YouTube Analytics: A Simple Guide to Tracking the Right Metrics
YouTube analytics allow you to measure the success of your YouTube marketing efforts. You can use them to monitor your progress toward achieving specific goals like growing subscribers or increasing video views, and identify what works and what flops.
Marketers can track just about everything from the YouTube Studio dashboard, from YouTube channel analytics right down to real-time video metrics. But just because you can track everything, doesn’t mean you should. Especially if you don’t know how to translate raw data into meaningful information.
Learn what turns a viewer into a subscriber. Start spotting new opportunities, not missed opportunities. Tap into the right YouTube metrics to understand what your audience values and how to keep them engaged.
Bonus: Download the free 30-day plan to grow your YouTube following fast, a daily workbook of challenges that will help you kickstart your Youtube channel growth and track your success. Get real results after one month.
How to use YouTube analytics
Here’s how to use YouTube analytics on desktop and mobile.
How to see analytics on YouTube
1. Login to your YouTube account.
2. Click your profile icon in the upper right corner, then select YouTube Studio.
3. From the Channel Dashboard, select Analytics from the left-hand menu.
4. Toggle between Overview, Reach, Engagement, Audience, and Revenue.
5. Select Advanced Mode in the upper right corner for a more detailed breakdown of channel and video analytics.
To download a report, from Advanced Mode, click the downward pointing arrow in the upper right corner. Set your parameters, then choose Google Sheets or .csv file and click download.
From Advanced Mode, you can also click Compare To in the upper right corner. This allows you to compare year-over-year channel growth, videos against videos, or other aspects.
How to see YouTube analytics on mobile
1. Open the YouTube app.
2. Tap your profile icon in the upper right corner. Tap YouTube Studio.
3. Download the YouTube Studio app.
4. Open YouTube Studio and sign in to your account.
5. From the dashboard, under Analytics, click View More.
6. Toggle between Overview, Revenue, Discovery, Audience, Interactive Content, and Playlists.
YouTube metrics explained
YouTube analytics tools let you measure just about everything. But it’s not enough to simply record numbers. We breakdown what each YouTube metric measures, why it matters, and how it fits into your overall performance outlook.
YouTube channel metrics
Chart your overall channel performance, identify average trends, and get a snapshot of what works best with these YouTube channel metrics.
Subscribers: The number of people who have subscribed to your YouTube channel. From the overview section of the YouTube analytics dashboard, you can see how many subscribers you’ve gained over a selected period. Hover over (or tap) the icon to see how this figure compares to your typical subscriber growth.
Realtime views: The number of views your last published videos have received in the past 48 hours. This metric is a good way to track the performance of a YouTube Live or YouTube Premiere or recently published video.
Top videos: A snapshot of your top performing videos based on views, over a given period. By adjusting the timeframe, you can identify your all-time best performing videos. Or, opt for a shorter time period to see if certain videos have resurfaced.
Channel Views: The number of views your channel amassed over a given time period. Beside this metric, hover over (or tap) the icon to see how it compares to the average amount of views your channel receives.
Channel Watch time: The total amount of time, in hours, people have spent watching videos on your channel over a given period. You can also compare this stat to your average watch time, by hovering over or tapping the icon.
Use YouTube audience metrics to understand who watches your videos. Use these insights to inform your content and community management strategies.
Unique viewers: An estimate of the total number of people who watched your videos over a given period. Unlike channel views, this metric does not include multiple views from the same person.
Average views per viewer: An average of the number of times a viewer watched videos on your channel. This metric includes both views of multiple videos, and multiple views of the same video.
When your viewers are on YouTube: A bar chart that displays the days and times most of your viewers are on the platform. Use this info to schedule uploads at optimal times. If you have an active Community Tab, make sure an admin is available to create posts and respond to comments at this time.
Audience demographics: Take into consideration the age, gender, and location of your audience on YouTube. This information can help you plan content geared toward viewers, or create content for a segment your current audience is missing. Look also to see if viewers are using subtitles, and what languages are most used, so you can accommodate accordingly.
YouTube discovery metrics
How good is your YouTube SEO? Learn how people are discovering your videos, on and off YouTube, and adjust your promotion, algorithm, and keyword use accordingly.
Impressions and CTR: An impression is recorded each time someone sees the thumbnail for your video. Impressions click-through rate measures the percentage of people who clicked on the thumbnail to view your video.
A high click-through rate is a good indication your thumbnail and keywords are effective. But you’ll need to check watch time and average view duration stats to see if your video seals the deal.
Tip: Look for similarities between videos that have high or low click-through rates. Do they have anything in common?
Traffic sources: See where and how people are finding your videos. YouTube traffic sources include search, browse features, playlists, and suggested videos—all of which are powered to varying degrees by the YouTube algorithm.
