YouTube Analytics: A Simple Guide to Tracking the Right Metrics
Getting to know YouTube analytics is crucial if you want to make the most of your YouTube channel. By quantifying the successes and failures of your videos, you can zero in on opportunities to provide value to your subscribers and keep them engaged.
You can also expand your brandâs reach on the webâs second largest search engine.
In this article, weâll show you:
Bonus: Download a free guide that reveals the exact steps one entrepreneur took to gain more than 23,000,000 views on YouTube with no budget and no expensive gear.
How to use YouTube analytics
General features of the YouTube analytics panel
Each analytics pageâs Overview header features drop-down menus on the right. This is where you can narrow down the time period for the data youâre examining.
Default settings show the last 28 days, but you can change them to whatever suits your needs. Depending on the analytics page, you can also filter by continent or country for specific geographical insights.
If you ever want to crunch numbers yourself, you can export datasets as Excel or CSV text files using the Export report button in the top right.
Finally, if youâre ever confused about what an option means in YouTube, look out for the small grey question mark icon. Click it to reveal a helpful tooltip!
Youtube metrics: What to measure to improve video performance
YouTube video analytics features three main sections: Revenue reports, Watch time reports, and Interaction reports.
Letâs check out Watch time reports first. This is where youâll find some of the most commonly discussed stats, including watch time, views, and retention.
Watch time reports
The Watch time report compiles data from your YouTube channel, the individual videos on your channel, and any engagement from YouTubeâs mobile apps.
Hereâs a quick summary of the most important watch time analytics on YouTube, and the questions they answer:
Watch time and Views
Though Views and Watch time are on the same page, these stats are interdependent. A YouTube video earns one view when itâs watched for 30 seconds or longer.
Views are often considered the measure of a videoâs success. But, from a marketing standpoint, theyâre mostly a vanity metric.
(Vanity metrics are numbers that are easily artificially inflated, so theyâre not the most accurate way to measure your channelâs progress.)
Still, if you have a high number of organic views, it means your videos are well-optimized and ranking prominently in YouTubeâs search pagesâwhich is great! More importantly, if you divide Watch time by total Views, you get an extremely valuable stat: your Average view duration.
Watch time Ã· views = average view duration
Average view duration is an extremely important statistic. It can be measured on a per-video basis, or to measure the average amount of time people spend watching videos on your channel as a whole.
If your videos have a high Average view duration, YouTubeâs algorithm will see that youâre keeping eyes glued to their platform. Itâll bump your video higher in the search pages and increase the likelihood that your content appears in Suggested and Recommended video lists. The more videos you have with high retention rates, the better your channel will rank.
The Audience retention report tracks viewer engagement over time. Here, youâll find your average view duration stats, a list of your best-performing videos, and insights into how your videos stack up against others on YouTube.
Retention is calculated based on percentage watched: if your video is one minute long and people watch 30 seconds, the retention rate is 50 percent.
YouTube tracks two types of audience retention: Absolute audience retention and Relative audience retention. To switch between them, click on a video in the list below the Audience retention graph, then scroll back up to the graph. Youâll see the filter below the main stats.
Absolute audience retention
Absolute audience retention shows exactly which moments in your videos are most-watched, and where people tend to drop off.
If you have a high-performing video, look at the Absolute audience retention graph to determine the highlights. Pinpointing engagement trends gives you a better idea of what your audience wants to see, guiding your content creation efforts.
Similarly, if you have a poor-performing video, the Absolute audience retention graph will show you when people tend to stop watching, so you know how to adjust.
YouTube recommends paying particular attention to the first 15 seconds of your videosâintroductions have the biggest drop-off rate. If youâre noticing a lack of early engagement, you could:
Relative audience retention
Hereâs where you compare your videoâs retention rate to all other YouTube videos of similar length.
Because this comparison is only based on duration and doesnât factor in content, itâs a less useful statistic than Absolute audience retention. It does, however, give a general point of comparison between your content and other videos on YouTube.
To find out about the people watching your videosâspecifically, their age, gender, and geographical locationâcheck demographics. Getting to know your audience can help you make more informed, targeted marketing decisions. Or it can help you tap into markets you hadnât considered previously.
Letâs say youâre a UK-based YouTuber who makes videos about building custom computer rigs. You look at analytics, expecting to find a core demographic of of 18 to 24 year old men, but discover your audience is actually female-identified people in the US aged 65 and older.
Armed with this knowledge, you could adjust the tone of your videos to win back your expected demographic, pivot to your newly-discovered audience, or look for a way to please everyone.
Appealing to demographics is important for winning subscribers. Theyâll watch twice as much of your video content as people who are just passing through.
Playback locations shows you where your content is being watched within the YouTube platform, or elsewhere online.
If you want to check traffic from outside YouTubeâs pages, scroll down to the list below the graph and click Embedded in external websites and apps. This will bring up a list of all the places your videos have been watched within the selected date range.
Finding out where your videos are being played allows you to optimize your ad spend on those locations, giving you the most reach for your money. You also get insight into your audienceâs browsing and watching habits, which may even open doors for new marketing outreach partnerships.
Hereâs where youâll find out how people are finding your videos.
Each item in the list below the graph can be clicked on to reveal specific information within that category.
Did someone find you by using a specific search term? Are you getting a traffic boost after featuring in a prominent YouTuberâs playlist? These are the questions these metrics can help you answer.
Examining traffic sources data gives you a more detailed sense of your channelâs reach, whether youâre looking at stats related to paid traffic (e.g., YouTube ads), or organic traffic, (e.g., YouTubeâs suggested videos feature).
Bonus: Download a free guide that reveals the exact steps one entrepreneur took to gain more than 23,000,000 views on YouTube with no budget and no expensive gear.Get the free guide right now!
