Want to accurately analyze your YouTube content performance? Wondering which YouTube reports and analytics to look at?
In this article, you'll find a step-by-step guide to help you gather and analyze the key metrics that reveal how well your YouTube channel and videos are working. Plus, you'll see industry benchmark statistics to help you tell how well you're doing in the grand scheme of things.
Why YouTube Analytics and Performance Matter to Marketers
YouTube has over 2 billion monthly users, equal to nearly a third of all internet users. That audience is almost 10,000X greater than the highest-attended concert.
What are you doing to reach that audience as a marketer?
More than 55% of marketers have already started including YouTube in their marketing strategy to access that audience and 71% plan to increase their use of YouTube.
While you may be content to upload a video and hope for the best, with 500 hours of video uploaded every minute to YouTube, your video has some tough competition.
Taking a little extra time to check your YouTube analytics will tell you how well your videos are performing and where you can tweak your content. Using this valuable data can mean the difference between 1 view and 1,000+ views.
#1: Examine Key Metrics in Your YouTube Studio Dashboard
To access the goldmine of data on your YouTube videos, begin by logging into your account and locating the YouTube Studio link. When you click on this link, you'll land on your YouTube dashboard.
Your YouTube dashboard is the central hub that gives you an overview of your channel's performance. You can easily see a summary of all of your information in one place. The main cards you'll notice on your YouTube Studio dashboard are:
- Latest video performance
- Latest post
- Latest comments
- Recent subscribers
- Important notifications
- Channel analytics
- Channel violations
- Known issues
- What's new
- Creator insider
- Ideas for you
As a marketer, you only need to focus on a few of these cards.
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Take a few seconds to glance at your subscriber count, total views, and total watch time. These numbers should gradually rise—indicating that your channel is growing. Take special note of any drastic changes in the summary.
For example, if you've been growing at a steady rate of 1 new subscriber a week, then suddenly you have 10 new subscribers, you know something changed. Look at that week's videos to see if you notice any difference in views or other indications of what triggered the spike. When you locate the positive trigger, you can try to replicate it in future videos.
On the other hand, if none of the numbers are changing, it's time to perform some in-depth channel examinations to find out what's keeping people from subscribing and watching your YouTube channel.
Your top videos are another indicator of what you're doing right in your videos. Study these popular videos and their comments so you have a framework to follow in future videos.
Monitor Comments on Your YouTube Content
The viewers on your YouTube channel are customers and potential customers. Addressing their thoughts and validating their opinions will be a direct reflection on you as a marketer.
Your dashboard will let you know of any new comments that viewers made on your videos. Monitoring comments on YouTube is critical because it offers valuable feedback on your videos' performance. Comments are also a chance to interact with your audience and focus on improving their viewing experience.
Pro Tip: Try to respond to every comment you receive, even if you only post an emoji or “thank you.” If anyone does leave negative feedback, address it directly with compassion to show that you value people's opinions and want to create a positive experience for everyone.
Review Your Latest Video's Performance
Next, examine your latest YouTube video's performance in comparison to all of your videos. Remember, your dashboard gives an overview. If you want to know how an individual video performed, continue scrolling down to the section on video performance.
Note: Live streams don't offer video comparison. They only summarize views, average duration, and peak number of concurrent viewers.
Regular videos provide a summary of the ranking of each video, how many views the video had, the percentage of people who clicked on your video compared to those who saw the link, and the average duration viewers watched the video. Beside each of these stats, you'll see a green or red marker indicating whether your video went up in views and clicks, or down.
Don't panic if your video went down in any of the numbers. Not every video will be a winner. But it would be best if you went back to that video later to examine possible weaknesses and avoid those same mistakes in future videos.
Focus on getting a general upward trend. If each video moves just slightly further up in percentages and numbers, your channel is growing.
#2: Explore Your YouTube Channel Analytics
From your dashboard, click the Go to Channel Analytics link to get more in-depth data on the health of your channel. The first page that comes up gives you three key pieces of information:
- How many views
- How many hours of watch time
- How many subscribers
In the upper-right corner, you can choose if you want to compare your site's health for the past month, year, or another customized period.
Again, green arrows indicate growth in your channel. You can also see the peak times that people view your channel. Most often, you'll see a peak on the days you post videos. You might also notice a rise after sharing your channel link on other platforms, like your blog or social media. These peaks are a good indicator of what generates the most traffic to your channel.
Your total watch time also gives you valuable information about when people like to watch your videos. So if people spend the longest time on your videos over the weekend, schedule your new posts for the weekend to maximize your engagement.
Don't forget to scroll down to the bottom of the channel page to see which videos are performing well so you know what type of content and format your audience likes best.
