YouTube Analytics: 21 Metrics That You Should Track

YouTube Analytics 21 metrics you should track.

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If your business hasn’t started making video content, now is the time to start. But before you do, you have to pinpoint the YouTube Analytics metrics that matter most to your business, and which YouTube analytics tools you can use to track them. 

So why is YouTube such a big deal?

With 1 billion monthly users and over 1 billion hours watched daily, YouTube is the second most trafficked websites on the planet after Google. 

It is also the second largest search engine in the world

Investing in video—and YouTube in particular—is key to a strong marketing strategy. And any strong video marketing strategy is backed by powerful YouTube analytics tools. 

But the truth is, most companies and brands simply post videos on YouTube, share them on social networks, and then never return to track their performance.

Only by tracking your YouTube Analytics will you learn how to grow your brand effectively through video, and how to make videos people actually want to watch.

In this article, you’ll learn:

  • Why you should track YouTube Analytics
  • Key YouTube metrics
  • How to make the most out of each YouTube metric
  • The top YouTube analytics tools in 2019

Quick Links:

Reasons why you should track Youtube Analytics
Key YouTube Metrics
Video views metrics
Reach Metrics
Interaction Metrics
Playlist Metrics
Card and End Screen Metrics
Audience Metrics
Subscription Metrics
Top 12 Youtube Analytics Tools in 2019
Youtube Studio Analytics
Keyhole
Vidooly
RivalIQ
Social Report
Social Bakers
Quintly
Klear
TubeBuddy
Hootsuite
Sendible

4 reasons to track your YouTube Analytics

If you’ve successfully managed another social profile, you understand the role that analytics plays in driving future content—and YouTube is no different.

But YouTube offers specific content tracking advantages that other platforms don’t offer. Here’s why you should pay attention to your YouTube data.

1. Reach more viewers

The data is clear. YouTube is growing in a big way.

And it’s about more than entertainment. YouTube has become the world’s second-largest search engine, where people look for how-to videos, product reviews, explainer videos, and more.

If your brand isn’t present on YouTube, you’re missing out on a large segment of the online population. 

By learning how to use YouTube and the YouTube Analytics platform, you’ll gain valuable insights into how to grow your online viewership.

2. Make better content

Content is King. You have to make content people actually want to watch. By tracking your YouTube Analytics, you’ll see what content resonates most with your audience.

What topics is your audience most interested in? Which titles do they click on more? What types of visuals result in more thumbnail clicks? Which topics lead to the most engagement?

By understanding how to get the most out of each and every YouTube metric, you’ll learn how to build your brand, get more engagement, and ultimately make better videos.

3. Understand your audience

In order to develop amazing video content that actually resonates emotionally with your audience, you have to understand who they are.

And if you’re not a brick-and-mortar business, or you have a new product, you may not actually know who your audience is yet.

By tracking your YouTube Analytics, you’ll uncover demographic data like age, gender, location, and preferred devices. By using this data, you can adjust your future content strategy to better appeal to your customers.

4. Educate your non-video marketing

Because video content is much more rich, you can find out what messages really resonate with people.

By tracking moment-by-moment video engagement, you can test which types of insights, advice, messaging, or stories register most with your audience.

And whatever you learn from your YouTube Analytics tracking, you can take to your other marketing efforts. Maybe it’s a new slogan, branding campaign, social strategy, or product idea.

Now that you have learned why you should track your Youtube Analytics, let’s dive right into key YouTube metrics to track and how to make use of them.

21 key YouTube metrics to know & how to make use of them

Now that you understand the value of YouTube Analytics, let’s take a deep dive into every metric, and how to make the most use out of each metric.

In this guide, we’ll be covering every metric available in YouTube Studio, which was reconfigured in 2019.

You can access these metrics on the left sidebar of YouTube Studio under “Analytics.” Many of these metrics are also available at the video level under “Videos.” 

Video View Metrics

YouTube video view metrics are an indication of how much people like your videos, and the biggest indicator of your success on YouTube.

1. Views

What are views? Views are the total number of times your videos on your channel have been played. This includes repeat views by the same viewer.

Why do views matter? Earning views is why you made videos in the first place, isn’t it? Your most-viewed videos should be an indication of which topics your audience is most interested in.

