YouTube Analytics Guide – Help and Tips

By | Last Updated: 11th September 2019 | This post may contain Affiliate Links

YouTube is obviously a popular platform to use for many people, after all with such a huge user base it can be hard to ignore. The key to success on YouTube isn’t just about fancy titles or tricking their algorithm, in most cases success comes through constant improvements.

YouTube Analytics is a vital tool that you should definitely use, so you can find out how optimise your video strategy for success. It’ll show you many metrics from your average viewer time, where they viewed the video from, what makes people click off your videos and so on.


YouTube Watch Time

Typically, one of the most important metrics you’ll need to keep an eye on is the 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.

You may wonder 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 element behind YouTube’s algorithm – so the aim is to obviously get users to spend more time watching your videos for higher performance in YouTubes rankings.


Audience Retention

Of course, watch time alone won’t help you’ll also need to review other metrics such as Audience retention. You can use the Audience retention report to get an overall measure of how well your video keeps its audience. Use the report to see the average view duration for all videos on your channel, top videos or channels listed by watch time, audience retention data for a precise video for different time frames and relative audience retention for a video compared to the YouTube average for similar videos.

A good tip to keep in mind, is to pay close attention to the first 15 seconds of every video – that’s when viewers are most likely to drop off.

Remember, you can view audience retention by organic traffic, traffic for paid skippable video ads and traffic for paid display ads. You’ll only see reporting for the type of traffic that the video gets, so if you don’t have paid ads, you won’t see a graph for them.


Views Per Unique Viewers

Another good metric you should also look at is the Views Per Unique Viewers. You can use ‘Unique viewers’ data to see unique viewers and get a clearer picture of your audience size, or the estimated number of different people who came to watch your videos over a given time period. Whether they watch on desktop or mobile, or watch more than once, that person counts as one unique viewer.

The data measures the total reach of a video by accounting for cases when people may watch content on different devices or when multiple people share the same device. The system includes data from all devices and includes both signed in and signed out traffic to estimate the number of viewers.


Real-Time Report

A lot of marketers also love the Real-Time report which is available in YouTube Analytics, you can use the Real-time report to see estimated views data for the last 25 published videos. For channels, you can also use this report to see the total views for all videos on the channel. Real-time data is estimated and meant to provide general guidance on potential view activity on your videos. This report can give you early insights into the performance of your most recently published videos and might help you change their promotion strategy for the better.

Quick Tip

The real-time graph refers to the local time zone of the viewer as determined by the computer’s setting. Data automatically stays updated on the analytics page but note that there’s a latency of a few minutes between the occurrence of the view and its display in the report.


Audience Demographics

Equally marketers and business owners also love the data relating to Audience Demographics, the Demographics report helps you to understand the age range and gender distribution of your audience.

This data is based on logged-in viewers from all devices. You can look at different graph types, dimensions (categories that you can use to divide the data in the report) and combinations of dimensions to gain further insights.

You can also add several different dimensions to your report to dig deeper into the data. For example, if you’d like to see the top videos on your channel watched by females aged between 20 and 30.


Traffic Sources

Remember all if you’re attempting to sell a product or service, you’re marketing campaigns need to identify your traffic sources, luckily YouTube also offers this metric for you to use. The ‘Traffic sources for views’ report shows the sites and YouTube features that viewers use to find your content. You can use it to gain an insight into the many ways that viewers find videos. Generally, on YouTube there’s two different types of traffic sources, traffic from sources inside YouTube and traffic from sources outside of YouTube.

Traffic from sources within YouTube includes all watch time and views on desktop, YouTube mobile apps and other features within YouTube. This tends to include Impressions, YouTube search, Suggested videos, Browse features, Playlists, Channel pages, YouTube advertising, Video cards and annotations, Notifications, Campaign cards and End screens.

Quick Tip

Traffic from sources outside YouTube means watch time and views resulting from links outside YouTube, such as Google search, Facebook and other websites. This may include traffic from websites and apps that have your YouTube video embedded or have a link to your YouTube video. It may also include traffic from direct URL entry, bookmarks and unidentified apps.


Likes and Dislikes

Another good metric you should study is your likes and dislikes. The Likes and Dislikes report summarizes how many people liked and disliked your videos.  It shows the net change of likes and dislikes in your videos by counting the number of likes/dislikes added, minus the number of likes/dislikes removed.

Use the Compare metric button to compare the total number of likes/dislikes to other video metrics, including interaction metrics such as likes/dislikes added and removed, or subscribers and favourites change.


Subscribers Report

Equally for some the Subscribers report can also beneficial for their marketing as it shows how you’ve gained and lost subscribers across different content, locations, and dates. Subscribers are viewers who tend to interact more with your content and watch your videos on a regular basis.

The number of subscribers that you see in YouTube Analytics may be different than the subscriber count on your YouTube channel. The number in YouTube Analytics is delayed by approximately 48 hours. This is because YouTube want to make sure the numbers are 100% accurate, so they perform additional verification and spam reviews. You can use the Subscribers report to understand your effectiveness at building a base of subscribers, what videos drove subscriptions or caused people to unsubscribe and where your content is popular.


Sharing Report

You may also be interested in the Sharing report too, which shows how many times your content has been shared through the Share button on YouTube, and what sites viewers are using to share your videos (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, and so on). Other social media platforms can play a huge role in the success of your videos. So, it’s important to understand how your videos are being shared.

As you can see, YouTube Analytics is a filled with fantastic insights which you can use to improve your videos and grow your channel. Remember, YouTube’s algorithm rewards high Watch Time and Audience Retention. So, work to keep viewers engaged and coming back for more.

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Professional Marketing Expert with extensive experience within traditional and digital marketing, business and e-commerce. Also proficient with several coding languages, web development and more. Equally this is re-enforced through over ten years of experience plus a UK university degree - educational accomplishments include being awarded prestigious accolades such as Best Dissertation Award and Citation Awards.