YouTube Video Structure: How to increase video view duration, subscribers, and likes on your channel.


Creating a YouTube gaming video is hard. 

You’ve got to collect gaming footage, video yourself, have great sound, edit your video, and you need to be entertaining enough so you don’t bore viewers off your channel into the arms of IGN.

But, what’s even harder is finding a structure for your gaming videos that keeps your viewers engaged.

Sounds hard, right?

Well, I’m about to help make structuring your YouTube videos a whole lot easier. 

In this article, I’ll show you the exact structure that all my content, including articles, videos, and courses use. A structure that has seen CareerGamers’ articles get an average read time of over 7 minutes and collectively drive over 150,000 visitors a month to the website.

Does a structure that almost guarantees an increase in viewership interest you? 

Then read on to discover a content structure that will revolutionize your YouTube channel.

But first, why do you need a video structure framework? Let’s take a look…

Why Your Gaming Videos Need a Structure

There are a number of important reasons why your videos need a structure. I’ve listed most of them below:

  1. A video structure helps you create a repeatable framework for your videos. This helps to speed up video creation and frees up your mind for the more creative task of actually creating the content in your video. Think of a video structure as buying a prebuilt house. Instead of worrying about building walls, floors, and ceilings, you can move into a pre-built home and focus on the creative tasks of decorating and internal design. 
  2. A video structure speeds up the editing process as you know exactly what needs to go where and when in the video.
  3. A video structure speeds up planning. By having a structure you know that the beginning, middle, and end of your videos are always going to be structurally the same. When planning your video, you can fit your ideas into the structure, instead of reinventing your video structure every time you create a new video.
  4. Most importantly, the video structure in this article is a time-tested proven way of increasing the percentage time watched for your videos. The video percentage time watched analytics metric is the single most important metric that Youtube uses to rank your video. Basicly, the higher the percentage watched of your video, the higher Youtube perceives the quality of your video. Additionally, a good video structure will hook the viewers and stop them from bouncing away from your video.
  5. You can make premade video templates, that follow this structure, in your editor of choice.

Now we have five good reasons why you should use a video structure. The most important of which is the ability to keep viewers watching longer. 

In the next section, I’ll introduce a bird’s eye view of the video structure so you can get an idea of the framework as a whole.

My Youtube Video Structure

The structure that I am about to introduce to you is made up of three main sections along with a number of smaller but no less important sections. Let’s take a look at each in order:

  • The Hook
    • Length – 10 seconds
    • The hook is a quick 2 to 3 sentence description of the video’s content. It is designed to immediately communicate exactly what value the video will deliver and to stop viewers bouncing away from your video.
    • The hook should be no more than 10 seconds long but it is crucial to your video’s success. I’d say it’s the most important part of your video. This is where viewers learn that they are in the right place and that the video is going to fulfill the promise that the title and thumbnail made for the video in the search results.
  • Branding
    • Length – Less than 5 seconds
    • As soon as your hook is finished you should play your logo intro. This logo intro should be no more than five seconds long. Any longer and there is a risk that people will get bored and bounce away from your video.
  • Main introduction
    • Length – 60 seconds
    • In the main introduction, you should take a minute to introduce the video’s content in more detail. You should tell the viewer exactly what value the video is going to deliver. You should take this moment to hint at the amazing benefits awaiting the viewer at the end of the video. 
  • Introduce Sponsor
    • Length – 10-15 seconds
    • If you have a sponsor for your video, introduce it here. However, do not make the mistake of talking about your sponsor too much or try to immediately sell the sponsor’s products. Viewers will just leave. You’ll talk about your sponsor in greater detail later. If you don’t have a sponsor, you can ignore this.
  • The main body of content
    • Length – 2mins – 60mins+ (However long it takes to deliver the value you promised)
    • The Main Body of Content is where you deliver the value promised by your video’s Thumbnail, Title, Hook, and Main Introduction. If you promised to show the viewer how to find better armor in Elden Ring, now is the time to show them. Make sure you include lots of detail. Halfway through this section, you can try to work in a natural “Like and subscribe”. Close to the end of this section, It’s a good idea to hint at one final amazing piece of content such as showing the actual armor in action, before introducing your sponsor.
  • Main Sponsored content
    • Length – 60 seconds
    • If you have a sponsor for your video it’s time to insert the full sponsor’s ad in this section. The main ad should only ever be delivered after the main body of content. If you don’t have a video sponsor yet, ignore this section. 
  • Summary of Benefits
    • Length – 60 seconds
    • Now you are near the end of your video, it’s time to summarise the benefit you promised the viewers. For example, if you told the viewer how to get cool armor in Elden Ring, show them the amazing armor in action. Show yourself mowing down hordes of enemies or dispatching bosses with ease. You want to have a big payoff for your watcher. You want them to feel as if they have lived the experience and emotions with you.
  • Call to action
    • Length – 15-20 seconds
    • Finally, once all the value has been delivered to the user it’s time for you to ask them to take action. Ask the viewer one final time to “Like and Subscribe” to your channel. Also, remind them how important it is to your channel’s growth. Additionally, you should ask your audience a question that they can answer in the comments.

