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YouTube Analytics: How To Leverage Metrics In Your Strategy

Madisyn MacMillan
March 2, 2020
Last Updated On
December 12, 2023
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Video-focused content is top of mind for marketers this year, and the most effective video strategy encompasses both short-form and long-form video. Building your long-form video strategy starts with YouTube, and YouTube Insights. Though the platform has been around for nearly two decades, it is undergoing a dramatic change as consumers increasingly look online for entertainment. Brands aiming for success on YouTube must comprehend their metrics, KPIs, and implications for diverse social media objectives. 

Video is on the rise across marketing channels — and for good reason. Video content has higher engagement than static imagery, and audience tastes are changing to prioritize social entertainment over anything else. YouTube has long been the top channel for long-form video, and it is also establishing itself in the world of short-form video with YouTube Shorts, its new TikTok-like format with its own YouTube algorithm and a new set of rules that differ from long-form video. Brands that want to bolster their long and short-form video use in 20

Joey from Friends
image credit: HBO Max

YouTube plays a major role in how audiences spend more time watching video. The Alphabet-owned channel has become the second most-used social media channel in the world, behind Facebook in terms of active users. It is estimated that the average person now watches at least 40 minutes of video a day from YouTube, and though that number skews higher for Gen Z and Millennials, older demographics are also watching more content on YouTube — particularly in the form of highlights from traditional media. 

83% of marketers believe that video is becoming increasingly important, and 57% of marketers say improving content and content engagement are primary strategies for generating higher-quality leads. It’s clear that YouTube has become a staple of both social media and the entertainment, media and publishing industries; and brands that understand how YouTube analytics work are in a much better position to succeed.

What Are YouTube Analytics?

YouTube is one of the most popular social media platforms in the world, so it’s no surprise that there is a plethora of insights and analytics to go along with it. YouTube Studio has analytic capabilities built right into the platform that showcases engagement and subscriber metrics for your channel and each video. At a glance, these YouTube analytics show how your content performs and who it performs with. YouTube analytics include things like total views, watch time, comments and engagement and more.

Why Use YouTube Analytics Tools?

Knowing the ins and outs of your account is crucial when it comes to success. YouTube analytics provided within both the native platform or through third-party solutions like Dash Hudson, give brands insight into what they’re doing well and how they can improve. Without in-depth YouTube analytics tools, it would be impossible to truly know how your videos perform — quantitative metrics like views are simply a small part of healthy video and account performance. Analytics tools offer context for how these metrics impact your goals, help you benchmark performance against competitors and more for a more holistic performance view. 

How To Use YouTube Analytics

To get the most out of your YouTube analytics, it is important to know what you have at your disposal and what the metrics mean. 

Video consumption metrics show how much of, and how often, a video was seen by users. Visibility and engagement metrics measure users’ interactions with a video. Audience metrics give insight to the users who are viewing your video. Here are some additional types of YouTube channel analytics social teams should monitor and how they impact your goals.

How To See YouTube Analytics for Other Channels

Unfortunately, you can’t see YouTube metrics for other brand’s channels via YouTube itself. However, you can discover what type of content and channels appeal to your current audience. Discover what content resonates with your audience — which can spark your own content inspiration. Here’s how to access YouTube analytics and audience insights in YouTube Creator Studio: 

  • Navigate to the Studio Content Manager.
  • Open ‘Analytics.’
  • From the top menu, click ‘Audience.’ 
  • From there, you can see a range of audience metrics, including which videos are contributing to your follower count, when viewers are on YouTube, how many people are subscribed to bell notifications, content and channels your audience watches, new and returning users, age and geography and the most-used subtitles. 

To gain a deeper understanding of how your competition performs, Social teams can also use Dash Hudson’s Competitive Insights and Benchmarking to benchmark their performance against industry competitors. With this tool, social teams can customize which competitors they look at, discover their top-performing videos and explore which platforms competitors are publishing their video content on. 

YouTube Insights by Dash Hudson

For a deeper dive into your performance, Dash Hudson offers a comprehensive suite of video and account analytics for YouTube. These YouTube insights include a variety of metrics that Dash Hudson users can leverage to accurately assess YouTube performance and quickly gain a strong understanding of their efforts on a channel and per-post level. 

Brands can work closely with Dash Hudson to simplify reporting, and to identify YouTube-specific goals that aid in creating the most effective video-first social strategy. 

Dash Hudson YouTube Insights

Why Use YouTube Analytics Tools?

Knowing the ins and outs of your account is crucial when it comes to success. YouTube analytics provided within both the native platform or through third-party solutions like Dash Hudson, give brands insight into how your YouTube promotion efforts are doing, what your team doing well and how they can improve. Without in-depth YouTube analytics tools, it would be impossible to truly know how your videos perform — quantitative metrics like views are simply a small part of healthy video and account performance. Analytics tools offer context for how these metrics impact your goals, help you benchmark performance against competitors and more for a more holistic performance view. 

Essential YouTube Analytics 

The metrics your team chooses to track depend on your overall goals and where you’re at in your YouTube strategy. Metrics can speak to how your audience consumes your video content, how engaging your content is and also offer insights to viewer demographics. 

Video Consumption Metrics

Views: The total number of times your video has been played.

Views matter because it’s essential to keep a pulse on how many users your video reaches and how different videos perform on your channel. Your most viewed videos tell you what your audience is most engaged with and interested in watching when it comes to your channel.

Watch Time: The total amount of time viewers spend watching your videos.

Watch time matters because it is the top-ranking metric and factor on YouTube. Arguably the metric rules all other YouTube metrics. It governs how much visibility you’ll get relative to searches where your content appears.

