If you’re using YouTube, you need to keep an eye on your YouTube analytics. Understanding what’s happening under the hood of your YouTube channel is the only way to grow.
But what do you need to track, and what tools can help you find that data? We’re glad you asked.
YouTube analytics allow you to see what’s working on your channel, as well as which content is falling flat. This can help guide your strategy so you can grow your channel more effectively over time.
YouTube analytics also include demographic information about your YouTube audience, so you can understand who your subscribers are and produce content that speaks directly to their wants and needs.
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- Channel views: The number of views your entire channel amassed over the selected time period.
Channel watch time: The total amount of time, in hours, people spent watching all the videos on your channel over a given period.
- Subscribers: The total number of subscribers to your YouTube channel.
- Subscriber growth: The number of new subscribers you’ve gained minus any you lost.
- Realtime: A real time performance report for the last 48 hours or 60 minutes. This is a good way to get an early impression of how newly uploaded videos perform immediately after they launch. You can also find out when your YouTube channel views peak, giving you insight into your best time to post.
Source: YouTube Studio
- Top posts: A snapshot of your top performing content based on views, over a given period. By adjusting the timeframe to Lifetime, you can identify your all-time best performing videos.
- Impressions: The number of times thumbnails for your videos were shown to YouTube viewers. This does not include external impressions like website embeds or social shares.
Impressions click-through rate (CTR): The percentage of people who clicked on a thumbnail on YouTube to view your videos.
- Average view duration: How long the average viewer watches your videos before clicking away.
- Top remixed: Your content most remixed or used in Shorts and the number of remix views. Remixes can help to improve your channel visibility and video views since they include tags that drive traffic back to your channel.
- Videos added to/removed from playlists: Similar to remixed, playlists extend your content to a wider audience.
Source: Hootsuite Analytics
- Top referral sources: Monitor where and how people find your videos, both on and off YouTube.
- Unique viewers: An estimate of the total number of people who watched your videos over a given period. Note: If one person watches the same video three times, it will only count once for unique viewers, but three times for channel views.
- When your viewers are on YouTube: This one is self-explanatory. Use this info to schedule uploads at optimal times.
- Watch time from subscribers: How much of your total watch time comes from viewers who are subscribed to your channel.
- Audience demographics: The age, gender, location, and language statistics for the people who watch your videos on YouTube. Tip: This information can help you plan content geared toward your specific audience. We’ve got a whole blog post on how to find and speak to your target market that can help you figure this out.
All the metrics we’ve covered so far apply to your overall channel. But you also need to track metrics for specific videos, so you can drill down to see what’s really working.
Within the YouTube Studio app, click any video from the Analytics overview screen to see the stats for that specific video. Using the Reach, Engagement, and Audience tabs for each video, you can see these specific metrics for the video in question, rather than for the entire channel.
- Views: The number of times your video has been watched, including repeat views from the same person.
- Subscribers: The number of people who subscribed after watching this particular video. This metric provides one of the strongest indications that a video connected with viewers. On the flip side, you can also see the number of subscribers lost with a certain video.
- Watch time: The cumulative amount of time people have spent watching this specific video.
- Average view duration: The estimated amount of time in minutes watched for each view of the selected video.
- New viewers: Videos with the highest number of new vs. returning viewers are actively growing your audience.
- Key moments for audience retention: This metric shows you which moments grabbed (or lost) your audience’s attention. If you have issues with your average view duration, review this to see what is working. If you notice any big dips, take a look at the video itself to see what might be driving people away.
Source: YouTube Studio
You cannot see YouTube analytics for other channels through YouTube Studio. However, you can get information about the content from other channels that your audience is watching.
On your channel’s Audience tab, check the following two YouTube video analytics metrics:
- Content your audience watches: What your audience is watching when they’re not on your channel. Use this report to find inspiration for your own channel, collaboration opportunities, or ideas for your thumbnails. Then, compile that information with these 30 YouTube promotional tactics.
- Channels your audience watches: This report shows you the channels your audience is most interested in. The same strategy as above applies here.
You need third-party software to compare multiple accounts of your own or to give you a peek into your competitors’ analytics.
Source: Hootsuite Analytics
YouTube analytics tools like SocialBlade (see below) allow you to compare your performance against any other public YouTube channel.
Source: YouTube Studio
YouTube Studio is the home of the native analytics in YouTube. It’s the most robust YouTube analytics tool available. It’s especially useful for those who are primarily focused on growing their YouTube channel. (As opposed to viewing YouTube efforts in the context of a larger social strategy.)
A particularly useful set of analytics reporting features are found within YouTube Studio’s Advanced Mode. It offers the ability to drill down into data, compare content performance, and export data. Sophisticated marketing teams will find this mode a veritable treasure trove of information.