You may notice that the structure of this YouTube video framework roughly follows the tried and tested presentation technique of the 3Ts:

  • Tell them what you’re going to tell them
  • Tell them
  • Tell them what you told them

However, the structure deviates from this to incorporate modern practices such as hooks and asking viewers to subscribe. Overall, the structure can be applied to pretty much any video type. And, it almost guarantees to increase your views and your average video view length.

In the following sections, I’ll explain each step in the framework in more detail.

1: The hook

30% of viewers stop watching Youtube videos within the first 10 seconds, according to Vidiq.com. This figure increases to over 66% after 30 seconds. 

It’s the job of the hook to decrease those percentages as much as possible and keep people watching for longer.

The hook is by far the most important part of your video. Make sure you have one.

The main reason why so many viewers jump ship from a video so quickly is that the video, in the first 10-15 seconds, hasn’t communicated the promised content quickly enough. 

What do I mean by promised content? Well, your Youtube video thumbnail and the title show and describe what value the video contains or what it should contain. The thumbnail is a promise to the viewer that, if they click, they’ll get the content and value shown in it.

Fancy learning how to create Attention-grabbing thumbnails that will pull in thousands of extra video views? Then check out my YOUTUBE THUMBNAIL MASTERCLASS Course on Udemy. Sign up now for FREE while the coupon lasts.

However, as soon as the video starts you need to reiterate that promise. You need to tell the viewer exactly what the video’s content is again and why it has value for them.

If you don’t do this, viewers will leave.  

The hook is by far the most important part of your video. Make sure you have one.

In the first 10 seconds of your video, you must make sure that you do 3 things. They are:

  1. Use 2 to 3 sentences to describe the main content and value your video will deliver.
  2. Make sure the content and value match your video’s thumbnail and title.
  3. Include footage that hints at the amazing benefit the viewer will get. Keep in mind the hook should not show the viewer how to get the benefit, as viewers will just stop watching here.

2: Branding

After the hook has played out, you should show a quick brand intro. And I do mean quick. 

What do I mean by showing a quick intro for your brand? Well simply put, you need to show your logo.

You can make a simple animated intro of your logo in Canva. Or, if you’d prefer something a little more flashy, get somebody on Fiverr or Upwork to make you a logo intro.

This branded logo intro will help develop recognition for your channel and what it does. Plus, a brand help build and extend trust, in your videos and content. So that when somebody sees a video with your logo on it, they know they are getting your particular brand of quality.

But, above all, make sure it’s no longer than five seconds. Any longer than 5 seconds is self-indulgent. More importantly, your viewers will get bored and leave. 

3: Main Introduction

Your main introduction is an opportunity for you to fully outline and summarize the up-and-coming value the viewer will get by watching your video. 

As a general rule, the main introduction should be no longer than one minute in length. 

For example, imagine you are making a video about how to get a particular piece of armor in Elden Ring (Yes, Elden Ring again!). You might start your introduction by showing how cool the armor looks, why it’s better than any other type of armor, and what builds it’s best for.