Average View Duration and Percent Viewed: The total amount of watch time divided by total views, or the average amount of time people spent watching your videos.

Average view duration matters, because it tells you how engaged your audience, is with the videos you’re publishing on your channel.

Subscriber Growth Rate: The rate at which you’re gaining new subscribers.

Subscriber growth rate matters because audience growth is key to increasing views, watch time and your YouTube ranking.

Subscription Status: How many of your viewers are subscribers.

This gives insight into what type of community you’ve cultivated on YouTube. If you have viewers but no subscribers, you’re effectively publishing to nobody. In those circumstances, users will have to search for your video and find it through the ‘Up Next’ panel or via the recommended page. Turning viewers into subscribers means you’re growing your viewer base, your new content will be served to your subscribers via notifications, home page promotion, email, and so on.

Subscriber Source: This metric shows you exactly where on YouTube your viewers are clicking ‘Subscribe.’

This matters because it shows you where your strategy is and isn’t working. It will help you determine where you need to evaluate your CTAs and where to invest.

Visibility and Engagement Metrics

Impressions: The number of times the video thumbnail was viewed.

Impressions matter because they are a crystal clear indication of whether or not your video is showing up in searches or as related content. They explain if your video and related keywords are relevant to the topic you’re featuring. It is important to note that Impressions can include the same person seeing the thumbnail more than once.

Impressions Click-Through-Rate CTR: The percentage of people who saw the thumbnail who clicked through to watch the video.

CTR matters because it tells you how many people are compelled to click through and watch the video based on your thumbnail and title.

Re-watches: The number of times viewers rewind and re-watch certain segments of a video.

Re-watches matter because they tell you which parts of your video were the most intriguing — so much so that they went back to watch it again. Having this insight can help in planning future videos and decreasing drop-offs.

Likes and Dislikes: The number of viewers who like or dislike your video.

Likes and dislikes matter because it’s a stark look at how your content performs. Few other channels have a feature that allows you to dislike something, so brace yourself. Looking at these metrics in a ratio format can give you a little more insight into how your content is performing. Studies show that the average like-to-dislike ratio on YouTube is about 1:100. This means that, on average, you will get one like for every one hundred views.

Shares and Comments: The number of times your video has been shared using the share button and the number of comments on the video.

A more valuable form of engagement, shares and comments matter because they give you insight into which videos are shared and talked about and which videos aren’t. If sparking conversation is your aim, this metric will provide a valuable benchmark to measure performance.

Card Click-Through-Rate: Cards are the calls to action that appear at any point during a video. They usually prompt a user to sign up, access a product, or subscribe. The Card CTR is the percentage of viewers that click through via the card.

Card CTR matters because it tells whether your cards are right and useful or irrelevant to your viewers.

Playlist Starts: This metric tells you how many viewers start your playlist.

This matters because it tells you how many of your viewers want to watch more. It’s an indication of how engaging your content is, and the appetite your audience has for more.

Playlist Exits: This metric tells you how many viewers leave your playlist.

This is useful because it tells you where viewers are exiting your playlist. This will help you find the less engaging videos in your playlist and can help you determine how to order your videos.

Camila Cabello for L'Oréal Paris
Image credit: L'Oréal Paris

Audience Metrics

Traffic Source: Tells you how viewers are finding your videos. It shows you where your traffic is coming from, whether it be from a YouTube search, channel, suggested videos or from elsewhere on the internet.

Traffic sources give you insight into where your audience is coming from. It tells you where your tactics directing your audience to YouTube from other channels are working and where it’s not. It also tells you how well your content is performing within YouTube in terms of search and if your thumbnails and title are bringing new viewers in from recommendation pages.

Geography: Where your viewers are located in our wonderful world.

Geography matters to brands for several reasons. If you’re laser-focused on selling products in the U.S. and a significant chunk of your viewers are in Australia, that presents a problem. Knowing the locations of your viewers can tell you if you’re getting in front of the right people or not and allows you to focus on key markets for your business.

Demographics: Insight into who your viewers are, including age and gender.

Similar to geography, demographics matter because they let you know if you’re reaching your target audience or not and can help you understand what users you’re missing out on.

Device: What type of device people are using to watch your videos—tablet, mobile, desktop or TV?

When it comes to YouTube, devices matter. Each device is used differently. From screen size to settings (in or out of the home), devices have a range of requirements, and it’s important to understand which devices the majority of your audience is using to view your videos. TV, for example, lends itself to longer videos, while mobile might require subtitles.

Optimize Your Content in Motion With Dash Hudson

With so many different YouTube analytics, it can be daunting to dig into performance. Especially on a channel that requires a unique lens compared to other platforms. If you’re looking to create a thorough and successful social strategy, truly understanding your YouTube metrics is step number one. Let Dash Hudson help you nail down your video-first objectives, determine which metrics matter for your brand, and plan, monitor and report like never before. 

YouTube Analytics FAQs

Can other YouTubers see my analytics?

While some third-party applications allow users to look into the YouTube analytics of other accounts, they will never have the capability to view all the in-depth metrics you are afforded through your own account metrics via YouTube analytics tools.

Is YouTube still a popular social media?

Yes. In this new era of social entertainment, entertaining video is everything, and YouTube has been at the forefront of this movement for over a decade now. With over 2 billion active users, YouTube has only ever gained popularity year after year.

Can you see who views your YouTube channel?

While there is no way to see individual viewers through YouTube analytics, there are a couple of ways to get an idea of who is watching your videos. The first is your subscribers. By checking in on your demographic insights, you can get a more holistic understanding of who is watching your content. Another way to see who is watching your videos is by checking comments. This will allow you to see individual accounts although they may not be direct subscribers. 

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