Do you use YouTube Analytics?
Because without it, you’re shrouded in darkness.
You have to guess which video topics will be successful. You’re left hoping that your content resonates with viewers. Basically, you have to cross your fingers each time you upload a new video.
Worst of all, you may be making the same mistakes or missing incredible opportunities, over and over again.
Remember, knowledge is power.
That’s why we’ve put together this guide on 11 powerful metrics that you can track in YouTube Analytics.
These simple numbers and graphs can help you make impactful decisions that massively improve your videos and grow your YouTube channel.
Sound good? Let’s jump in.
- Say Hello to Your New Best Friend: YouTube Analytics
- 1. Understand the Importance of Watch Time
- 2. Examine Your Audience Retention
- 3. Check Your Views Per Unique Viewers
- 4. Keep an Eye on Your Real-Time Report
- 5. Explore Your Audience Demographics
- 6. Identify Your Traffic Sources
- 7. See How Impressions Relate to Watchtime
- 8. Track Your Card Click-Through-Rates
- 9. Study Your Likes and Dislikes
- 10. Pay Attention to Social Shares
- 11. Monitor Your Subscriber Rate
- Learn More!
Say Hello to Your New Best Friend: YouTube Analytics
The key to YouTube success isn’t clickbait titles, gaming YouTube’s algorithm, or hoping that one of your videos goes viral.
The real key to YouTube success is constant improvement.
You need to understand your audience inside-out. You need to create high-quality content that provides real value. And you need to form a personal connection with your viewers.
These things require a deep understanding of your viewers and your niche.
YouTube Analytics is an invaluable tool that’s ready to clue you in on exactly how you can optimize your video strategy for success.
It’s a goldmine.
It’ll show you what keeps people glued to your content and what makes people click off. You’ll understand why people share some videos, but not others.
It’s ready-and-waiting – all you have to do is use it!
The YouTube Analytics Dashboard
First thing’s first: To access your YouTube Analytics dashboard, click your profile picture on any YouTube page, and then click “Creator Studio.”
Then you’ll be taken to the new YouTube Studio dashboard.
Next, click “Analytics.”
And you’re in! This is where the magic happens, my friend.
Now, at the top of the YouTube Analytics dashboard, there are five tabs. The first is an overview and then there are four tabs which contain metrics relating to what you’d like to achieve:
- Reach Viewers
- Interest Viewers
- Build an Audience
- Earn Revenue
To learn more about a particular metric, simply click on it to expand it further.
YouTube Studio VS. Creator Studio
Before we dive into the metrics, you need to know that YouTube has recently upgraded its analytics from “Creator Studio” to “YouTube Studio Beta.”
Now, there’s good news and bad news.
The good news is that the new YouTube Studio Beta dashboard is far more intuitive and easy to use than the older Creator Studio. However, the bad news is that it launched without some of the features available in the older version.
So until YouTube finishes building all of the features, you need to switch back and forth to access some analytics.
Let’s take a quick look at how to do this.
The image below shows the new YouTube Studio dashboard. In the left-hand column, you can view the missing features, and the link to switch back to “Creator Studio Classic” near the bottom of the page.
The image below shows the older Creator Studio.
When using the classic Creator Studio today, you can click the link at the top of the left sidebar menu to switch to the new YouTube Studio Beta.
Now, we’re going to cover 11 metrics today.
Some of the images are from the new YouTube Studio, and some are taken from the Classic Creator Studio – but don’t worry, it’s easy to tell the difference between the two.
Here are 11 powerful metrics you can use to improve your videos and grow your channel.
1. Understand the Importance of Watch Time
There’s no denying that Views are a vital metric to track when determining the success of a video. But they’re far from the whole story.
Views alone can’t provide you with the insights you need to make impactful changes to your video strategy.
Instead, it’s best to focus on Watch Time.
Watch Time is the estimated total minutes people spent viewing your content. YouTube uses this metric to measure and predict the performance of a channel or video.
It’s so important, YouTube places it front-and-center on the YouTube Analytics Overview tab:
Why does YouTube value Watch Time so much? Because it’s the clearest indicator of how engaging and valuable a video is.
This is why Watch Time is the main driver behind YouTube’s algorithm.
