Understanding YouTube Analytics

When you’re running a website and you want to see statistics on how well it’s performing, you’d turn to Analytics. It’s exactly the same when you’re running a YouTube channel.

YouTube have their own analytics available for people that upload videos to their site. It’s a powerful tool and, while slimmed down a little from Google Analytics, can still be a lot to wrap your head around.

But learning how analytics for YouTube works is invaluable when you’re trying to find out what works and what doesn’t with your video marketing efforts.

Getting To Grips With The Overview

YouTube Analytics, like Google Analytics, presents you with an overview when you first enter it. Here, you can see all the information you could possibly want to know about how your YouTube channel is getting on at a glance over a customisable date period.

analytics dashboard

This allows you to see how your recent videos are doing, what effect that’s had on your views and subscriptions, and what demographics your videos are proving to be popular with.

Not only does the overview allow you to check out your channel as a whole, but you can also change it to show all these statistics for one particular video, country, or both!

Digging A Little Deeper

However, an overview only ever goes so far. All of the areas shown on the overview can be explored further, and again each of these reports can be customised to be either channel wide or per video, or even for a selected country.

The first section is views, which lets you see date by date how many views the channel or video has had.

youtube analytics views breakdown

This picture above is set to show views across the whole channel over the last 30 days. This spike in views came right after uploading it, and went back to normal once the interest around it died down.

Video views, the same as visits to a website, is probably the most basic way to measure success. It’s also the starting point to figuring out what works for you and your channel – there might be a reason why your video is getting a lot of views and you could use that to gain more popularity.

Hitting Your Target Audience

Beneath the video views graph is another box that shows the channels top 10 most viewed videos for the selected date range. You can change this box to show how many views you’ve had in each county by hitting the ‘Geography’ button.

youtube analytics views by location

This lets you see if you’re getting the views in the countries you want to. For most YouTubers, it doesn’t matter what country they appear in – but businesses and others who are targeting only a certain country will want to pay special attention here.

If you’re a company that only sells a product in the UK but you’re getting a lot more views in the US, for example, you might want to make a change to the videos you’re putting up to make them a little more UK focussed.

You’ll also want to check what’s going on under the demographics section.

YouTube analytics video demographics

The same goes here – if your videos are mostly getting views from 45-54 year old males when you’re really trying to target 25-34 year old females, you might want to reconsider the types of videos your putting out!

This kind of information makes these sections invaluable.

An important area to keep your eye on is the ‘Audience retention’ section. The thinking goes that the better the video, the longer it’ll keep people interested for.

YouTube analytics absolute audience retention graph

YouTube Analytics presents audience retention in two graphs – absolute audience retention and relative audience retention.

Absolute shows you the average of how many views there were at any given moment as a percentage, so you get an idea of how interested people are in your video and when their interest died off. The graph isn’t always a downward slope either – it can go up if someone rewinds the video and re-watches a certain part.

If your video is getting a lot of views but this graph is made up of a sharp drop, you might want to reconsider the content of your videos.

Relative shows you how your audience retention compares to other videos of a similar length.

YouTube analytics relative audience retention graph

What might look bad at first on the absolute retention graph could possibly not be that bad compared to other videos.

So Where Are These Views Coming From?

Under the ‘Traffic sources’ section, you can find out exactly where your getting your views from.

YouTube analytics traffic sources graph

The above graph is for the video I’ve discussed previously which caused my views to spike.

In order to find out what caused that spike, we look on this page. Here, we can see how people found the video and how many people found it from that source.

Some of the sources are a clickable link. This allows you to find out more about what brought people to the video. For example, clicking on the ‘Homepage feeds and subscriptions’ source shows me this:

youtube analytics detailed traffic sources graph

Even more data! From this, we can draw even more conclusions as to where these views are coming from.

Unfortunately, we can’t dive into all the different traffic sources like this. ‘Mobile apps and direct traffic (unknown sources)’ has brought the most views to this video, but we can’t find out any more about it. While mobile apps is self explanatory, direct traffic could be people sending the videos URL over an instant messenger or email or typing it in themselves.

Effectively utilising analytics on YouTube can mean the difference between your video marketing efforts working or going to waste. Understanding what does and what doesn’t work for your channel and who you’re attracting to your videos is vital, so getting to grips with this should be a top priority!