There are tons of features in Advanced Mode that you don’t want to sleep on. Google Support created a very useful map of the available features; check it out to ensure you’re not missing anything.
Source: Google Support
Some of the most useful reporting options include:
- Groups: Group similar videos to compare themes, styles, and lengths. Look for larger themes and potential series opportunities.
- New viewers who returned: This highlights new viewers who returned to your channel to watch another video. Says Paige Cooper, Hootsuite’s Inbound Marketing Lead (Web & Video): “I think of it as a list of videos that have some kind of magic sparkle dust that turns viewers into fans.”
Hootsuite is a valuable social analytics tool for those who want to analyze YouTube in the context of their overall social performance. You can break out YouTube into its own report. But you can also view key performance metrics alongside those for your social accounts on other networks.
This is especially useful for social marketers who need to produce reporting for senior stakeholders. They usually want to review the success of the team’s social efforts at a high level.
Hootsuite also offers the advantage of being simple to use and understand. All the key metrics are on one screen.
Socialblade allows you to see metrics like views, subscribers, subscriber growth rate, and estimated revenue for any public YouTube channel. Of course, that includes your own channel too, as long as it’s public.
They offer browser extensions that show you these statistics within your browser for any YouTube video, as you watch it.
VidIQ is a third-party tool that scrapes data to get metrics you can’t get natively. This app will let you see views per hour and pull analytics data from your competitors, so you can access YouTube analytics for other channels. VidIQ has plenty of features that can better your channel, like recommendations to improve your YouTube SEO in areas such as your title and description.
To make the most of the data you find in your chosen YouTube analytics tool, you need to check in regularly. Things can change fast, and you can’t assume that the content strategies that have worked in the past will work in the future.
For example, if there’s a significant change in subscriber growth from the average, you should dig for the cause right away. Did you post more videos than usual? Fewer? Did one video in particular do particularly well or poorly?
Tip: Subscribers generally watch twice as much video as non-subscribers. If your subscribers are not making up the bulk of your watch time, you may not be making the most of your subscriber base. Try creating a more consistent posting schedule so your subscribers know when they should expect new content and make it a habit to watch your new videos when they go live.
Hootsuite Analytics makes it easier to stay on top of your YouTube metrics with the ability to schedule automatic reports, so the data comes right to your inbox.
While each of the metrics above reveals its own useful data, the information picture as a whole gets more detailed when you look for patterns to emerge.
For example, look for similarities between videos that have high or low click-through rates. Over time, this will help you understand what approach works best to persuade your particular viewers to click.
Likewise, keeping an eye on view duration can help you understand if viewers get what they expected once they click. A lower-than-average view duration may indicate a mismatch between what you promise and what you deliver. You may need to revise your thumbnail and description strategy, especially if it has recently changed.
Since watch time is a key ranking factor in the YouTube algorithm, this is another important one to watch for changes. Videos with higher watch time are more likely to appear in search results and recommendations, bringing new eyeballs to your channel. Can you find a pattern to what makes viewers stick around, or causes them to leave?
Finally, watch for changing patterns in when your viewers are online and adjust your posting schedule as needed. (Tip: Check out Hootsuite Analytics for a detailed heatmap.) If you have an active Community Tab, make sure an admin is available to create posts and respond to comments when your viewers are most likely to be online.
YouTube analytics offer useful insights to help you maximize the effect of your best content.
For example, if a video is often reached through search, consider adding it to a playlist to help people discover your related content. Visitors who find your content through search are likely to be new to your channel. So, videos that rank well for your search terms can be a useful entry point, as long as you structure your content effectively to keep people watching.
Likewise, try reshuffling the order of your playlists to put popular videos with the highest average view duration at the top. People are more likely to make it all the way through these top videos and continue watching your playlist. The more the watch, the more likely they are to subscribe.
Understanding where your YouTube views come from can help you spot prime collaboration opportunities, as well as potential competitors who may be nipping at your heels.
First, under How viewers find your videos, click on Suggested Videos. This shows you videos for which your content is appearing in the suggested sidebar. That means YouTube thinks your content is related.
Since these videos are already sending viewers your way, they may be great collaborators. But remember that they are not sending you that traffic by choice – suggestions are based on the YouTube algorithm. So, they may actually be competitors. Have a look at their content and use some of the competitor analysis tools above to get a better sense of whether they are likely to be friend or foe.
You can also find potential collaborators by looking at External sources. This lists websites that are driving embedded views as well linking to your content. Also look at playlists on which you’re included. These sites and channels clearly love your content, since they’re already featuring it. These could be good candidates for a creator partnership or other collaboration efforts.
Finally, take a look at the Content your audience watches reports. This shows content your audience watches that may or may not be directly related to your niche. If you have a shared audience and don’t compete, there may be a chance for a unique collaboration.
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