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Understanding YouTube Analytics

Understanding Youtube Analytics - Boom Online Marketing

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 – which has its own version.

YouTube analytics is available for people that upload videos to the platform and is a great way to understand what video content is resonating with your viewers so that you can double down on similar YouTube videos for continued engagement.

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

We’re going to cover a lot of ground in this post, so if there’s something, in particular, you’re looking for, jump straight to it using any of these links:

Homepage of YT
Photo by Christian Wiediger on Unsplash

Can You Track YouTube In Google Analytics?

There are some YouTube metrics that can be tracked in Google Analytics, such as who came onto your website from YouTube, but if you want to make the most out of this channel, it’s highly recommended that you utilise YouTube analytics, as there’s so much more information you can glean and implement as part of your marketing strategy.

What Can YouTube Analytics Tell You?

We just mentioned that there’s a ton of data available when you use the channel’s own analytics, these include:

Audience engagement.

Demographics – age, gender, location.

Likes and dislikes.

Top videos.

Video views.

Audience retention.

Estimated revenue and top-earning videos.

New and returning viewers.

Traffic sources report.

Subscriber count.

Average view duration.

Impressions and impressions click-through rate.

Real-time analytics.

Unique viewers.

That’s a lot of information, potentially too much information, so it’s important to know before you create your YouTube videos what the end goal is and what metrics you’ll use to measure success.

YT on a mobile phone
Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

How Long Does YouTube Analytics Take To Update?

YouTube updates every day, just like Google Analytics. With that said, there is a real-time report that shows performance over a 48-hour period and a 60-minute time frame.

You can find this section by clicking on the ‘Channel Analytics Homepage’, then click on the ‘See More’ section and finally the ‘Real-Time Activity’ section.

How Do I See YouTube Analytics?

Of course, to glean all of the gold from your YouTube analytics, you need to be able to find it. Here’s a simple step-by-step for you to follow:

  1. Log in to your YouTube studio.
  2. Look to the left-hand menu, you should see the clickable term ‘Analytics’.

And that’s it – you’re now in your Analytics section and can start exploring all of the different reports and metrics available.

Let’s take a deeper look at some of the different reports:

How To Understand YouTube Analytics

This is a quick overview of the reports available in YouTube Studio (Analytics). We’re going to dig a little deeper:

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 period.

YT analytics dashboard

This is great if you’ve been asked for a quick update on how your video strategy is performing because it allows you to see how your recent videos are doing, what effect these new videos have 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!

Diving Deeper – Additional Ways To Use YouTube Analytics

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

YouTube Analytics By Video Viewers

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

YT analytics views breakdown

The picture above is set to show data on viewers watching across the whole channel over a 30 day period. In this example, you can see a couple of days where more viewers watched videos – the reason for this was that a new video had just been uploaded. We know that this is the cause because the average viewer watches resumed to normal levels once the interest around it died down.

Video views, the same as website visits in GA, 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.

Once you’ve published a good amount of YouTube content covering an array of topics, you can start to analyse metrics such as:

  • Overall views,
  • Unique viewers,
  • Average view duration,

And more to understand which topics interest your target audience the most. You can then use this information to guide your video strategy moving forward for increased success.

Knowing precisely what content works means you’re more likely to create videos that increase engagement and potentially revenue (if that’s the aim). Likewise, knowing what topics don’t generate engagement and cutting these out of any future strategies will reduce the time spent creating videos that simply won’t perform and would ultimately have a negative impact on your overall performance metrics.

YouTube Analytics By Country

Beneath the video views graph in your YouTube studio is another box that shows your channel’s 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 country by hitting the ‘Geography’ button.

YT analytics views by location

This lets you see if you’re getting the views in the countries you want to.

For strategies targeting subscribers or aiming to generate income via YouTube adverts at the beginning or during your videos, it might not matter what country your videos appear in.

However, if your trying to sell your products to a specific area, this metric can be invaluable.

For example, if you’re a company that only sells products in the UK you might be getting a lot of engagement and views making your overall performance look great, but when you dive in deeper you find that you’re getting a lot of views from the US.

That means that while your videos are performing well, they likely won’t be generating the revenue you’re aiming for and, therefore, these metrics are purely vanity metrics.

This is one of the reasons why it’s vital not to simply focus on the overall dashboard.

YouTube Analytics By Demographics

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

YT 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, your video strategy may look to be performing but you won’t be meeting your end goals if you’re not getting your brand in front of the right audience.

YouTube Analytics By Audience Retention

Another important area to keep your eye on is the ‘audience retention’ section.

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

YT analytics absolute audience retention graph

Absolute audient retention – This shows you on average 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.

YT analytics relative audience retention graph

Relative audience retention – This shows you how your audience retention compares to other videos of similar length. There will be an ‘average’ line in this graph, so your aim here is to create videos that rank as highly above this line so that you know you’re creating content that’s as interesting or more interesting than other videos of similar length.

YouTube Analytics By Pathway

Another great report can be found under the ‘Traffic sources’ section. Here, you can find out exactly where you’re getting your views from.

YT analytics traffic sources graph

Here, you can see how people found the video and how many people found it from that source.

Some of the sources have a clickable link, which 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, you can’t dive into all the different traffic sources like this. For example, the ‘Mobile apps and direct traffic (unknown sources)’ section isn’t clickable, so you can only see the top-level information.

While ‘mobile apps’ is self-explanatory, ‘direct traffic’ could be generated by people sending popular video URLs over instant messenger, email or by typing it in themselves.

Common YouTube Analytics Questions

We’re going to wrap this post up by answering some common YouTube Channel Analytics questions to help you benchmark both your channel performance and your individual video performance:

What Is A Good Click-Through Rate On YouTube?

The average click-through rate for YouTube videos is between 4 and 5%.
However, we wouldn’t say that this is necessarily the number you should be aiming for to prove high channel performance.
Instead, we would recommend looking at your overall click-through rate from your main dashboard and then using this as a benchmark. When reporting, you can then specify which videos are performing higher than average and which videos are underperforming for your specific account.
That way you can (hopefully) see an increased performance the more videos you create and the more you learn about your audience rather than striving to hit a potentially unobtainable metric that doesn’t necessarily mean as much.

What Is a Good Average Watch Time On YouTube?

To measure this, we recommend that you look at the percentage of time that your audience watch your videos, as each upload will likely be a different length.
With that approach in mind, you can consider between 50-60% as a good average watch time. If you manage to hit 70% or more, your content is performing exceptionally well.

Are Views More Important Than Subscribers?

YT subscribe button

Pretty much every YouTube video you watch has a dedicated section aiming to get more subscribers. This may lead you to believe that subscriber metrics are more important than view metrics, but both are important.
You could look at it like the following:
Youtube legitimate views – Particularly unique views and new views can show when new people are finding your channel or watching one of your videos for the first time.
Youtube subscriber count – This shows when a viewer becomes a fan and wants to keep up to date with your latest uploads.
Both are vital to performance and therefore are great metrics to track.

Need Help With Your YouTube Analytics?

From creative content ideation to YouTube ads or even the more technical side of setting up your Analytics to carrying out a YouTube audit, the team at Boom can help.

Please do get in touch for a chat about your channel and how we can help improve performance.

If you found this post useful, you may also find out piece on Running a YouTube Channel interesting too.

Amy Hunt

Amy Hunt

Amy started out as a Digital Marketing Executive here at Boom in late 2016, graduating in 2018 to Digital Marketing Client Manager and then to Head of Outreach & Digital PR at the beginning of 2021. Amy works on various digital marketing projects for different clients, focusing on SEO, content marketing and outreach.View Author posts

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