Also, it’s very important, even this early in the video, to hint, only hint, at the amazing benefit the viewer will get by the end of the video. Going back to the armor example, you could show, very briefly, the armor being used to defeat a particularly tough boss.

In this section, you want to be building desire in the viewer. A desire for them to experience the benefit so that they continue watching. 

At the very end of the introduction, after you’ve built desire in the viewer, you’ll want to naturally lead them into the main body of the content by having a “Lead-in” sentence or two. This sentence or two will bridge the gap between the main intro and the main body of content. 

If you have a sponsor, you’ll want to quickly insert an introduction to your sponsor. More on that next. 

4: Introduce the Sponsor

If you have a sponsor for your video, now is a good time to introduce them. 

Keep in mind that this is only an introduction and that you’ll talk more about them later. 

If you want to hint (We do a lot of hinting here at CareerGamers!) at the sponsor’s main benefit, then promise to reveal more later in the video.

With that in mind, keep this sponsor intro short, no more than 10-15 seconds. 

Any longer and the viewers will think you’re trying to make a hard sale, and they will leave. 

For example, this is what I’d say to introduce my sponsor: “This video is sponsored by Asus ROG gaming laptops. America’s top high-end gaming laptop, as voted for by you, the gamers. I’ll take a look at these laptops, and some hefty discounts, later in the video.“

Even though sponsors are an important monetization method on Youtube, never compromise your viewers’ experience. After all, you’d have never got the point of getting a sponsor without putting your viewers first. 

5: Main body of Content

The main body of content is where you deliver the bulk of your video’s value. 

The main body should cover everything you promised to talk about in your video’s Thumbnail, Title, Hook, and Main Intro. 

For example, if you promised to help the viewer find the best armor in Elden Ring (Yes, I love Elden Ring), you should now show them exactly what steps to take in order to find the armor.

Viewers will leave if you fail to deliver on what you promised at the beginning of the video. And your video will plummet to the bottom of the Youtube search results never to be found again. 

It’s also worth keeping in mind that this section, unlike other sections in this video structure, can be as long as it needs to be to deliver the value promised to the viewer.

In one video, this could mean the main body of content is 2 minutes long. Yet, in another video, the main body section could be an hour or more long.

However, be warned: The main body of content should only be long enough to deliver fully on your video’s promised value, and no longer. 

Do not think that by stuffing your video with unrelated content that viewers will stick around to watch it. They won’t. 

And this stapled-on unwatched content will only hurt your video’s ranking as it will mean your video is being watched for a smaller percentage of its overall length.

It’s far better for a video to be watched 9 minutes out of 10 than 10 minutes out of 15. One has a 90% total percentage time watched and the other has a 66% total percentage time watched. And percentage time watched is the single most important video ranking and promotion factor on Youtube. 

It’s also worth noting that halfway through this section you should ask your viewers to “Like and Subscribe” to your channel. It makes sense to ask that question in this section as you are in the middle of providing amazing value to your viewer. And if the value delivered has been good enough up to this point the viewer will subscribe when asked in order to reciprocate that value.

The main body of content should only be long enough to deliver fully on your video’s promised value, and no longer. 

Also, If you have a product you’d like to sell, you can carefully insert a Call to Action (CTA) in this section. But, you should do so tactfully. A hard sell will drive people away from the video and leave the bitter taste of your channel in their mouths. Instead, try to insert a product promotion naturally by linking the product promotion to something you are doing in the video. 

Now you know that the main body of content is where you should deliver the value that you promised in your Thumbnail, Title, Hook, and Main Intro. Your main body of content can be long but no longer than it needs to be to deliver your value. Halfway through you should ask the viewer to “Like and Subscribe.” And lastly, if you have a product for sale you can insert a very brief call to action.

In the next section, I’ll talk about adding the second part of your sponsored content.

6: Main Sponsored content

Now that your Main Body of Content has delivered all the value you promised, it’s time to deliver the Main Sponsored Content. 

Earlier, right after the Main Introduction, you introduced your sponsor for 10-15 seconds. 

Now you get more time to actually sell the sponsored content. 