Tip: Your most-viewed videos should be a hint at what content to make next. Take your most-viewed videos and expand on it in the future with more in-depth guides or closely related topics.

2. Watch time (minutes)

What is watch time? Watch time is the total amount of time viewers spend watching your video(s). 

Why does watch time matter? Watch time is the best indication that your videos feature content people actually want to watch. Plus, watch time is the #1 ranking factor on YouTube. Videos or channels with more watch time are more likely to appear in the search results or as related videos.

Tip: To increase watch time, ensure your thumbnail and title are actually relevant to the video content. A misleading title or thumbnail may get you more views but will ultimately disappoint your viewers.

3. Average view duration & percentage viewed

What is the average view duration? Average view duration is the total amount of watch time divided by total views for your video or channel. In short, it’s the average amount of time people spent watching your video(s).

This metric is also available as average percentage viewed—in the form of a percentage rather than seconds or minutes.

Why does average view duration matter? Average view duration measures how well you’re able to engage your viewers. If your video has a low average view duration, it’s not meeting your viewers’ expectations and is a sign you need to make more engaging content.

Tip: Start your videos off with a bang to convince viewers to keep watching. Videos with long, boring intros are less likely to retain viewers. Show the value your viewers are going to get within the first 10 seconds of your video.

4. Audience retention

What is audience retention? Audience retention is a moment-by-moment chart showing how often each moment of your video is being watched as a percentage of total views.

Why does audience retention matter? Audience retention shows you the exact moments that viewers start to drop off from your video. 

Tip: Use audience retention to inform your video strategy. Figure out where you’re most often losing viewers and cut that content out from your next video, or even splice them out of your current videos.

Reach Metrics

YouTube reach metrics are a sign of how easily people are able to find your videos.

5. Impressions 

What are impressions? Impressions are the number of times potential viewers saw your video thumbnail while on YouTube.

Why do impressions matter? Impressions are a clear indication of whether or not your video is showing up in searches or as a related video. They’re a marker of how relevant your content is.

Tip: Use relevant keywords in your video title and description to make sure you show up in searches. To appear more often in related videos, find a video relevant to yours that’s already performing well and use similar video tags.

6. Unique Viewers

What are unique viewers? Unique viewers are the number of individuals that have watched your video at least once.

Why do unique viewers matter? Compared to views, unique viewers give you a sense of how often people are re-watching your videos.

Tip: To get more unique viewers on each video, encourage your subscribers to turn on notifications. They may be missing out on your amazing content!

7. Impressions click-through rate

What is impressions click-through rate? This is the number of views per impressions shown. In other words, the percentage of people who watch your video after seeing your thumbnail.

Why does impressions click-through rate matter? This is a marker of how compelling your video titles and thumbnails are.

Tip: Use brighter colors in your thumbnails and create incredibly click-worthy titles to increase click-through rates.

Interaction Metrics

YouTube’s interaction metrics measure how often people are engaging with your videos

8. Likes, Dislikes, and Likes vs. Dislikes

What are likes and dislikes? These are whether your video was rated with a thumbs up or a thumbs down. It’s most often presented as a percentage of likes.

Why do likes vs. dislikes matter? Likes and dislikes help you determine what topics resonate most with your audience. Videos with a higher ratio of likes tend to rank higher on YouTube.

Tip: Viewers are way more likely to like your video if you ask them directly. Don’t be shy! Ask!

9. Shares and Comments

What are shares and comments? The number of times your video has been shared using the Share button and the number of comments on the video

Why do shares and comments matter? Shares and comments are the best indicator of discussion-worthy content. Videos trigger more engagements when they resonate emotionally with the viewer.

Tip: To increase comments, ask a direct question to your viewers in your video. For more shares, tell them who they should share the video with.

Playlist Metrics

These metrics indicate how effective your playlists are at attracting and retaining viewers, including which videos perform best within your playlist.

10. Playlist starts

What are playlist starts? This is how often people start watching your playlist.

Why do playlist starts matter? Playlists are a great way to increase overall views and watch time, as they chain your videos together in an easy-to-consume order. Similar to video thumbnails and titles, using more enticing or concise playlist names will result in more clicks.

Tip: If you have a playlist that’s more popular than others, consider putting new videos at the start of that playlist to help boost exposure for that video.

