The primary reason an intro is important is new-viewer retention. If you are attempting to grow your channel, you will naturally be working to bring new viewers in all the time. Getting a viewer to your video is only half of the battle, of course—you want them to watch the video. And, all being well, subscribe to your channel.
Neither of which is likely to happen if you lose their interest in the first twenty seconds.
Your existing subscribers will have a certain amount of forgiveness about your not getting to the point in your video because they know what to expect from you. After all, they have already subscribed. But new viewers can have a tendency to click away very quickly if they get the sense that your video isn’t going to give them what they came for.
With an intro, you can quickly establish who you are and what the video is about, so new viewers will be more willing to keep watching.
YouTube Video Outros – End Cards – End Screens
As much as we hate to admit it, being reminded to click like, check out other videos and do all those other things that help the channel out, works. Viewers simply don’t think about those things a lot of the time, but a gentle reminder from you will help. Need proof?
Next time you go to the cinema, take a look around when the pre-roll ads inevitably ask the audience to turn their phones off. We all know that you’re not supposed to have your phone on—or at least have it on silent—when at the movies, but look at how many people are turning their phones off during that announcement. Reminding people works.
And it’s not like you saying “if you enjoyed this why not hit like and subscribe?” will make someone like and subscribe if they didn’t want to in the first place. Be a little wary of asking people to like and subscribe at the start of the video, however. Some YouTuber’s swear by it, but many viewers find it a little presumptive.
Beyond that, your outro is the perfect place to handle any channel housekeeping, such as thanking Patreons and recommending some of your other videos, but we’ll get more into how to put an outro together later in the post.
Should I Always Use Intros and Outros?
There will always be fringe cases where it is not appropriate to use intros and/or outros. However, these are so few and far between relative to the times when you should use them that we’re comfortable saying yes, you should always use them. In the interests of covering all the bases, however, here are some situations where intros and outros might not fit.
- Extremely short videos
- Videos where intros and outros would not fit stylistically
- “Member-only” videos
- Meme videos
As with most things, try to use your judgement. There are times when a “members-only” video warrants an intro, or where meme videos could benefit from an outro.
How Big a Difference Do Intros and Outros Make?
Hard statistics are difficult to come by; however, there is plenty of anecdotal evidence from YouTubers who have conducted their own tests. One such example is Real Men Real Style, who noted that engagement on their videos dropped by as much as 70% when they didn’t add a call to action in their videos.
Another thing to factor in is the kind of video you are making, and the viewing habits of people watching it. For example, an intensive video—such as a tutorial—will likely be a very active viewing experience. That is, it is more likely that the viewer will have sought that video (or one like it) out. For those videos, your likelihood of increased engagement will hinge on the quality of your video. But for a more casual viewing experience, the intro and outro are more crucial.
What do we mean by casual? If your video is more along the lines of entertainment, which can include things like history videos, punditry, and anything where the viewer might be just sitting back and enjoying the content like they would a TV show, then there is more of a chance they came across your video by happenstance.
Perhaps it was a recommended video in their feed, or maybe your video auto-played at the end of a different video. Perhaps they arrived at your video through social media and had no idea what they were watching at the time. In all of these cases, it is far more likely that the viewer will not be aware of you or your channel, or the kind of content you make.
By introducing your video at the start, you ensure that they at least know about your channel once they’re there. And, by placing an outro at the end, you can break the chain of auto-play, and divert your new viewer to more of your content.
Making a Good Intro for your YouTube Video
The first rule of making a good YouTube intro is not outstaying your welcome. There is no universal length of time that applies to every video but finding the sweet spot between getting enough information across in a short enough period so that your viewers don’t get annoyed or bored is key. As a general rule, fifteen seconds is a popular length for an intro.
It’s not just about getting all the information you want to get in there, however. You have to do it in a way that engages your audience. If your video kicks off with you jabbering at high speed trying to squeeze everything in like a pharmaceuticals disclaimer, it won’t go down well. But, if you take too much time, you risk your viewers clicking past the intro to get to the content. Or worse; clicking away from the video altogether.
A good way to structure your introduction is to set out what the video is about first then introduce yourself and your channel, then get into the content. This way, the viewer knows right at the top if the video is what they’re looking for, and are more likely to hang around through the rest of intro to get to the content.
One thing we can give you as a hard rule that should always be applied is this; never take longer than you have to get to the content. Be concise.
If you have branding on your channel—and, to be clear, you should have branding on your channel—make sure it features in your intro. The main point of branding is recognition. If your viewer takes nothing else away from your video, they should at least have seen your branding.
Making a Good Outro for Your YouTube Video
Outros are a different ballgame altogether. If a viewer is watching your outro, it means they have already viewed your whole video and are somewhat invested in you. While you should never waffle in your videos, you don’t need to have quite the same urgency about getting your information across in an outro as you do in an intro.
The outro is an obvious place to wrap things up, thank people, politely suggest that they like and subscribe if they liked the content and the rest. But the most practical use of your outro is to direct your viewers to more content on your channel related to what they have just watched.
This is also where end screens come in. The beauty of end screens is that they can be dynamic. You can link to a specific video or playlist, of course, but you can also have it show your latest video or the most recommended video for whoever the viewer at the time. And you can have multiple video links in your end screen.
The critical component here is that you have a call to action in your outro. That call to action could simply be liking and subscribing, or checking out another video, or even visiting your website. If you have a viewer who has watched all of your video, they are more likely to be interested in what else you have to offer. Not having a call to action, in this case, is a wasted opportunity.
Frequently Asked Questions
There are a lot of commonly asked questions around this topic, so we’ve done our best to answer some of the more frequently asked of those questions. If there’s something we missed, leave a comment below.
How do you make an intros and outros on YouTube?
Depending on your skill level, there are multiple options.
I am not skilled in design but I was about to make professional looking intro, outros and channel banner branding with PlaceIt – I was amazed how many templates they offered for cheap or even free. It’s something simple that can really level up your channel branding.
If you are a little savvier, you might want to create your own from scratch.
How do you make a YouTube intro for your phone?
While the level of control you have over your intro may be reduced when compared to intros made on a computer, there are phone apps that do a very respectable job.
One such app is Intro Maker, though there are other options available.
What should I say in my YouTube intro?
The most effective use of your intro would be to state concisely what the video is about, introduce yourself and your channel, and make sure any channel branding is shown.
How long is a YouTube outro?
When talking about an outro where you are signing off, the length is entirely up to you. Though we would always recommend being clear and to the point.
If talking about the length of time your end screen is shown, 10-15 seconds is the typical amount of time to show it before ending the video.
Having an intro and outro on your YouTube video may not be a necessity—channels can succeed without them—but we strongly feel you will be making life harder for yourself if you decide to not use them. They provide a great way to establish your branding, convey important information, hook your viewer at the start and direct them to more of your content at the end.
They are particularly useful for channels that get a lot of new traffic, as they play a crucial role in converting unique views into long term subscribers, and establishing your brand with that viewer.
Animated content for your intros and outros can be made with little-to-no experience in animation software, thanks to a wide selection of apps and web services. Be sure to make use of your end screen to drive your viewers to more content on your channel, not to mention providing them with a simple, one-click method of subscribing to your channel if they haven’t already.
If you need help with your graphics, branding, subtitles or anything else to level up your YouTube videos, I have a long list tools I used to grow my channel from 0 to 2 Million views in less than 2 years – check out my resources page.
And, remember, use this time wisely. Get the information you need to get across in as short time as you can, but do so clearly and concisely. You don’t want your viewers to feel like your wasting their time before they even get into the meat of your video.
Your intro is the first thing a new viewer will see. Make it count.