14 YouTube Intro Ideas to Increase Retention (2024 Guide)

14 YouTube Intro Ideas to Increase Retention (2024 Guide)

Creating YouTube videos is fun. I’ve made hundreds of YouTube videos and gained more than 175,000 YouTube subscribers on my channel over the last couple of years.

However, one aspect that always involves lots of creative time is the YouTube video intro. It’s the part that makes or breaks a video, making the viewer decide whether to keep watching – or hit the back button.

And if they hit the back button… well, all the work that goes into creating a great video goes down the drain. And that’s not good.

In this article, I’ll share the best YouTube intro ideas you can use in your videos to hook viewers, increase retention, and make your brand memorable.

What Are The Best YouTube Intro Ideas?

Here are the best YouTube intro ideas sorted by different categories.

Branded YouTube Intros

Building a brand around your content becomes easy when you can be at the top of your viewers’ minds.

Here are the various ways you can do this using brand intros.

1. Animated Logo Reveal

This classic way of starting YouTube videos used to work a charm. When you have a consistent animated logo at the beginning of your video, you’re building your brand one content piece at a time.

Viewers will start associating your logo with your brand. Over time, this sets you apart from your competitors.

However, if you’re after overnight success, this tactic won’t get you there alone. That said, it’s one of the puzzle pieces to use.

A well-designed animated logo reveal also shows a degree of professionalism. This means you should put in some effort when creating your logo (or hire someone who does this professionally).

After all, your logo will represent who you stand for as a personal or professional brand.

Moreover, consider any sound effects or unusual animations that can help you stand out. Sound effects like whoosh or clicks can make your logo reveal process unique.

The same applies to animations. There’s nothing wrong with the typical fade-in/fade-out animations. However, they don’t necessarily stand out.

2. Kinetic Typography Intro

Have you heard the expression, “so satisfying to watch?”.

That’s what I think about when I see a smooth typography movement that grabs my attention and forces me to pay attention.

A kinetic typography video introduction is more appealing than a static image.

Text can also convey essential information quickly about your channel and specific video. This helps the viewer know he is watching the right video and shouldn’t click away.

With such text being versatile in how you can use it in your intros, it’s a great asset to consider as a video content creator.

3. Character Intro

youtube character Intro

People love stories that revolve around characters they can resonate with.

Successfully introducing the main character(s) in your video and sharing with your audience why they should care about them means you’ve hooked them.

If you use the character intro and that character happens to be yourself, don’t make the mistake every other YouTube channel does. Don’t start with the boring, “Hi, I’m [name], and in this video, I will…”

Find a way to start your character intro in a moment of high drama, an unexpected situation, or a story with high stakes.

You want your viewers to be immediately invested in what they’re watching. Then, you can use the character you introduced in a story that gets your message across.

Using this character also makes sharing your brand’s values (what you stand for and against) easy.

4. Live-Action Brand Showcase

Let’s say you’re a fashion video content creator. You specialize in the latest clothing trends.

What if your video intro dropped the viewer off into a live demonstration of the latest fashion show? A show that’s visually engaging and sets the tone for the rest of the video?

Using high-quality media to connect with your viewers makes your YouTube intro powerful.

It’s also a great tool to build your brand identity and show viewers they are watching the right content. This “real-world” intro makes your channel much more relatable than starting with a hypothetical situation.

5. Time-Lapse Intro

A stunning time-lapse is an excellent way to brand your video intro and make it stand out.

This type of intro depends on the content you’re creating – however, with some imagination, you can find multiple ways to use a time-lapse in your content.

Whether you’re filming a dog chasing a ball, the sun going over a cliff during sunset, or even cars driving by, a time-lapse forces people to pay attention.

This is a great way to increase video retention in a world of doom-scrolling (i.e., mindlessly going from one video to another).

Time lapses also convey lots of information while setting the mood. They also don’t take up much video time. They allow you to get to the main video content quickly.

Story-Driven Intros

Let’s now get into story-driven intros. Storytelling and video content go hand-in-hand. The right story forces people to pay attention and (depending on your audience) shows them how you can help them with any problems they face.

6. Start with a Question

youtube question intro

Before going into a story, engaging your viewer with a question has multiple benefits. For instance:

  • You get them to think about the possible answer
  • You help them recall their own life experiences
  • You force them to pay attention to your video to find out the answer

If you ask a question, ensure it’s relevant to your video and valuable to your audience.