11. Playlist exits/exit rate

What are playlist exits/exit rate? This metric is for individual videos. Playlist exits are how often a viewer exits the playlist after viewing that video. The playlist exit rate is the percentage of viewers that exit the playlist while on this video.

Why do playlist exits matter? Videos with higher playlist exits may not be as relevant to the playlist.

Tip: If a video has a higher-than-average playlist exit rate, consider moving it to the end of the playlist or removing it from the playlist. It may also be an indication to revamp the video with more engaging content.

12. Average time in playlist

What is the average time in playlist? This measures the average time a viewer spends watching that playlist before exiting.

Why does average time in playlist matter? More time spent in your playlist means more overall watch time and views for your channel.

Tip: If a playlist has lower watch time, try moving the best video to the front of the playlist to retain more viewers.

Card & End Screen Metrics

Card and end screen metrics showcase the effectiveness of your visual calls to action at enticing more clicks and views.

13. Card teaser clicks/clicks per card teaser shown

What are card teaser clicks? When a card is added to a video, the viewer sees teaser preview text in the corner. Card teaser clicks and clicks per card teaser shown measure how often viewers tap the teaser text to view the card.

What do card teaser clicks matter? Writing effective card teasers ultimately results in more clicks to your cards.

Tip: Strategically place your card teaser at a point in the video just before users typically drop off. This can keep people on the video longer and ensures they don’t leave before reading your call to action.

14. Card clicks/clicks per card shown

What are card clicks? Cards are visual calls to action over a video that can lead to a landing page/website, fundraiser, video, playlist, channel, or fan funding page. Card clicks and clicks per card shown are a measure of how often these cards are clicked.

What do card clicks matter? If the goal of your video is to promote a particular call to action, cards are a great way to get your message across. More clicks means a more effective card.

Tip: In your calls to action, use strong action words, create a sense of urgency, and promote the value to the viewer to promote more clicks. For example, “Register now for free tips in your inbox.”

15. End screen element clicks & clicks per end screen element shown

What are end screen element clicks? You can add end screens to the last 5-20 seconds of your video to encourage clicks to other videos/playlists/channels, to call for subscriptions, or link to external sites. End screen element clicks measures how often people click these elements.

Why do end screen element clicks matter? End screens are a great way to increase watch time by promoting related videos. 

Tip: Leave enough space at the end of your video to place end screens, and encourage people in the video to click these elements.

Audience Metrics/Categories

Audience and demographic categories indicate where your viewers are coming from, who they are, and how they differ in watch patterns. You can break down viewers by these categories and compare view/reach/interaction metrics per group.

16. Traffic Source

What is a traffic source? Traffic sources are where your viewers find your video. Traffic sources can be within YouTube through channel pages, search, playlists, suggested videos, or other YouTube features, or from outside of YouTube, through external websites or direct traffic.

Why do traffic sources matter? Traffic sources can show you where you’re really succeeding or where you have missed opportunities. They can help you to see where optimizations need to be made.

Tip: By clicking the “External” traffic source, you can see which websites bring in the most views to your videos. This is a great way to identify potential influencers or traffic-driving websites.

Bonus tip: By clicking the “YouTube search” traffic source, you can see the search terms that are driving people to your video. You may want to either add these tags to your video to increase views, or remove certain tags that are attracting the wrong types of searches.

17. Geography

What is geography? This breaks your viewers down by country.

Why does geography matter? If your business is catered to a particular country or countries, you want to make sure your videos are reaching the right people.

Tip: Check all of your view metrics (e.g. watch time, view duration) by country. If you have one target country that’s not performing as well as others, consider adding subtitles or tailoring the content more to that particular culture or language.

18. Viewer age & Viewer gender

What are viewer age and gender? Your video viewers can be broken down into age groups and gender.

Why do age and gender metrics matter? It’s crucial to know who is watching your videos if your brand or business is tailored to a particular demographic age group or gender. 

Tip: If you click through to an age group or gender, you’ll see the videos that the particular age group or gender are watching or engaging with most. Then, try to tease apart what makes these videos resonate more with your demographic, and adjust your future video strategy.

19. Device type & Operating System

What are device type and operating system? You can see which devices and operating systems your video viewers are using.

Why do devices matter? If the majority of your viewers are coming from mobile devices, they may be more interested in shorter videos or videos with subtitles. Desktop users or those watching on TVs are more likely to favor longer videos or playlists.

