If you want to make the most out of your YouTube channel, learning about the nooks and crannies of YouTube analytics is essential. The key to growing your presence on YouTube is not just hoping for your video to go magically ‘viral’. You need to have a better understanding of your audience and their behavior. And, that’s where YouTube analytics enter the play.
You might feel that analytics are boring or complicated, but what if it can help you affect the bottom line and increase your presence on YouTube? You just need to know when and what you have to look for. By quantifying the success and failure of your videos, you can narrow down your opportunities and create content that your audience actually likes to see.
After Google, YouTube is the second largest search engine. People around the world watch one billion hours of video every day, making up an amazing 37% of mobile internet traffic. That’s a reason good enough to work on the platform and expand your brand’s reach.
In this article, we’ll take you through-
- The metrics that are important for you to dig into and,
- Tips on how you can improve them.
The amount of insight that you will gather about your audience is just incredible. From the number of times your videos are watched to the number of unique viewers, from finding out the best time to post to knowing your top-performing content – YouTube analytics has got it all. You name it, you have it.
So basically, it is a treasure trove of insights that you can use to improve the overall performance of your channel.
Where to find your YouTube analytics?
- Log in to your YouTube account on a desktop.
- On the top right corner, there will be your profile icon. Click on it and select ‘YouTube studio’.
- Here, you will see some basic analytics in the middle of the screen. Navigate to the panel on the left-hand side.
- Click on ‘Analytics’ to go to the main dashboard of YouTube analytics.
Alternatively, you can go to “www.youtube.com/analytics“ to access the data. If you wish to see the insights using your phone, you can download the ‘YouTube Studio’ app, which is available for both iOS and Android users.
Now, let’s take a deep dive into the fun part.
12 Key Metrics to know in YouTube Analytics
While on the dashboard, you can see your overall channel analytics. In the ‘Overview’ section, you can see the list of videos that you have uploaded. Under each video, there will be an option to see individual video analytics. When you click on it, you’ll find a gold mine which contains the following:
1. Video views and watch time:
When a person watches your video for 30 seconds or more than that, it is counted as one view. The success of your video is usually counted on the basis of views it gets. The number of views also include repeat views by the same viewers.
Watch time is the amount of time that people spend in watching your videos. If your watch time is high, it means that viewers are pretty much enjoying your content. It is, in fact, one of the top factors for ranking on YouTube.
Pro Tip: To increase the watch time, make sure that your title and thumbnail are clear enough for people to understand what to expect from the video.
2. Average view duration:
When you divide your watch time by the total number of views, you will get an extremely important statistic – the average view duration.
“Watch time ÷ views = average view duration”
This same metric is also available in a percentage form, besides minutes and seconds. If you are having a high average view duration, YouTube will get the idea that people are liking your content and are watching your videos from start to end. Thus, it will boost your video and it will appear higher in search results.
If the video has a low average view duration, it is a sign that people are not engaging with your content.
Pro Tip: Keep your intro short and to the point. Let your audience know what you will be covering in the entire video. This will likely increase your view duration and make your channel rank higher.
Impressions are the number of times people saw your video thumbnail while scrolling on YouTube. If the number is high, it indicates that your video is showing up in the search results or suggestions. YouTube analytics also shows the number of views that you receive through impressions, i.e. the click-through rate.
A higher click-through rate is a sign that your thumbnail and title attracts people enough to go on and watch your video.
The ‘watch time from impressions’ is the amount of time people spend watching the video after starting it.
Pro Tip: While uploading a video, use relevant keywords and key-phrases in the title as well as the description. This will make your video appear in the results when someone searches for those keywords. If you are not sure about which keywords to use, you can do some competitor analysis and take ideas from their titles and descriptions.
4. Unique Viewers:
‘Unique viewers’ shows the number of people that have watched your videos at least once. If a person watches your video for 10 times, the views will increase by 10, but the unique viewer will be counted as 1 itself.