Moreover, ensure you address the answer immediately – or even better, mention you’ll answer it later in the video after you do X, Y, and Z.

Having these open loops (more on this later) is a great way to keep people watching.

Asking questions at the start of your video also makes viewers feel like they are participating in your videos. They are no longer passive watchers. Instead, they have a stake in the content they’re watching.

7. Tell a Personal Anecdote

Personal stories are a great way to build a (deep) connection with your audience. Starting your YouTube video intro with a story immediately makes the video personal.

Why? Consider the alternative.

You can speak about what someone else did. So can everybody else.

However, only one person can talk about what happened to themselves. And that’s you.

Being vulnerable when sharing your stories is essential. You don’t have to reveal your deepest secrets. However, the more you share, the better the relationship you build with your viewers.

8. Use Humor

Intros that use humor grab the viewer’s attention while setting the right tone for the video.

Generally, this would be a positive tone – however, you can also use various elements of humor (such as sarcasm, irony, or even wit) to set the tone you want.

Also, remember that boredom kills all interaction. No one wants to be bored – especially when watching YouTube content for entertainment. Do your best to never be boring.

Funny videos also have a better chance of getting shared, which helps get more people to discover your content. Win-win for everyone.

9. Highlight a Challenge/Experiment

Another great YouTube intro idea is immediately mentioning a challenge you’ll take on in your video. If you also let the viewer know you’ll reveal what happened at the end of the challenge (towards the end of the video), that’s even better.

Mentioning a challenge is great to get the viewer’s curiosity to an all-time high. This keeps them glued to their screen, wanting to know how it ends – positive or negative.

You can also use this type of intro whether you’re creating educational or entertaining videos. In other words, you could always introduce a challenge in your videos.

Another benefit is that these challenges make your videos unique. The reason?

Not many content creators make use of this type of intro. If you take on this challenge (pun intended), you stand apart.

10. Share a Surprising Fact

youtube fact intro

Did you know that scientists recently found honey that’s 3000 years old? Moreover, you could buy this honey online and consume it in your kitchen as it’s still as fresh as ever….

I don’t know if it’s that true or not. It’s a “fact” I just made up. Sorry about that.

Having a surprising fact (also laid out as a question) can do wonders for your YouTube video introduction.

Such facts add value by teaching your audience something they potentially didn’t know – making great educational content.

These facts can spark conversation, increase your video comments and the number of people sharing your content.

Action-Packed Intros

Want your videos to pack a punch? An action-packed intro is what you’re after.

Here are the best YouTube ideas for this type of intro.

11. Epic Intro Clip

The idea is that you give a preview of what’s to come.

A video montage intro comprises clips from the highest points in your video. These clips contain the most emotion and depend on the type of video you’re creating.

For example, think about a video of a police car chasing a group of four bank robbers who are getting away in a supercar. The police car is struggling to keep up, but suddenly, helicopter backup shows up. The robbers realize they now have to evade the helicopter and decide to jump off a flatbed truck on the side of the highway into the valley below.

youtube epic action intro

Quite a scene, right?

What if your video intro starts in slow motion when the robber’s car is in mid-air? During this slow-mo, you can see close-ups of the bank robbers’ faces as they realize this is a do-or-die moment (literally).

Your video can then get to the start of the above scene and build up to the moment of high tension.

By starting from the moment of high drama, your audience will be hooked. They’ll want to know how the robbers got there and, maybe more importantly, what happened after.

The visual appeal of this type of intro is hard to beat. Giving a preview of what’s to come encourages the viewers to stay put while increasing their emotional investment in your content.

While you might not be creating videos about cops and robbers, you can always find the moments of high drama in your videos – and use these in your introduction.

12. Show What’s at Stake

You can also start your video by presenting a problem or a set of obstacles that require a solution.

Focusing on the urgency of finding this solution – and what happens if the main character doesn’t – helps viewers become more invested.

The more viewers can identify with the issue, the likelier they will keep watching.

13. Create Suspense

youtube suspense intro

Using suspense in your video intro is another way to get viewers hooked.

This is another one of those intros you can use irrespective of your content.