Tip: When making your video, test it on a smaller screen to make sure smaller elements like text are still visible to mobile viewers.

Subscription Metrics

Earning subscribers is the best way to increase overall watch time and views for your videos. These metrics allow you to track where your subscribers are coming from.

20. Subscription Status

What is subscription status? This provides an analytics breakdown of your viewers split between subscribers and non-subscribers.

Why does subscription status matter? This allows you to note any differences in viewing habits between subscribers and non-subscribers, or which videos may lead to more subscriptions.

Tip: If your goal is to increase subscriptions, look for videos that are watched more by non-subscribers. Try to decide: are they watched more by non-subscribers because they cover a relevant, but previously uncovered topic, or are they simply watched more by non-subscribers because the content isn’t relevant to your channel? 

21. Subscription Source

What is subscription source? This shows you which subscription button locations on YouTube are leading to subscribers. Examples include the video watch page, your YouTube channel, interactive features like cards or end screens, the home page, and more.

Why does subscription source matter? This report uncovers potential missed opportunities where you’re currently not earning subscribers.

Tip: To earn more subscribers, go back to your most-watched videos and add more interactive elements encouraging subscriptions.

More Miscellaneous YouTube Metrics

There are countless more metrics on YouTube—we’ve just covered the most important ones. Here’s a quick list of a few of these other metrics:

  • Live vs. on demand metrics
  • Playback location metrics
  • Subtitles and closed captioning metrics
  • Sharing service metrics

Top 12 YouTube Analytics Tools of 2019

While YouTube offers a strong suite of in-platform analytics, third-party tools can help you truly understand larger patterns in your viewer behavior, monitor your competitors, discover potential influencers, track your ROI, and track trending topics.

We’ve previously covered the top social media analytics tools and top social media listening tools, many of which provide tools for YouTube, but this list below is curated specifically for YouTube. Let’s dive in!

1. YouTube Studio Analytics

As we’ve already covered above, the YouTube Studio provides a comprehensive list of metrics that let you analyze the quality of each video, the demographics of your viewers, and your subscriber counts.

Benefits:

  • Viewer retention – YouTube gives you incredible insight into moment-by-moment viewership data
  • Robust – YouTube Analytics has an incredible wealth of data that feeds in to most other tools
  • Free – For new or infrequent users, this is a big plus.

Cost: Free with every YouTube channel.

2. Keyhole

Keyhole is a multi-platform social listening and advanced analytics tool that provides powerful at-a-glance insights. Keyhole combines social listening, social media analytics, media monitoring and social media account optimization, all included in one suite. 

Benefits:

  • Trackers – Track metrics for as many YouTube channels, hashtags, or keywords as you need, not just your own channel.
  • Optimization – Unlock insights like the optimal time to post your video, the optimal video duration, the top tags by views, the optimal number of video tags, and average views by day.
  • Influencers – Keyhole has useful influencer-tracking tools that let you measure the impact of each influencers and co-collaborator on your YouTube channel

Cost: After a 7-day free trial, Keyhole has three tiers of pricing: Professional (3 users), Corporate (10 users), and Enterprise (unlimited users), with a scalable pricing scale dependent on account trackers.

3. Vidooly

Vidooly is an AI-powered video marketing tool that provides insights and analytics across Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitch, and more. In addition to free metrics for any channel on YouTube, Vidooly allows you to measure the success of targeted video campaigns.

Benefits:

  • Influencers – Identify and partner with content creators relevant to your genre
  • Benchmark – Compare your video data with your competitors
  • Content ideas – Research trending topics within your niche

Cost: After a free demo, Vidooly pricing varies widely dependent on the solution you choose.

4. ChannelMeter

ChannelMeter is a tool for discovering and managing brand influencers on YouTube—a great option if you’re looking to grow your brand through other users’ channels. ChannelMeter is sales and monetization focused, providing tools to discover monetization opportunities, manage your content creator network, and manage payments.

Benefits:

  • Earnings analytics – Provides an intuitive dashboard of recent video earnings
  • Influencer payments – Tools to manage payments to content creators
  • Recruit – Tools to recruit related influencers

Cost: ChannelMeter pricing is not publicly available. For pricing information, contact the vendor directly.

5. Rival IQ

Rival IQ provides competitor benchmarking analytics and tracks your cross-channel audience across every major online content platform.

