Most business owners would be amazingly happy to learn that their videos are amassing thousands of views. That should mean that the videos they are putting out there are fantastic and are achieving their goals, right? That’s the ultimate proof of the success of a video marketing strategy!

You’d think so. But even when views are important, they aren’t the only metric you should take into account when analyzing how well your videos are doing, especially on YouTube. Successful videos on YouTube show a combination of quantitative and qualitative metrics that you have to look at while creating a video and after uploading it to Google’s platform.

Here are the 7 most important metrics you should be keeping an eye on while analyzing your YouTube videos!

1 – Take a Look at Your Audience Demographics and Playback Location

When you create your videos, you have some sense of the audience of which you’re targeting. Perhaps they are meant for adult chefs from the New York area or teenage athletes from Europe. That’s why you have to pay close attention to demographics and playback location of the videos you’re uploading to YouTube.

A Child watching Youtube videos on a laptop computer

The demographics page of YouTube analytics gives you much-needed insights into the age, gender, geography and many more about your audience. In there you’ll also find the playback location part, which will show you where your views are coming from, be them from the YouTube site, its app or from another site. All that data is extremely useful to determine whether you’re reaching the people you’re picturing when shooting your videos.

These will let you see if you’re reaching those old cooking fans in the Big Apple or if you’re missing the mark and need to revise what you’re doing. Even if your audience is broad enough as to make you think you can neglect the demographic metrics, you can learn a thing or two about the people watching – and further customize your upcoming videos to speak directly to them.

2 – Go Beyond the Views and Into the Watching Times

We all love to have thousands of views on our YouTube videos – even when we don’t precisely know what a view means! Yeah, that’s right: Google never disclosed how much time someone has to watch a video for it to count as a view. So, we need to use estimates and approximates. We surely can do better than that!

Go beyond the views and into the watching times


That’s when watch time comes in. With the combination of 2 metrics, you can understand your audience’s activity in a better way and adjust your videos accordingly. These metrics are:

  • Average view duration: the average time people spend watching a single video (or your whole channel)
  • Average percentage viewed: the parts of a video that keeps audiences engaged (the first few seconds, a part in the middle, etc.)

Taking a closer look at those numbers can speak volumes about your video content. Is your average view duration dropping on your latest videos? Then you have to check what you’ve changed for that to happen. Are people dropping out of your videos after your first few seconds? Maybe it’s time to get rid of that bland presentation of yours.

The best thing about these metrics is that you can compare your videos to one another and see which one has performed better. After that, you can write down the differences between the successful videos (AKA the videos that people keep watching) and the videos that flopped.

3 – Determine Your Videos’ Audience Retention Rates

Knowing how much time your audience spends watching your video is good and all, but it’s not enough. You have to analyze the quality of those views because even if you have an average percentage viewed of 80%, you have to put that number into context. People might be watching your short videos in their entirety but only a part of your longer videos – and maybe those longer videos are the ones you want to push the hardest!

That’s where the Audience Retention metric enters. With it, you’ll learn the exact time in which your audience stopped paying attention. It’s not just a matter of “a problematic introduction” or “dumb ending” but a very precise moment in your video that comes extremely in handy when determining what works and what doesn’t.


Determine Your Videos’ Audience Retention Rates

There are 2 possible ways to read audience retention rates:

  • Absolute audience retention: you can take a look at this graph to learn what specific parts in your videos are the most watched, calculated by the numbers of views for those moments as a percentage of the total number of those videos’ views. This is incredibly useful to learn which parts are always skipped or always watched.
  • Relative audience retention: this metric will let you compare your videos’ performance with other YouTube videos of a similar length. This kind of broader context is perfect to redefine a metric’s value. Perhaps you feel like people aren’t finishing your longer videos but with this report, you might learn that videos of that length of most topics show a similar performance (the good ol’ case of “it’s not you, it’s your audience”)

Though YouTube only gives you the possibility to analyze audience retention metrics for just one video at the time, you should definitely take a look at your most viewed videos from this page to understand them better.

4 – Find Out Where Your Traffic is Coming From

People will surely find your YouTube videos in several ways. Some people might find them by using YouTube’s search, others will come from Google, some others will watch them while embedded on a site and so on. Learning where those people are coming from is the key to further optimize your videos and maximize their reach.