Other sources include Direct URL or External. Click on each source to see a breakdown and drill down further. If you were expecting to see more traffic, consider these tips to promote your channel.
Tip: See if people watched your video on YouTube or embedded on a website. Go to the Reach tab and click Advanced Mode. From there, click the More dropdown menu below the date, and select Playback Locations.
Top YouTube search terms: Under Traffic Source: YouTube Search, you can see the top search terms that led people to your videos. This should give you a good indication of whether your SEO strategy is effective or needs to be tweaked in some areas. If a video is searched for often, consider adding it to a playlist to help people discover your related content.
YouTube video metrics
Whether a big production or a no frills livestream, it’s worthwhile to track individual YouTube video metrics. When you click on a video, you’ll land on a similar dashboard with Overview, Reach, Engagement, Audience, and Revenue tabs—only all the data pertains to the video in question.
Views: The number of times your video has been watched, including repeat views from the same person.
Video subscribers: The number of people who subscribed after watching your video. This metric provides one of the strongest indications that your content connected with viewers. On the flip side, you can also see the number of subscribers lost with a certain video, too.
Watch time: The cumulative amount of time people have spent watching your video (or videos). Click See More to have a look at how this figure changes over time. Has your watch time been consistent since you published the video, or are there spikes you can correlate to specific events?
Audience retention: See how far people made it through your video. The audience retention report provides you with an average view duration. It also shows you where the views drop off. Notice a big dip? Watch your video to try to understand why people may have left around a specific mark.
Tip: Retention will always gradually decline, so focus on abrupt drops. If you see peaks, they indicate viewers are re-watching certain parts of your video.
YouTube engagement metrics
See how and what people are engaging with on your channel. On desktop, engagement metrics can be found under the Engagement tab. On mobile, tap on the Interactive Content tab.
Likes and dislikes: While often considered vanity metrics, likes and dislikes can give you a sense of what people thought about your video. If a video receives a lot of dislikes, set aside some time to read the comments and analyze people’s sentiments. Comments are another form of engagement, and can be an invaluable source of qualitative data.
Tip: Under the Watch Time chart on desktop, click See More to see how many times your video has been shared.
Card and end screen reports: If you’ve added interactive content to your videos, these reports will give you an idea of the elements that work best. Have a look at your Top cards and Top end screen element types overall. To see how often people clicked on a card or end screen of a specific video, look at Clicks per card shown and End screen element click rate.
Find definitions for specific card and end screen metrics here.
Top playlists: See what playlists are in high rotation. Track your most popular playlists, total views, average view duration, and watch time. Take a look at Playlist starts and Playlist exit rate for more detail on engagement. To improve overall retention, YouTube suggests putting the videos with the highest retention upfront.
Tip: Add relevant popular videos from other creators to your playlists to improve discoverability and retention. See what playlists your videos have been added to in traffic sources.
YouTube revenue metrics
If your account is eligible for YouTube monetization features, the Revenue tab helps you track your earnings.
Estimated revenue: How much revenue your channel has earned over a selected period. This figure includes all forms of monetization, while Transaction revenue estimates net revenue from transactions for paid content such as Super Chat.
Revenue sources: A breakdown of how your videos make money on YouTube.
Running video ads on YouTube? Many of the same rules and metrics apply. Google’s Ads centre helps you unpack and understand how to track every format.
Popular YouTube analytics tools
Beyond YouTube Studio, use these YouTube analytics tools to see how your channel performs within your broader marketing efforts.
Add YouTube analytics insights to your Hootsuite dashboard with the Channelview Insights App. With this integration, you can analyze your YouTube video and channel performance alongside all your other social media channels. You can also schedule automatic, regular reports.
The one thing Google and YouTube have in common in addition to a parent company, is that they’re all about search and traffic. Set up YouTube tracking in Google Analytics for a more detailed look at how people reach your channel. Learn more about how to use Google Analytics for social tracking here.
If you include links to your website, social media accounts, or specific products (and you should), make sure to use UTM Parameters. Affix these shorts text codes to your URLs so you can track where traffic comes from. You’ll have a fuller picture of how YouTube marketing connects to your broader social media goals.
Track when your brand or YouTube channel is mentioned on YouTube and beyond. Mentionlytics lets you monitor social conversations about your brand, products, competitors, or keywords. Find out how people are reacting to your videos, add trending keywords to your video metadata, and identify influencers or partners that might be good to collaborate with on future projects.
Most people think numbers when it comes to analytics—but Brandwatch helps crunch conversations, sentiment, and tone on YouTube, in addition to countless other sources. With Brandwatch integration, you can monitor how people are talking about your YouTube content across social media—analysis that goes well beyond likes, dislikes, and manually perusing comments.
Grow your YouTube audience faster with Hootsuite. It’s simple to manage and schedule YouTube videos as well as quickly publish your videos to Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter—all from one dashboard. Try it free today.