YouTube analytics guide

You started a YouTube channel. You’ve picked the days you’ll publish new videos, created a list of content ideas, and put a killer channel trailer together to set the mood. You’re ready for this.

Making awesome videos is just one piece of the puzzle, however. To successfully grow your channel, you need understand how the rest of it works. To do that, you’ll need to stay on top of video analytics.

Luckily, you have access to comprehensive YouTube channel statistics that make it easy to see what’s working and what isn’t, and adjust your strategy accordingly.

Introducing the YouTube Analytics Dashboard

You can get to your YouTube Analytics dashboard by going to youtube.com/analytics. Or, if you’re already on the YouTube site, click on your account icon in the top right-hand corner, then click on “Creator Studio.”

Once inside your creator studio, select Analytics. You’ll be taken to your analytics homepage. Here, you’ll find the latest YouTube video stats. This information can help you grow your channel, reach more people, and hit your video marketing goals.

Over the next couple of minutes, I’m going to give you a quick overview of the different metrics you’ll find inside the dashboard. Let’s take a look at the overview page.

You’ll see the summary of all the key channel stats, from Watch Time through to number of shares. If you scroll down, you’ll find the stats for your top 10 videos. The overview will give you a general idea of how your channel’s doing. If you want to dive into specifics, click on the metric you’d like to learn more about.

Metrics you can track with YouTube Analytics

With YouTube Analytics, you can track metrics on a variety of useful factors. For a more detailed look at which video metrics are the most important for marketers, check out this post. Otherwise, let’s dive in to what YouTube has to offer.

Your YouTube channel statistics are usually broken into two subsections: watchtime reports and engagement reports. If you use ad revenue, you’ll find a third section called revenue reports.

Watch time analytics

This group of stats will tell you more about who watches your videos, how they found you, and what device they used.

1. Watch time. Watch time is one of the YouTube ranking factors: higher watch times are linked to higher rankings. At the top, you’ll see how many minutes people have spent watching your videos in the last time period. For a more detailed breakdown by video, scroll to the bottom and select a video.

You can view the information in a lot of different ways. In the screenshot above, We’re comparing the watch time for five different videos.

2. Audience retention: How good are you at keeping your audience glued to their screens? This stat will show you the truth. Scroll to the bottom and select a video to see your relative and absolute retention rate. You’ll find the average view duration, and the average percentage of video watched. Higher numbers mean your audience is sticking around, and like what you’re doing. Lower numbers show you’re failing to grab their attention. This is a great stat to track for most marketing campaigns.

3. Demographics: An effective video is created to appeal to a specific group. You can use viewer demographics to see who you’re appealing to, and use this information to improve your content creation and marketing strategies. Pick a video and see who’s watching it. You can break audiences down by a number of factors, including age, gender, geographical distribution, subscription status and device type. Use your findings to build a more accurate ideal customer avatar.

4. Playback locations: How are people watching your videos? Are they watching them on YouTube? On your channel page? If people are watching most of your videos through an embedded link on a blog post, that shows it might be time to level up your YouTube SEO game.

Want to know what countries your viewers are based in? View your analytics by geography. If most of your viewers are in the US, it may be worth taking time zones into account when uploading new videos!

5. Traffic sources: How are people finding your YouTube videos? Studying your traffic sources will show you where your viewers are coming from. By understanding how content is being found, you can get a better understanding of what’s working, and which sources need a bit of help.

6. Devices: How are people watching your videos? Do most of your views come from desktop or mobile? Certain YouTube features, like cards, don’t currently work on mobile. This could have an effect on your CTAs and click-through rates. If a large segment of views comes from mobile devices, it may be a good time to optimize your CTAs and start using end cards.

7. Live streams: If you use YouTube Live, you can get some insights from inside your analytics dashboard. Click on each video to see the number of people who showed up, and the number of interactions. This is a fairly new addition to the analytics family, and will improve overtime.

8. Translations: If you translate your videos into multiple languages, this stat lets you track your ROI and see what languages people watch your videos in. You can also see how many people have opted for subtitles or closed captions.

Engagement reports

Engagement stats show just how good you are at capturing the viewer’s attention and keeping it. They work best when viewed as a whole, and measured against your overall marketing objectives.

1. Subscribers: When someone subscribes to your channel, they get a notification when you post a new video. So, having a higher number of engaged subscribers can make it easier to get more views. To get subscribers, you need two things: great content, and a strong call to action. At the end of each video, ask viewers to subscribe, and track your subscription rates to see which videos brought in the most new subscribers.

2. Likes and dislikes: The ratio of likes/dislikes can be a good benchmark to use to make sure what you’re making still appeals to your audience. Just keep in mind that if you make videos on controversial topics, a higher percentage of dislikes won’t always reflect the opinion of your ideal audience.

3. Videos in playlists: This shows you the number of times users have added your videos to a playlist. You can see the overall picture, or break it down into the individual videos.

This is an interesting statistic, and can help you understand how viewers interact with your videos.

4. Comments: Do viewers engage with your videos? Check out the overall number of comments, as well as the number of comments for each individual video. This is a good way to gauge which videos generate the most conversation. From there, you can backward engineer the reasons behind it, and use the winning techniques in your other videos to encourage conversation.

5. Sharing: Sharing is an important stat, and a useful part of your call to action. Check out the overall numbers of shares per day, as well as the number of shares on each individual video. Experiment with different ways of asking viewers to share and track the results.

6. Annotations and cards (desktop): The YouTube team understand the importance of effective CTAs, and give you some tools to help out. Right now, annotations and cards only work on desktops, and you can only use one or the other. Experiment with them on different videos, then track the click-through rates to find out what works best for you.

7. End screens (mobile): If you get a lot of mobile viewers, experiment with end cards. To measure success, compare the number of clicks versus the number of end screens. This is a decent indicator of how many people stick through to the end of your videos and interact with them.

Revenue reports

If you use YouTube ads to monetize your account, you’ll find a section called “Revenue reports” inside your YouTube analytics dashboard.

1. Revenue: You can see your overall estimated revenue from the last selected period, your estimated revenue from AdSense and DoubleClick ads, and your YouTube Red revenue. If you’re a sole creator who partially relies on ads for your income, these are useful statistics to keep track of.

2. Ad rates: For more details, click on the ad rates section. You can see the revenue per thousand ad impressions (CPM), and see the estimate of monetized playbacks. You can further break down the numbers by geography or ad type.

This is just the beginning!

The point of this brief introduction was to get you comfortable with the various metrics you can track. From here, it’s up to you to dig in and get comfortable. You can do a lot inside the YouTube analytics dashboard! The detail is incredible.

The YouTube team have built this with your success in mind. The better your videos perform, the more revenue and viewers YouTube can earn. The Analytics Dashboard isn’t meant to trip you up, it’s entirely designed to help you get the best possible results. The more time and effort you invest getting comfortable with it, the higher the payoff will be.

Avoid tracking metrics just because you can. Instead, tie your analysis to your overall content strategy goals, and focus on the YouTube metrics that support those goals. Happy tubing!