Whether you’re creating a video about:

  • the latest core Google update (did my site lose all its rankings?)
  • a product launch (what are the new features you can’t miss?)
  • or a viral video (will this cat survive the 20-floor fall?)

…there are always ways to use suspense to your advantage.

14. Showcase Your Skills

Showing off your skills while creating an action-packed intro can work well. This is all about being the authority and expert in your subject matter and finding a unique way to show this.

For example, if you’re creating a video about how to make the perfect cup of coffee, why not have your intro showing you:

  • Grinding your beans to the right level
  • Frothing your milk
  • Doing your latte art
  • And are you enjoying that cup of morning coffee?

The way you create your footage will play a significant role here. You can always take inspiration from action movies to help you turn the mundane into the exciting.

Elements of a Great YouTube Intro

Going through the above YouTube intro ideas, you might already see how to transform your videos moving forward.

To add to the ideas, here are a few additional ones for intros that stand out and increase viewer retention.

Keep It Short And Sweet (5-10 Seconds)

Your intro should be just that. Go on for too long, and you will lose the viewer. Instead, aim for an intro that packs a punch while getting straight to the point.

Combining Intro Ideas For Maximum Results

You don’t have to settle for one intro over another. If you feel your video could do with multiple intro ideas, combine the best of both (or more) to create something unique.

Use High-Quality Visuals And Audio

Being professional in your intro sets the viewers’ expectations.

With video standards being relatively high nowadays, you need high-quality video and audio no matter what type of video you produce.

Align Your Intro With Your Channel’s Branding And Personality

The “cops and robbers car chase” mentioned above sounds fantastic.

However, if you’re teaching people how to start an online blog, it might be tough to tie it in with the rest of your video.

Your channel’s branding, personality, and overall niche topics should all go hand-in-hand.

A/B test different intros to optimize performance

Sometimes, a video intro doesn’t seem to do the trick. You get clicks to your video, but retention drops off immediately after the first few seconds.

While this isn’t ideal, it’s relatively easy to recreate the intro (with a new idea) and test it out.

Then, compare the two video intros to see which keeps people watching.

Removing emotions from your video creation and analysis process (and taking a scientific approach instead – seeing what the numbers are saying) is a great way to optimize your videos’ performance.

What Happens After Your YouTube Intro?

You’ve got a great YouTube video intro. People are watching the first few seconds and immediately get hooked. That’s great.

Here are some ways to ensure consistency throughout your video.

Place Hooks Throughout The Video

keeping people hooked during your video

People will lose attention if you don’t give them a reason not to. Placing multiple hooks in your video that lead to the grand payoff (see below) is a great way to keep their attention.

Your intro could have a hook like:

  • “In this video, I will teach you how to…” or
  • “Have you ever wondered how to…?”

Then, in the main content, you should have additional hooks.

If you’re teaching people how to fish in the main content, you could have additional hooks like:

  • “In a minute, I’ll reveal my “secret trick” to catch more fish!”
  • “Keep watching to see the top 3 ways I bait a hook properly.”

I used a fishing example on purpose. Just like fishermen hook fish, you’re hooking your audience to keep watching.

Grand Payoff

Having a grand payoff for your video is a great way to get people to watch till the end. It’s even better if your “mini-hooks” can guide viewers towards this big payoff.

The grand payoff is the main reason someone would watch till the end. It’s the “big itch” that viewers will want to scratch off before moving on with their day.

Provide Educational/Entertainment/Edutainment Content

Your content must be valuable to your viewers. Whether you want to educate, entertain, or both, focus on the value of your content to get people to keep watching.

Consider your audience’s pain and pleasure points and ensure your content addresses these.

Provide A Call To Action

What happens when someone finishes watching your video? Do you want them to watch another video in a series, go to your site, subscribe to your channel, etc?

Be very specific with the actions you want them to take.

Someone watching your content for an extended period will want more – make it easy for the person to get this.


There you have it – the best YouTube intro ideas and the elements that make up a great intro.

Whether you go for cool YouTube intros, text featuring the video title, a slideshow intro, or an animated intro, your video intro can make a big difference to your overall YouTube channel.

Using the above ideas will increase people’s time watching your YouTube videos. As a result, you can start a YouTube channel business, monetize your video content, and start living the content creator lifestyle.

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