You can compare this metric with the total views to get an idea of how often people are re-watching your videos. When you have a lot of unique viewers, it means that your videos are probably viral in your niche!
Pro Tip: Share your video links as much as possible on social media platforms to get more unique viewers. Also, ask your subscribers to turn on notifications and to share your videos in their friend circle.
5. Traffic source:
Traffic source gives an in-depth analysis of where your viewers find your video. The sources can be:
- YouTube search – It is when people use certain search terms/keywords and find your videos.
- Channel pages – It is the traffic received when people watch a video after coming on your YouTube channel page.
- External sources – This is the traffic from websites or apps that embed your videos or leave a link to them.
- Suggested videos – These are the views received from suggestions alongside or after completion of another video.
- Browse features – It is the traffic that you get from the homepage, the subscription feed, and other browse features.
Pro Tip: Through these stats, you can see which sources bring you the most traffic, and work more on increasing presence on the same.
This metric breaks the viewers down on the basis of the country they belong to. If your channel is targeting a particular country (or countries), you can keep a check on this metric to see whether your videos are reaching to the right people or not.
For instance, when your target audience involves people from neighboring countries, but you are only getting traffic within your country boundaries, you should consider optimizing your content. You can add subtitles or make your videos available in different languages to maximize your reach.
Pro Tip: While writing the description of a video, you can use relevant hashtags or keywords that are popular in your target countries.
7. Viewer age and gender:
Along with the geographical location, getting to know your audience’s age groups and gender is important to make informed and targeted marketing decisions. You can also target the people that you haven’t considered previously.
Let’s take an example. Say that you are an India based YouTuber who makes travel vlogs. You are expecting that people in the age group of 18-30 will watch your videos. But, looking at the analytics, you find that you have a considerable amount of traffic coming from the age group of 30-45.
Now, with this knowledge, you can slightly tailor the tone of your content to retain all the age groups.
Pro Tip: Adopt a strategy and make videos to win back your expected demographics and increase your reach in the newly discovered ones.
8. Subscription status:
This metric will break down your video views on the basis of your subscribers and non-subscribers.
- Subscribed – It is the views received from people who are logged in and subscribed to your channel.
- Non-subscribed – It is the activity/views from people who are either logged out or not subscribed to your YouTube channel.
If you have a large number of views coming from non-subscribers, try to encourage people to subscribe to your channel in the video itself. Let them know about the quality notifications that they will receive when they subscribe.
Pro Tip: Examine the topic of videos that are watched more by non-subscribers. Is it because the topic is relevant, but was previously uncovered? Or is it because that content isn’t relevant to your channel, but is popular? Adjust your video strategy accordingly.
9. Subscription source:
This will show you the source from where your channel is getting subscribers. The sources are divided into the following categories:
- YouTube search – This includes subscriptions gained from search results.
- Your YouTube channel page – This is when people come to your YouTube channel and then subscribe.
- YouTube watch page – Subscriptions received from the subscribe button on video watch pages are shown here.
- Closed accounts – This shows the reduction in your subscriber count caused by removal of closed or spam accounts.
- Other – This shows the increase or decrease in subscribers from sources other than those mentioned above, including subscribe buttons kept on websites.
Pro Tip: To increase your subscribers, head back to your most-watched videos, and make more content on the same topics.
10. Device type:
In the device type, you can check the percentage of people that watch your content using Mobile phones (smartphones and handheld gaming devices), Computers (laptops and desktop computers), Tablets, and TV (smart TVs and set-top boxes).
Device types may affect the type of content that people watch on YouTube. Mobile users generally watch videos on the go, so they prefer shorter and low sized videos. Desktop or tablet users tend to indulge in longer videos and playlists.
Pro Tip: Find a balance, as people watch YouTube videos on every device. After making a video, test it on different screens and make sure that smaller elements are visible properly on mobiles.