 Find Out Where Your Traffic is Coming From

Thanks to YouTube’s Traffic Sources page, you can do just that. In it, you’ll see a graph that displays your traffic sources along with the number of views that came from them. A quick look will let you learn how people are discovering your content.

Maybe a lot of people are coming from external sites, so you can further push your videos on those sites (or on similar sites). Perhaps people are coming from YouTube search and you can improve that number even more by using more precise keywords, other thumbnails, and the like.

Basically, understanding these numbers will let you refine your video distribution strategy by identifying the sources that can be improved upon and the ones that aren’t worth taking the trouble.

5 – Learn About Your Audience’s Favorite Devices

If the sites people are using to discover your content are important, imagine how equally important the devices they are using are to access your videos. Finding a video through a PlayStation isn’t the same as watching it through a tablet. The way the video looks is different for each device, so it’s crucial to check what your audience’s preferred one is.

We all assume most people will be watching videos on their smartphones and, while that tendency is getting stronger every passing minute, perhaps your niche is different. You’ll only know that if you check the devices part of the YouTube Insights. Of course, acting accordingly to what you find it is essential – people on larger screens might be looking for more detailed and spectacular content than those on smaller devices.


Learn About Your Audience’s Favorite Devices

6 – Factor in the Audience Engagement Metrics

For quite some time, engagement has been the golden metric for most marketers and it still has a lot of value to check on how successful your YouTube videos truly are. Sure enough, engagement in and by itself can’t be measured. There are other metrics that can be identified separately to see how engaged an audience truly is. They are:

  • Views: I’ve talked about the views above, so I won’t repeat myself. Enough to say that successful videos have tons of views (albeit high-quality ones). If people are engaged with your videos, they’ll watch them more than once and they’ll invite people to watch them as well.
  • Likes and dislikes: these are pretty straightforward ways to see how well-received your videos have been among your audience. You can even use YouTube to compare likes and dislikes with other metrics (like Watch time) to understand why people loved/hated a particular piece of content.
  • Shares: YouTube is the second largest social network right now, so whenever a person decides to share your video with his or her friends, your reach increases and your message gets a broader audience. YouTube lets you check not just how many times your videos have been shared but also which sites are used the most to share them (a fantastic way to identify the main channel you should have in mind when creating videos).
  • Comments: open and honest feedback is one of the most valuable tools you can put your hands on to improve your videos. That’s precisely what you’re getting with YouTube comments (well, that and a lot of nonsensical fights and theories). Use the comments to your advantage and encourage them in your videos by asking questions or “chatting” with the people watching. All the information your audience willingly put in the comment section will help you make better videos.
  • Subscribers: the number of people that are looking forward to hearing from you. People that subscribe are also more likely to comment and share your videos, so be sure to invite your audience to do so. It’s safe to assume that the more subscribers you have, the better.


Factor in the Audience Engagement Metrics

7 – See How Much Traffic Your Site is Getting From YouTube

I imagine you’re shooting videos and uploading them to YouTube to get more people to buy your product, hire your service or whatever it is you’re promoting. I’d also like to believe that you’re using a website to do so (or a landing page, at least). So, checking how many people are going from your YouTube videos to your website has to be an interesting metric to track, right?

Right. Fortunately, Google offers you the possibility to track that through the Referrals part of your Analytics. In there, you’ll be able to see how many people are coming to the site from YouTube, the average time they are spending on the destination pages and the bounce rate of the people that are landing on the pages you link in your YouTube videos.

There’s also the conversion rate from YouTube visits, an extremely valuable metric to see how well your message is getting across to your audience. With it, you can learn how many people ended up doing what you wanted them to do (buying, subscribing, etc.) of the total number of visits you get from your YouTube videos.

All of these things can be combined to understand your target audience even more. If you’re getting any traffic on your site that’s coming from YouTube, then you’d better start using links (or placing them differently). Additionally, your bounce rate can tell whether people are finding on your site what you’re promising in your videos or not.

Some Final Words

Views are just a hint of your YouTube videos’ success. Sure, you want millions of people to watch them, but you should feel great if you manage to pull a couple of thousand views of extremely qualified leads.

YouTube videos should work beyond the platform. They should be bringing traffic to your site, helping you close sales, getting your name out there, and getting you some valuable feedback. All that information is already available to you in the videos you’ve uploaded: you only have to take a look at the metrics above to collect it all and take your YouTube marketing strategy to the next level.

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