Devices reveals what percentage of your users watch your content on desktop, mobile, tablet, smart TV, or games console.
Devices affect the types of content people watch on YouTube, as well as how they interact online in general.
Mobile users tend to watch on-the-go, so they gravitate towards bite-sized videos. Desktop users are more likely to actually purchase things online. So if conversions are your goal, you might want to cater to that market instead.
Ultimately, itâs good to find a balance, as people watch YouTube on every device. Smart TV viewers, for example, are YouTubeâs fastest-growing market. Their numbers double year-over-year.
The most important Interaction metrics include Subscribers, Likes and dislikes, Comments, and Sharingâbasically all the ways viewers can tell you directly how they feel about your videos. Looking at this data will show you the best opportunities to reach out and cultivate relationships with your subscribers.
The Subscribers page shows general trends around your audience numbers. There are three main data sets:
If your subscriber count changes noticeably, check out the Source option beneath the pageâs graph. Itâll pull up a list of your videos, ranking them according to how much theyâve influenced your subscriber count, either positively or negatively. You can also organize this data by subscribers gained or lost.
Like views, subscriber count is a bit of a vanity metric, but the more subscribers you gain, the more authoritative your channel will appear on YouTubeâleading to even more subscribers, views, data, and insights!
Note: Subscribers data it isnât displayed in real-time. YouTube strictly monitors subscriber counts to make sure nobody is trying to artificially inflate their following. This means that if you post a video that ignites unexpected controversy on your channel, the Subscriber data might not show any impact until 48 hours later.
Likes and dislikes
Watch your likes, dislikes, and comments closely to make sure youâre not losing touch with your audience.
Likes and dislikes allow viewers to express themselves with one click. Similar to Views, Likes are a bit of a vanity metric, but the more you have, the better your YouTube SEO ranking will be.
You probably donât want dislikes on your channel, but if theyâre balanced by enough likes, it might not be so bad. If your videos deal with polarizing topics, for example, likes and dislikes simply represent people falling on different sides of the fence.
To get the clearest sense of the motivations behind likes and dislikes on your videos, youâll have to drill down into the comments.
Comments tracks how many comments you have on each video, but doesnât show the comments themselves. If a video gains a lot of engagement in the form of likes and views, you can read the comments to better understand whatâs motivating these interactions.
You should constantly monitor comments on your channel. Replying to comments you think are valuableâpositive or negativeâshows your audience that youâre listening. Itâs a good way to foster further engagement and grow your community.
Unfortunately, comments sections can also be toxic, particularly if theyâre not well-moderated. Remember to flag instances of abuse or spam to YouTube to keep your channel a safe environment for subscribers.
Shares are the last major metric of user engagement. Shares are definitely more important than likes, as they show someone cared enough about your video to encourage others to watch it.
Click the Sharing service filter to see data on where your videos are being shared. You can also filter by geographical location, device, or date.
As you can see in this screenshot, YouTube only tracks shares generated by share button clicks. These types of shares count the most for YouTube SEO. To grow your channel most effectively, do as the famous YouTubers do: call on your viewers to like, share, and subscribe at the end of your videos.
In January 2018, YouTube tightened the rules around channel monetization: to be eligible for ads, YouTube channels must have accrued 4,000 hours of watch time and have at least 1000 subscribers, in addition to adhering to the platformâs rules and regulations.
The Revenue reports feature shows how much money youâre making on YouTube within a given time period, and where your revenue streams originate, including:
To keep things simple, Iâm just going to give a brief overview of the Revenue report feature itself. If youâre at the point where youâre ready to start making money by advertising on YouTube, Iâd recommend looking at the guide I wrote back in March.
The two main stats to track under Revenue are:
Like other YouTube video analytics, you can filter these by date and geographical location.
Scrolling below the revenue graph will bring you to your list of revenue-generating videos. By default, youâll begin with the most profitable video within the time period.
Use the Revenue report feature to identify earning patterns. If youâre making more money on certain days of the week, consider modifying your content release schedule to take advantage of these trends.
Itâs also good to zoom out and see if there are wider patterns based on time of year.
Letâs say your company sells winter sports gear, and you advertise on YouTube. You might identify a new spike in revenue immediately after ski season, when people take advantage of post-season deals.
To get a birds-eye view of your entire revenue history and start taking advantage of longer-term trends, select âlifetimeâ in the drop-down menu to the right above the graph.
How to improve your YouTube search rankings
Leveraging your takeaways from YouTube analytics is a guaranteed way to improve your YouTube SEO. As with any sort of SEO, the single best practice is to produce high quality, valuable content that people engage with and share with their friends.
Here are a few final tips to boost your channelâs SEO so your videos rank highly on YouTubeâs Search and Suggested videos pages.
Include keywords in your video description
Find relevant keywords using Googleâs Keyword Planner and donât forget to perform some competitive analysis, too. Scope out what other YouTubers in your niche are including in their video descriptions, and include what makes sense.
YouTube also features âtags,â pieces of metadata that help you steer how your videos appear in organic search. Youâre allowed to include up to 500 words worth of tags, which should be in line with your video topic.
Follow the rules
Building on the previous point, when youâre writing your video descriptions, make sure they adhere to YouTubeâs guidelines on metadata.
YouTube also has a range of other policies on the content youâre allowed to include in your videos. These are mostly common-sense rules, and shouldnât be too difficult to follow.
Upload videos regularly
Itâs well-known that YouTube is becoming more popular than regular TV, particularly among younger people, but the desire for content on a predictable schedule hasnât changed. If you can cultivate an audience thatâs counting down the minutes until your next release, itâs a sure sign that youâre making it big on the platform.
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June 28, 2018 at 09:12AM