Your Channel's Reach
The next tab after your overview goes into more detail about how many people your channel is reaching. Continue to pay close attention to how many impressions you're getting compared to your click-through rate.
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If your impressions are low, you should consider alternative ways to share your videos—like through video SEO techniques, linking to your video, and sponsored ads.
When you scroll down below the summary chart, you'll see data that tells you where those impressions are coming from and which media are most successful. For more traffic, focus on the successful media; for example, if you get a high amount of engagement through Facebook, boost your Facebook marketing.
Next, explore ways to strengthen your exposure from the weaker traffic sources. If no one is clicking your YouTube blog link, consider reworking the link to make it more appealing.
Your click-through rate tells you what percentage of people who see the link to your video follow through by clicking on your video. Total views give a specific number to that percentage. To strengthen that number, consider using catchy titles, thorough descriptions, and engaging thumbnails that will pique a viewer's curiosity about your video.
YouTube offers all of the necessary tools for optimizing your video and thumbnail to grab your audience's attention under the editor section on the sidebar.
Your Channel's Engagement
This engagement summary chart lets you know how much time people spend on your channel and when they spent that time. Further down the page, you'll see what videos, times, and elements had the most views.
Each of these statistics has a See More link. Take advantage of that link to follow through and find out the why behind your most successful videos.
Your Channel's Audience
The last tab tells you more about who's visiting your channel. Knowing your channel's demographic helps you customize your content to this audience. You might be surprised to find that your viewers aren't your intended demographic.
The top chart in this section tells you how many people return to your channel, how many people subscribe, and how many new viewers you got in the selected time frame.
The bottom section is where the real meat of the data is located.
Your goal as a marketer is to attract as many subscribers as possible to your channel. If most of your regular visitors don't subscribe, consider adding a “subscribe now” button in more locations. You can also take time in your video to promote the benefits of subscribing to your channel.
The last sections of your audience dashboard let you know more about your actual audience, like their age, gender, and viewing habits.
If you find that most of your viewers are in their early 20s, focus your content on newer topics with modern jargon. On the other hand, if your demographic tends to be middle-aged viewers who watch TED Talks and news, you can use more professional language in your videos to appeal to that demographic.
#3: What Your YouTube Video Stats Tell You
When you go for an annual physical, your doctor performs a general examination of your health and measures your pulse, blood pressure, weight, and breathing. However, on occasion, your doctor finds an issue. For example, your heart has a murmur. In that case, your doctor focuses on that specific issue to find just what's causing the irregularity.
What you've performed so far is your channel's physical. You checked the pulse of your channel's performance and measured its vitals.
Sometimes you'll see an irregularity in your summaries—both good spikes and negative dips. That means it's time to take a closer look at your channel's performance by examining individual videos.
Some common reasons for examining YouTube video analytics include:
- Your video ranks at the top.
- Your stats spiked after your video posted.
- Your stats dipped after your video posted.
- You received a notable comment on a video.
You can find the data for specific videos by clicking on Content on your side menu, then hovering over the video you'd like to examine. The second icon, Analytics, is what you're going to explore.
When you first enter your video's analytics, you'll see a chart similar to your channel overview. It provides the same information as before, except for only that one video.
The most important information about the video is your audience retention. This data tells you how much of the video the average person viewed and at which points your viewers left.
As you run your mouse over the line graph, you'll see what percentage of viewers were still actively viewing the video at each part. This data lets you know when your video wasn't interesting—marked with a dip in viewership. You can improve those segments in later videos.
It also lets you know where there were peaks.
For example, perhaps charts or music segments caused a rise in views because people skipped past the informational section and wanted to see the visuals. If that were the case, you could see that change in viewers and add more visuals throughout later videos.
Other Video Data
Your video's Reach, Engagement, and Audience tabs show the same information as your channel tabs—except specific for that one video.
Usually, you wouldn't need to check that data for individual videos, as the channel summaries are more relevant. The exception would be videos that performed exceptionally well (or poorly). In that case, checking the traffic source will alert you to well-performing links.
Now that you've collected all of the necessary YouTube statistics about your channel, you're ready to put it to use.
What you learned from the data told you when your videos perform well, what type of videos your audience prefers, and what videos aren't as popular. If you analyzed specific videos, you even have a list of elements that viewers like the most. Use this data to create videos matched to what your viewers want.
Not sure what topic to use? Look under the Demographics section of your data for other videos your audience is watching. These are videos they like. Choose a few of the most popular videos and cover the same theme but customized to your audience, using data from your channel. In just a few days, you should start seeing your YouTube channel grow.
Get More Advice on YouTube Marketing
- Get more organic leads and sales from YouTube without using ads.
- Avoid five common YouTube marketing mistakes.
- Set up and run three low-stakes video ads on YouTube.
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