Benefits:

  • Benchmarking – Track how often competitor brands post certain types of media (e.g. videos) and what engagement rates they receive 
  • Cross-channel analysis – See which media websites are most likely to share YouTube content
  • Social listening – Track trending topics to inspire new video content

Cost: Rival IQ has a 14-day free trial, followed by three pricing tiers, starting at $199/month.

6. Social Report

Social Report is an all-in-one social media marketing platform. It provides a summary of engagement activity across your social network profiles and blogs. Social Report’s most stand-out feature is the ability to measure ROI and link customer data to social performance.

Benefits:

  • ROI tracking – Their conversion tracking tool allows you to calculate the ROI of a piece of content, including YouTube videos.
  • Automatic reporting – Enable notifications with daily or weekly reports.

Cost: All three pricing tiers start with a 30-day free trial. Their 5-user standard tier starts at $49/month.

7. Social Bakers

Social Bakers uses AI to find your target audience on social, what content they’re most interested in, and influencers and brands they love. Through this tool, you can monitor the most popular YouTube channels and videos in your industry to draw inspiration from.

Benefits:

  • Personas – Take advantage of AI-generated audience personas to better understand who you’re creating content for
  • Content analysis – Get smart recommendations on posting times and topics
  • Automated analysis – Automate analysis of similarly labeled posts

Cost: Social Bakers has some free tools and offers a free trial of unspecified length. They offer four pricing tiers, but pricing is only publicly available at the lowest tier, starting at $200/month.

8. Quintly

Quintly is a social media analytics tool that offers an organized library of YouTube Analytics. It offers a convenient dashboard to track views, subscribers, and engagements across every social media platform.

Benefits:

  • Flexibility – Quintly allows you to custom-arrange your dashboard to display the analytics you care about most
  • Automated reports – Create and automate social media reports for your team or clients

Cost: Quintly pricing depends on your custom plan, but pricing starts at $300/month.

9. Klear

Klear is an influencer marketing platform that allows you to find and manage influencers, analyze key metrics, and measure the ROI of your campaigns.

Benefits:

  • Influencer tracking – Klear makes it easy to find YouTube influencers that will help you build your brand
  • Depth of data – Klear has a robust collection of influencer data across all social networks

Cost: Klear is primarily an enterprise-level platform, for which pricing is not publicly available, but they do offer discounted pricing for agencies under 20 employees.

10. TubeBuddy

TubeBuddy is a popular YouTube optimization tool. It offers productivity tools, bulk processing abilities, video SEO tools, automated promotion tools, and robust data and analytics tools.

Benefits:

  • YouTube SEO – TubeBuddy has auditing tools, suggested tags and keywords, keyword rank tracking, and caption services
  • Channel analysis – Channel and competitor insights, comment word clouds, brand alerts, retention analyzer, and more
  • Bulk tools – Easily add cards and end screens to multiple videos

Cost: TubeBuddy has several pricing tiers depending on the features you choose, starting as low as $4.50/month if your channel has under 1,000 subscribers. They also offer discounts for non-profits.

11. Hootsuite

Hootsuite is a popular social scheduling tool that supports every mainstream social network. On top of providing scheduling for video posts, their YouTube platform has a Channelview Insights add-on that lets you 

Benefit:

  • Convenience – If you already use Hootsuite as a scheduler, it’s convenient to have your YouTube channel insights in the same dashboard.

Cost: After a free 30-day trial, Hootsuite offers four tiers of pricing, starting at $29/month for a single user.

12. Sendible

Sendible is another scheduling and listening tool, designed primarily for agencies. Sendible’s strength is the ability to make customized reports via PDF or email to help showcase the success of your YouTube strategy to your agency’s clients.

Benefits:

  • Reporting – Create custom-branded reports with YouTube analytics to impress your clients
  • Schedule and collaborate – Tools to assign/approve social posts with custom access levels for team members

Cost: Sendible provides a 30-day trial, with 4 tiers of pricing for 1-12 users, starting at $29/month.

YouTube Analytics Recap

By tracking your YouTube Analytics, whether it’s on YouTube or through one of these helpful third-party YouTube Analytics tools, you’ll gain valuable new insights about your business and your video strategy.

Want to learn even more? Visit our blog for more practical YouTube marketing advice.

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