11. Playlist metrics:
This data shows how effective your playlists are at attracting people. It also shows the videos that perform the best in a particular playlist. The ‘playlist starts’ shows the number of times viewers initiated playback of a playlist on your channel.
The ‘average view duration’ is estimated average minutes watched per view for the selected video, date range, geographical region, and other filters. If your audience is spending more time watching your playlist, it will overall increase the watch time and views of your channel.
Pro Tip: If a playlist has low watch time, try keeping your best performing video in the front to gain more viewers.
12. Likes, Dislikes, Comments, and Shares:
All the above-mentioned YouTube analytics are visible only to you. But, the likes, dislikes, and comments on your video are visible to everyone out there. That’s why people generally judge your popularity on the basis of these things.
Similar to views, a considerable amount of likes also affects the ranking of your videos. You would definitely not want any dislikes on your videos, but if there are enough likes to balance them, there is no harm.
You should constantly keep an eye on the comment sections. Try to reply to most of the comments, if not all. If there are any inappropriate comments, flag them as spam to keep your channel’s environment safe.
Through the number of shares that you receive, you can easily judge the popularity of your videos. They show that people actually think your video is worth sharing with their friend circle.
Pro Tip: Don’t hesitate. Ask people directly to like and share your video. Trigger a question in the video and ask people to comment their views in the comment section.
YouTube Analytics Adds ‘First 24 Hours’ Metric in 2021
YouTube is adding a new analytic that will enable the users to analyze the performance of a video after 24 hours of publishing it. Apart from the total view count, this data of the first 24 hours was never available to creators before. Now, you can access it from the YouTube creator’s studio under the video analytics section.
To see this data, select the option of ‘First 24 hours’ in the date picker on the right-hand upper corner. After selecting this option, you will see a full set of data for the first 24 hours after the video got published. It will look something like this:
At the top of the screen, you will see a summary of the views that you got on your video. This quickly informs you of the number of views that you got in the first 24 hours and compares it with the average views that you got on your previous videos in the same time frame.
As you scroll down, you will find the total watch time that your video accumulated in the first 24 hours. You will see how many subscribers you gained or lost during that time. You will see the revenue that you earned if your video is monetized.
This data will be available for all newly published videos. If you wish to see this data for older videos, it will be available for videos that were published after 2019. This data will not be available for any video published before 2019.
Compare 2 videos side by side
While the above data is helpful to see how your video performed in the first 24 hours, you can dig even deeper. Along with the 24 hours data, YouTube is now enabling creators to compare 2 videos side by side. This is an amazing feature when you want to figure out which kind of videos perform better on your channel.
The comparison will look something like this:
The graph will show you how both of these videos performed in comparison to each other. Below the graph, you will find a gold mine of data related to the traffic source of both the videos:
- Browse features: These are the views received from YouTube recommendations.
- Notifications: These are the views received from subscribers when they click on the notification.
- Channel pages: These include the views received when people click on your channel page and watch the video.
- External: This shows the views received by people coming from external sites, such as social media or forums.
- Direct: These are the views received by people who navigate to the URL directly.
Comparing the fluctuations in the Browse metrics over time could help you in finding out how YouTube’s recommendation algorithm is working for your videos. Also, keep a check on the notifications metric. If the number starts to drop noticeably, it is a signal that your subscribers are not finding your new videos interesting. Use these analytics to curate more content that will be liked by your audience.
Breaking down all this data is important. Not only for analyzing the performance of your current content, but also to decide what kind of videos to create in the future.
It might appear intimidating at first, but you need to get knee-deep in YouTube analytics if you want answers to all the questions related to your audience. Even if you have grown a lot, this analyzing process should not stop.
So, which metric are you going to check out first? Let us know in the comments below!
Amaiya Rathi is a content writer at RecurPost. She helps RecurPost communicate with their readers in their own language. Whether it is the web copy, social media posts or blogs, Amaiya has worked on all aspects of copywriting.