Understanding YouTube Analytics

By Shaun Cronin | Small Business

Understanding YouTube Analytics image YouTubeUnderstanding YouTube Analytics

You’ve started using YouTube to upload and share videos for your business or organization.

Now you’re wondering who is actually watching your videos and how they can get more views and better engagement.

That’s where using YouTube Analytics comes in.

Building a bustling YouTube channel requires you to understand who your audience is and how they’re engaging with your videos.

Luckily, YouTube Analytics can tell you a lot about who your audience is, what they like, and what kind of content you should be creating to be successful.

To help you make the most of this valuable tool, I’ve put together a step-by-step overview of YouTube Analytics, the different insights it provides, and how you can use the information available in your reports to improve your results!

To get started, sign in to your Google account and navigate to your YouTube channel page.

At the top of your channel page, you will see subscribers, views and a link called Video Manager.

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Click views to go directly to your channel’s analytics.

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You are now looking at the Overview of your analytics. The default setting gives you data for the past 28 days, but you can change that to any period of time that you wish to retrieve analytics from.

This page gives you key information on performance and engagement in a concise and easy-to-read format. For a quick snapshot of your channel’s performance, Overview is the best place to go.

Every category on the Overview page has its own dedicated page with a more expansive breakdown. In the margin on the left hand side of this page you will find tabs for each aspect of the analytics YouTube provides.

Understanding YouTube Analytics image YTA Image 3Understanding YouTube AnalyticsLet’s take a closer look at each of these reports and how they can be used to your advantage:


The Views Report provides insight into the overall performance of your YouTube channel, and can also be used to dive deeper into the performance of individual videos.

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Using the search function at the top of the page, you can search for videos by name or location. You can also click on the calendar icon to choose a date range to analyze.

Within the Views Report you will see:

  • Views: See how many people have watched your video and more specifically how many have clicked a link that began playing your video. Whether a person only watches one second of your video before turning it off, or watches the entire video, both count as a view.
  • Estimated minutes watched: YouTube adds up the time that people have spent watching the videos you have shared. This simply shows how many minutes of your videos have collectively been watched on your channel.
  • Average view duration: See if people are watching your video all the way to the end or cutting before your video is finished. This is a great tool for determining the ideal length for videos you decide to create in the future.

Tip: Getting lots of views is great for branding and advertising, but that shouldn’t be the main measure by which you judge whether or not your video was successful. High engagement, good view duration, and growing subscription to your channel can be more rewarding than views. Quality viewers are more important than quantity.


Beyond views, YouTube also provides insight into the demographic breakdown of your audience.

The two insights currently available under Demographics are: gender and location.

Tip: For a small business that’s focused on a local clientele, YouTube’s geographic insights can provide a helpful look into whether or not your videos are reaching the right people. While it’s great to have a ton of views, you also want to make sure that you’re reaching a relevant audience for your business.

Playback locations

One of the great things about YouTube is that when you create a video that is fun, entertaining, or both — your videos can be shared in a number of different ways. One of the ways that people can share your videos is to embed them on their own website or blog.

The Playback locations report shows the sites your videos are being viewed on. This page also gives estimated minutes watched and average view duration, but this time broken down by location. This is a great way to see if people are embedding your videos on their sites or blogs and what those sites are.

Traffic sources

YouTube makes it easy to see how people are finding your videos.

Types of traffic sources include YouTube search, YouTube suggested videos (found within YouTube by clicking a thumbnail), YouTube channel page, and YouTube playlist. There are also categories for videos that are featured by YouTube on their masthead or by a guide feature YouTube generates based on what channels users follow.

Tip: One of the best ways to get more views on YouTube is to share your videos across your different communication channels — like email and social media. As you start to grow your channel and promote your videos, you can use this report to identify your most valuable sources of traffic.


This report lets you know what devices and operating systems people are watching your videos on. Computer, Mobile phone, Tablet, and Game console all have their own breakdown for you to get deeper into this data.

Tip: The vast majority of people watch YouTube videos on a computer. For this reason we suggest putting your videos into playlists. When viewing a video that is in a playlist on a computer, the layout changes to highlight the other videos in that sequence and will play the next video in that playlist, keeping the viewer watching your videos uninterrupted.

Audience retention

See how much of your video is being watched and, on average, when people are turning it off.

Tip: We recommend making videos between 30-90 seconds in length. It doesn’t sound like much time to get a lot of information out, but it’s an eternity on YouTube. Most people will watch your 30 second video all the way through, whereas very few people will watch your seven minute opus. The bottom line: shorter videos are more engaging than longer videos.

Below the Views reports are the Engagement reports.

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Views are just one part of building a successful YouTube Channel. As you start to share content on YouTube and build an audience, you’ll also want to be mindful of the type of engagement your videos are generating.

Here’s a closer look at the different Engagement reports available in YouTube Analytics:


See how many people have subscribed and unsubscribed to your channel. This is a great measure of success for your video content. You want to be creating videos that make people come back for more; you want to be a resource for information, inspiration, or entertainment.

Tip: According to Google, YouTube is the second largest search engine with over 3 billion searches a month. Get more subscribers by thinking about what people are searching for and creating content that’s valuable to them.

Likes and dislikes

YouTube makes it easy to see how people are responding to your videos — both positively and negatively.

Keep in mind that inspiring and entertaining videos typically garner the most amount of likes on YouTube. Other types of videos — like educational content, advertisements, or product focused videos — may not generate the same amount of likes, but will still play an important role in your YouTube strategy.


This report shows both when a video was marked as a favorite and also when it was unmarked. When a person marks your video as a favorite your video becomes a part of their favorites category on their personal YouTube profile. While a favorite is a great indicator of engagement for your video, having a person remove the favorite marker might just mean they don’t want it to be a part of their public profile anymore.


See how many comments each of your videos has received. Comments can be a great way to interact with your viewers. Keep up with your comments and respond promptly to any questions or criticism.

Always be professional. Avoid arguing with someone on a comment thread; simply ask them to follow up with you via email, so you can handle any concerns in a less public setting.


This report shows you the number of times your video has been shared, and which social network it is shared on. You can also view this data by date rather than video or sharing service.


Adding annotations to your videos gives viewers the ability to click through to your website or blog to read more.

This report provides details of the activity, click-through data, and close rates for each annotation you add to your videos.

If you want people to be able to link to your website or domain directly from your video (Associated Website annotations), you will need to enable this feature first. A Google Webmaster Tools account is required and you will have to verify your website with Google as well. This process takes a few steps but it’s worth it to be able to point people directly to your site from a video.

Tip: We have found that adding a single, clear, call to action at the end of your video is the most effective. This call to action should not be to buy a product or service — that’s not why people are on YouTube. Giving people the opportunity to learn more about your company or services, however, can be very effective. Try driving traffic to your website at the end of your video.

With these analytics you should have no problem measuring your success on YouTube.

Remember, YouTube is a social channel, not a place for you to advertise or sell your products or services.

The most valuable indicator of success is building an audience that cares about your brand and message and shows their enthusiasm through likes, comments, shares, and long engagement time. These are the folks that will click through your annotations and the people who will subscribe to your channel.

Using YouTube Analytics will help you decide which types of videos you should focus on. Your audience might be most interested in how-to’s, inspirational videos, or something that will make them laugh.

Pay attention to what they’re engaging with and create something that they will appreciate.

This article was syndicated from Business 2 Community: Understanding YouTube Analytics

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