In the example I gave earlier, I talked about ASUS gaming laptops. In this Main Sponsored section, I’d go into more depth about those products. I’d talk the viewer through the benefits Asus gaming laptops can bring to their gaming. I’d then end the section by making a Call to Action with a link to a discount in the video’s description. 

Keep in mind that the Main Sponsored Content section should be no longer than 1 minute in length. 

7: Summary of Benefits

The Summary of benefits rounds off the end of your Youtube video’s structure.

You should now take the time to summarize all of the key benefits the video has delivered. Remind the viewer of what they will get if they take action after watching your vid. 

For example, if your video shows the viewer how to get a particular piece of armor in Elden Ring (Yes, it’s the Armor example, again.), you should now demonstrate the amazing benefits that the armor will bring to the viewer’s gameplay. 

In other words, you want to live out the benefit that the viewer will get from your video.

Here’s another example: Imagine you’ve just reviewed a new sports car, and that, in the main body of content you’ve talked about how tightly the car handles and how powerful the engine is. In this final section, you should show yourself reaping the rewards and experiencing the benefits of the car yourself. That way, the viewer also gets to experience them with you. This heightens their desire to take action at the end of the video.  

Be sure to show plenty of footage of you experiencing the benefit of the value delivered by your video.

Try to keep the summary to no longer than 1-2 minutes long. If you make this section any longer viewers will leave before you deliver your final Call to Action.

Sadly, people’s attention spans these days are very short. So keeping your veiwer’s attention is a constant battle between delivering great content and being succinct.

8: Call to Action

After your Summary of Benefits, you want to provide one final call to action. 

The Call to Action is a request to your audience to take a positive action that benefits you and your YouTube channel, including: 

  • Commenting in the Youtube comment section.
  • Asking viewers to click a link in the description.
  • To like the video.
  • To subscribe to the channel.
  • To click the bell icon.
  • To go to your Patreon page.
  • To visit your website.
  • And many more actions.

You should always have a Call to Action at the end of your video.

If somebody has liked your video so much that they stuck around to the end, they are a prime candidate to become a channel subscriber. So remind them to subscribe. 

After all, they may have forgotten that they wanted to like and subscribe because they were so excited by the value you gave them in your video.

If somebody has liked your video so much that they stuck around to the end, they are a prime candidate to become a channel subscriber.

Also, it’s always a good idea to ask the audience to comment on the video by asking them the question: What would you do next? And then elaborating on that question. 

By asking them a question and challenging them to answer in the comments section you are putting the content creation ball in their court. The challenge to come up with the best answer will be too tempting for many viewers and you should get plenty of comments.

Also, be sure to thank the viewers for watching the video.

Conclusion and summary

In this article, I’ve talked about the multi-stage content structure and framework that you can use with your YouTube videos. There are a number of reasons why you should use a content structure for your videos, including:

  • A repeatable structure speeds up video creation
  • Speed up editing
  • Increases the speed at which you can plan your videos.
  • Increase your viewer retention
  • Increase the length of time people watch your videos.
  • It helps you make video templates.
  • You can focus more on creating great content.

And here’s a reminder of the structure:

  1. The Hook
  2. Branded logo intro
  3. Main introduction
  4. Sponsored content intro
  5. The main body of content
  6. Sponsored content
  7. Summary of Benefits
  8. Call to Action

And that’s the structure you should use to boost your video viewership, and get more likes and more subscribers.

Please feel free to use this infographic on your own site. Though I would appreciate a link or shout-out on social media if that’s not too much trouble. 🙂

The CareerGamers Newsletter

Sign up for my CareerGamer newsletter and, every month, I’ll send you an email stuffed full of my latest articles, guides, interviews, downloadable resources, news, and more.

Sign up using the form below.

Subscribe to our Youtube Success Newsletter

* indicates required

Subscribe to our Youtube Success Newsletter

* indicates required

Nick Sinclair

Having played games since the golden age of the Commodore 64, Nick finally took the plunge and studied Creative Game Design in university. After 3 years of "Study", Nick co-founded a games company where he soon discovered his true calling: writing about games. 11 years later Nick writes about a tower of topics, but gaming is always stacked neatly at the top.

Recent Posts