Plus, it’s not only individual videos that are ranked by Watch Time, but entire channels too. According to YouTube, “Channels and videos with higher watch times are likely to show up higher in search results and recommendations.”
So the aim is to get viewers to spend more time watching your videos. And the best way to do this is simply by creating better videos that people want to watch more of.
2. Examine Your Audience Retention
Okay, so you want viewers to spend more time watching your videos, but how can you do that?
Well, you need to start by understanding how well each of your current videos holds people’s attention. That way, you can identify what works and what doesn’t.
Enter Audience Retention.
This metric allows you to see the quality of your views. With it, you’re able to uncover the point in the video people stopped watching.
The image below shows the Audience Retention graph dropping off throughout the video as users leave.
To use this tool, simply play the video, and the red-line will move along the graph throughout the video to show you when viewers leave.
Then, you can see where you lost people’s attention, identify what may have caused them to leave, and avoid making the same mistake in future videos.
You can also add a call-to-action in the form of a YouTube Card before this point to capture more leads before viewers click away.
But that’s not all.
You can also see which parts of videos best hold people’s attention and what happened in the video at that moment. You can then replicate the success in future videos.
Unsurprisingly, YouTube’s algorithm favors channels with high Audience Retention.
Now, the new YouTube Studio only shows “Absolute Audience Retention.” However, in the Classic Creator Studio, you’re also able to see “Relative Audience Retention.”
This shows you how well each of your videos retains viewers compared to other Youtube videos of a similar length.
You can only view Audience Retention analytics for one video at a time, and not for your channel as a whole. So be sure to check out plenty of videos to better learn how your viewers engage with your content.
3. Check Your Views Per Unique Viewers
Retention is a powerful thing.
The same principle holds true for your YouTube viewers. One of the easiest ways to quickly boost your views is by engaging your existing audience more.
So how can you find out if viewers are re-watching your videos? This is where Views Per Unique Viewers can help.
Views Per Unique Viewers is the number of times the average viewer watches a video. This metric shows you how large your audience actually is, and if viewers love your videos enough to re-watch them.
The higher your Views Per Unique Viewers, the more engaged your audience is.
You can view this metric for your entire channel, or for individual videos.
Be sure to check individual videos, as videos with a high rate of Views Per Unique Viewers are generally popular topics that you should aim to cover more.
4. Keep an Eye on Your Real-Time Report
YouTube works hard to remove spammy, low-quality views from totals. Consequently, it can take time for YouTube to update view counts and statistics.
This is why your Real-Time Report is so handy.
It allows you to measure the reach of your videos immediately after you release them. The report allows you to see views from the last 48 hours and the last 60 minutes across your entire channel, or for specific videos.
It’s not just exciting to look at, either.
YouTube’s Real-Time Report can help you discover spikes in traffic and relate them to real-time events.
For example, say that you post your new video on Facebook, but there’s no spike in views. Then, 20 minutes later you post your video on Twitter and the views spike dramatically. You now know that your Twitter audience is more receptive to that particular content than your Facebook audience.
If this trend continues, you can assume that your Twitter audience enjoys video content more than your Facebook audience.
With this information, you can work to capitalize on their interest.
What’s more, you may notice a spike in views that you can’t account for. In this case, after a little research, you may discover that your video was shared by an influencer or a popular blog.
You can then engage them and their audience to ride the wave of interest.
5. Explore Your Audience Demographics
Targeting is essential for marketing success.
In fact, targeted advertisements are, on average, almost twice as effective as non-targeted ads.
So you need to know who you’re creating products, services, and content for. That way, you can tailor your efforts to the exact needs and desires of those people.
YouTube videos are no different.
To get a better understanding of the types of people watching your videos, check out the Demographics page of your YouTube analytics.
These simple graphs allow you to identify your audience’s gender, age, device, location, and more. Then you can take this information to create more targeted marketing campaigns.
Plus, location is extremely important for ecommerce businesses.
You may discover an engaged audience in a foreign country you’re currently not serving and decide to expand – which is especially easy to do if you’re dropshipping.
6. Identify Your Traffic Sources
Understanding where most of your traffic comes from is crucial.
Doing so will enable you to avoid wasting resources on low-level traffic sources, and double-down on the ones that work well.
YouTube Analytics makes this easy.
Head to the Reach Viewers tab to view your top traffic sources, and click on a graph to see more information.
