Claire Pullinger

YouTube Marketing Specialist


YouTube Analytics - How to Use the Various Tools to Your Advantage

Country specific versions of YouTube are available in 88 countries in 76 different languages. It now has over a billion users which is roughly one-third of the total number of people with Internet access across the world. Hence, it comes as no surprise that even small businesses are investing substantial amounts of capital in creating videos and promoting ad content in order to increase sales and reach out to a wider audience.

This is where YouTube Analytics comes in. It is an indispensable tool that provides you with crucial insights about your channel and how your viewers are engaging with it. There are multiple features and options available on YouTube Analytics and following are some of the ways by which you can capitalize on each of them -

Track your Traffic Sources

Analytics’ traffic source report is not as detailed as some of its other report but this does not take away from its significance as it shows you how people end up on your videos. It mentions three main sources of traffic, namely – within YouTube, external sources, and direct/unknown sources. Apart from these three categories, in May 2016, YouTube modified its traffic source classification by creating two additional categories for campaign cards and end-screens.

In YouTube, sources include search queries, suggested videos, advertising, browse features, cards, end-screens etc. Meanwhile, external sources refer to websites or apps that have embedded YouTube videos or link to videos. If you click on these traffic sources, analytics will generate some key stats including watch time, views, average view duration, and the geographical information for each of the sources.

To get the most of this report, you fiddle with a bunch of settings. Among other things, you can set the date range that you want the report to display, view sources based on location, select only specific videos on your channel, filter out irrelevant traffic sources, and segment subscriber/non-subscriber data. Compared to some other reports, the available options might seem limited, but rest assured you can use this data to great effect, whether it’s for optimising your channel or promoting your videos.

Monitor the Performance of your Cards

YouTube cards are a great way to encourage your viewers to interact with your video content. These cards (visual or text based) which can be set to appear at any point in a video, are used by businesses to raise funds, promote merchandise, link viewers to videos/playlists or to inform them about their associated websites depending on the type of card used.

Most e-marketers spend a considerable amount of time designing eye-catching cards because of the massive impact a well-designed card can have on your traffic and leads from YouTube. They also regularly monitor the performance of their cards through analytics and constantly tweak their strategies based on insights gleaned from its reports. 

YouTube analytics in its Cards report gives you access to detailed information about how viewers are interacting with your cards so you know what works and what needs to change at a glance. Its key metrics for ‘total cards data’ include the number of times card teasers have been shown, click count on teasers, the click-through-rate for teasers and cards, and clicks on specific cards. Apart from total cards data, cards report provides you with comprehensive statistics about the performance of individual cards as well. Use this data to discover which cards perform better than others and try to identify the underlying reasons behind their relative success.

Identify your Target Audience

It goes without saying that people will not take your brand seriously unless you create high quality video content. Unfortunately, even with high quality content, you might still fail to achieve your sales targets if you are marketing to the wrong audience. This is why it is extremely important to identify who is actually watching your content. For instance, if you are selling sneakers for teenagers, you need to make videos that take into account their short attention span. Identify the demographic that is interested in your content and tailor your videos so that it captures their attention.

This information gathering exercise is very useful for paid advertising as well. It makes logical sense to market and promote your brand to people who are legitimately interested in what you are posting. Use analytics determine your audience’s age group, gender, geographical location and interests so that you can effectively target the right audience.

Audience Retention

This is an extremely valuable metric that tells you if your viewers are actually interested in the content that you are creating. The audience retention report does this by giving you a vital piece of data – how long your viewers are watching your videos for. This feature alone sets YouTube Analytics apart from all its competitor tools. While other metrics such as likes, subscribes and comments are useful for determining viewer engagement, the audience retention rate overshadows the rest. In fact, a better audience retention rate can even improve your search rankings.

This report tells you about metrics like the average view duration for all your channel’s videos so you get an overview of how long a user typically sticks around for. It also tells you another very important statistic – the retention rate for a given video at a particular time. This indicates what parts of your video your audience finds the most interesting. Another noteworthy metric in this report is the relative audience retention rate for similar videos on YouTube which gives you a sense of the relative performance of your videos. If you notice that viewers are dropping off in the first 20 seconds of your video, then you need to modify your content so that it holds the attention of your target audience.

On the other hand, in the event that you are struggling with poor retention rates past the first minute, then there could be several factors at play including overly lengthy videos, uninteresting content, title-content mismatch and so on.