Your Guide to YouTube Analytics

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YouTube is the 2nd largest search engine on the web after Google, and if you’re a business looking to take advantage of this platform and experience growth, you’ve got to be able to track whether your YouTube marketing efforts are working or not. YouTube Analytics can help you to keep track of your YouTube marketing efforts and provide you with valuable information that will help you create valuable content that your YouTube subscribers can engage with, increase your channel’s YouTube views, as well as help you get more real YouTube subscribers. So, get ready to jump into the world of YouTube Analytics.

How to make use of YouTube analytics?

  • First, log into your YouTube account and select the profile icon in the upper right side, followed by Creator Studio that’s beside the cogwheel icon.
  • You’ll be directed to the Creator Studio dashboard, where you can view basic analytics on your screen.
  • A menu will appear on the left of this panel from which you can select Analytics to be able to use the main dashboard for YouTube analytics.

YouTube metrics you need to pay attention to

Now that you’ve got a general idea about what YouTube Analytics is, let’s jump right into the key metrics you need to track to be able to access information that can promote business growth, increase the number of YouTube subscribers, and help you get more YouTube views.

The three main sections for metrics to track are:

  • Watch time reports
  • Interaction reports
  • Revenue reports

Watch time reports

Through watch time reports, you can learn more about who the viewers are watching your videos, how they happened to find you, and on what devices they are watching.

Watch time and views

Watch time and views may be on the same page, but they’re both unique. YouTube views are counted in terms of 1 view if a video is watched for at least 30 seconds. Watch time shows how many minutes someone has dedicated to watching your videos for the previous time period. You can get detailed video breakdowns by selecting a specific video at the screen’s bottom. Although YouTube views are a vanity metric since their numbers can be artificially increased, they’re considered to impact channel growth because the greater number of YouTube views would mean more optimization of content and better rankings so that your videos show up on the search engine.

A more helpful and accurate metric is the average view duration, which is watch time divided by the total number of YouTube views. Average view duration can be checked for each video or for your channel as a whole. The likelihood of your content appearing in suggested/recommended video lists on YouTube increases when you have a higher average view duration since it means that you have high retention rates and can keep people glued to YouTube.

Audience retention

Audience retention metric helps to measure viewer engagement over time and also lists out your best performing videos as well as gives a comparative analysis of your videos against that of others on YouTube. Audience retention is measured by the percentage of the video watched. 2 types of audience retention can be tracked on YouTube:

  • Absolute audience retention

With absolute audience retention, you can see exactly what video moments are most watched as well as where people are dropping off. You can use it for your high performing videos to see what your YouTube subscribers and others are enjoying the most as well as for poorly performing videos to gain insight into the type of content your YouTube subscribers and others are not engaging with.

On YouTube, the 15 minutes at the beginning of the video are crucial. If you see a high drop off rate there, address your topic from the get go, switch up or shorten your introduction, add a different thumbnail/video description that reflects your content more precisely.

  • Relative audience retention

Relative audience retention helps to measure the performance of your video against other videos on YouTube that are just as long.


With demographics, you get access to information about age, geographical location, as well as the gender of the people contributing to your YouTube views. It’s crucial to get to know your audience when you’re trying to promote business growth on YouTube. With this metric, you can check if you’re targeting the group you had set out to when you started your YouTube marketing, find ways to tailor your content to suit the audience you want to attract or even discover a brand new target group to cater to with your content which you hadn’t previously considered.

Playback locations

With playback locations, you can see if your content is being watched within YouTube or elsewhere. Knowing the playback locations for your videos helps to make decisions about ad spending on different platforms so that you get to maximize your ROI. You can gain a better understanding of your audience’s watching habits that can help to better inform marketing campaign decisions.

To know about the traffic generated for your videos from external sources, select “Embedded in external websites and apps,” which will bring up details of all the places where your videos were watched.

Traffic sources

Analyzing your traffic sources can help you find out how people are coming across your videos. Is it from your appearance in another YouTuber’s playlist? Is it influencer marketing or YouTube ads? Is it because people are using a particular search term? You get to see which sources are working to accelerate your business growth and which sources could benefit from a little help.


With this metric, you can track how much of your content is watched from desktops, tablets, mobile phones, smart TV, or games console. The devices people watch usually guide the type of content watched. Knowing what devices people watch content on can help to make decisions about the type of content to post so that you can get more real YouTube subscribers and generate more YouTube views for your videos.


If your videos are available in multiple translations, this metric can help you keep track of which languages people are watching your videos in.

Interaction reports

Engagement/interaction metrics show how well you capture your viewers’ attention and sustain it with engaging content.

YouTube subscribers

The main data for YouTube subscribers includes a number of YouTube subscribers gained and retained in the time period chosen. You can also choose the Source option under the YouTube subscribers metric to see which videos have contributed the most to an increase or decrease in the number of YouTube subscribers your channel has. More number of YouTube subscribers means they get notified whenever you post new videos and engaged YouTube subscribers contribute to more YouTube views that can fetch your channel higher rankings.

Likes and dislikes

Likes and dislikes allow your audience to interact with your content and express themselves with a click and more likes results in better YouTube SEO ranking for your channel. If you’ve made a video on a topic that has polarizing views, dislikes reflect those who may fall on the other side of the argument. Dislikes, however, don’t represent your ideal audience’s opinion, but tracking both is crucial to make decisions about your future content.


Comments help to keep track of how many comments you have on your channel as well as for individual videos. For popular videos on your channel, you can read comments posted in order to understand what’s motivating your audience to connect. Responding to comments is a great way of showing your audience that you care, and you’re listening, and this can help to grow your number of YouTube subscribers. You should also monitor comments to flag abuse/spam and make sure you maintain a safe environment for your YouTube subscribers.


Shares provide more useful information than likes because they show that people are encouraging others to watch your videos. Using the sharing service filter, you can see the platforms your videos are being shared on as well as filter shares by date, geography, or device.

Annotations and cards

At present, annotations and cards work only on desktops, and you can track click-through rates of these for your videos.

End screens

End screens are a great way to retain viewers on mobile devices, and you can keep track of performance by comparing the number of clicks with a number of end screens.

Videos in playlists

You get to see how many times viewers have added your videos to any of their playlists with this metric, either as an overall picture or for individual videos.

Revenue reports

January 2018 saw YouTube tightening its rules for monetization through the channel where only YouTube channels that have 4,000 hours of watch time and at least 1000 YouTube subscribers are eligible for ads, provided they’ve adhered to YouTube’s regulations.

The Revenue reports data helps to know about the money you’re making on YouTube within a specific time period as well as sources of your revenue streams.

Estimated revenue shows expected total income from Google sold ads while estimated ad revenue shows expected income from AdSense and DoubleClick ads.

Data from revenue reports can help you keep track of videos that are most profitable, analyze earning patterns, and make adjustments to your marketing plan on YouTube accordingly.

With the information you get access to from using YouTube Analytics, you can make better decisions for your YouTube marketing campaign and accelerate business growth.

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