The image below shows the traffic sources for the Oberlo YouTube channel, with most views coming from YouTube advertising:
The second graph breaks down the external traffic sources further.
Then you can put this information to use.
For example, you may find that you’re pouring time and money into a traffic source that isn’t performing well. This would allow you to cut your losses and redirect those resources to a stronger channel.
Or, you may notice a traffic source growing steadily that you want to invest in.
On the other hand, you may discover that one of your traffic sources is incredibly strong, even though you don’t focus on it too much. This would present a fantastic opportunity to boost views by allocating it more time and resources.
7. See How Impressions Relate to Watchtime
First things first, let’s understand the variables at play:
- Impressions: An impression is when a user on YouTube sees one of your video thumbnails. This could be on the homepage, in their subscription feed, in the search results, or in the “Up next” section in the sidebar of the YouTube Watch Page.
- Impressions Click-Through Rate (CTR): The Impressions Click-Through Rate shows you the percentage of impressions that turned into views. In other words, it shows how many of the people who saw your thumbnail clicked on it.
YouTube Analytics provides a simple graph to show you how many impressions turn into views, and how those views relate to Watch Time:
The Impressions Click-Through Rate measures your video’s ability to entice people to click on your video to watch it.
A high click-through rate means that you have a good title and thumbnail, and the topic resonated with people browsing on YouTube.
Now, let’s look at a common pitfall.
Say that you have a high click-through rate leading to plenty of views, but your average view duration is low.
This is bad.
It means that your video caught people’s attention, but couldn’t hold it. You’ll find this often happens with clickbait videos.
If this happens to one of your videos, review your title and thumbnail as they could be misleading.
The last thing you want to do is mislead viewers.
Doing so will make them feel deceived and manipulated. They’ll lose trust in your brand, and you may lose them as a customer forever.
8. Track Your Card Click-Through-Rates
Cards are customizable in-video panels that you can use to encourage viewers to take the desired action.
This could be to watch another one of your videos, subscribe to your channel, or visit your website.
The image below shows an example of YouTube Cards:
YouTube Analytics allows you to view each Card’s Click-Through Rate. This can help you to identify which calls-to-action resonate most with your viewers.
You can also discover the optimal timing, duration, and placement of your Cards. Then, you can optimize your Cards across all of your videos.
To view Card Click-Through Rates, you need to switch to the Classic Creator Studio.
By optimizing the effectiveness of your Card Click-Through Rates over time, you can boost other important metrics such as subscribers, watch time, or website traffic.
9. Study Your Likes and Dislikes
Likes and Dislikes provide a quick and easy way to gauge audience feedback over time.
Although you obviously want to minimize Dislikes, they’re inevitable. So it’s important to view them relative to the number of Likes your videos receive.
If one of your videos receives a lot of Dislikes, ask yourself the following questions:
- Do the title and thumbnail accurately represent the video’s content?
- Is the content relevant to my target audience?
- Does the video have poor production quality?
- Are viewers disagreeing with what is being said in the video?
You can also check the comments to learn more about potential issues so that you can avoid the same mistake in future videos.
Social media can play a huge role in the success of your videos. So it’s important to understand how your videos are being shared.
YouTube Analytics lets you view the number of shares you’ve received over time for your entire channel or individual videos.
What’s more, YouTube Analytics will show you where these shares took place:
Once you have this information, you can use it to encourage shares on the platforms where your audience is already most active.
11. Monitor Your Subscriber Rate
As your regular viewers, Subscribers provide a strong indicator of your channel’s ability to perform consistency.
It’s vital to monitor any increases or decreases in your Subscriber base.
This simple metric allows you to gauge the overall reach of your channel. Plus, it enables you to understand how each video contributes to gaining or losing Subscribers.
If you find that a certain video or topic results in gaining Subscribers, you can be sure to take advantage of it.
Similarly, if a topic performs badly and you lose Subscribers, you can be sure to avoid it in future videos.
YouTube Analytics is a treasure-trove of actionable insights which you can use to improve your videos and grow your channel.
All you have to do it use it!
Remember, YouTube’s algorithm heavily rewards high Watch Time and Audience Retention. So work to keep viewers engaged and coming back for more.
Which metric on this list have you found most useful? Let us know in the comments below!