YouTube Analytics

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What are the most relevant metrics? 

Marketers usually have a “toxic relationship” with metrics. They care too much about all of them when, in fact, most metrics don’t reveal much about the target audience. Fortunately, there are good practices and useful guides to help keep your head on your shoulders as a marketer and keep your eyes on the bull’s eye. This is one of them and in the following, we will navigate through the most relevant metrics on YouTube to save you some time and help you find your way through the complex maze of YouTube Analytics. 

These 15 relevant YouTube metrics will definitely enhance any video strategy!

Watch Time

Watch time is the sum of minutes your viewers have spent watching your videos, overall. Based on this metric, YouTube brings up videos and channels in the search results. A good watch time also means your channel will be up there, in the recommendations section. The logic between this is simple: if people spend more than watching your videos, it means they are engaging and the algorithm favors them. 

A watch time report is automatically generated in your YouTube Analytics and that’s where you can see the amount of watch time you’ve accumulated in a month and even a “lifetime” (that is since the creation of the YouTube account). What is more, YouTube enables you to order each video by watch time, styles, lengths, themes, so you can make your own calculations and decide which ones performed better. 

Average Percentage Viewed

This metric lets you know the average percentage of your video that the average viewer has seen. The bigger the percentage, the better, since YouTube’s algorithm will think that a high average percentage viewed metric means a highly engaging and entertaining video which can keep people glued to the screen for a good period of time. This means higher search and recommendation rankings. 

Average View Duration

This might sound the same as the previous two, but it isn’t. Take the total watch time we were talking about above, divide it by the total number people have hit play and replay on your video and you’ve got the average view duration. If your video is so good that people will hit play and replay and watch almost the full video, then your search and recommendation rankings will be boosted considerably. This metric can be found in the watch time report. 

Audience Retention

This metric represents the average percentage of your video that people actually watch. YouTube really likes videos with high retention levels and elevates them in the suggestions section. 

This is also a good strategic metric which enables you to understand which parts of your videos are the most captivating for your viewers and thus, you can create new videos on those subjects and using that style. Also, you can track the most boring parts and try to avoid them in your next content strategy. 

A YouTube retention report is quite simple to read: you’ve got two graphs, one that shows the absolute retention curve and one that shows the relative retention curve. The first graph helps you understand how well your videos retain viewers on overall, while the second lets you see how well one of your videos perform in the audience retention metric. 


Some might call this a “qualitative metric” since it records the number of times someone has re-watched a certain part of a certain video. This means solid ground on which you can build a future content strategy. You can single out the topics your viewers are most interested in and decide to make more videos on that. All this data is hidden in the absolute audience retention graph. (not that hidden, you can access it whenever you want) Your re-watches are illustrated through rising curves. 


This is quite simple; engagement means: likes, dislikes, comments, and shares. This is a metric that anyone can measure, really. A qualitative survey of the comment section could give you a feeling of what your viewers think and what is their emotional state regarding your content. Shares are another major metric which many marketers declared as the “ultimate metric” since it is a very good indicator of how much viewers value your content. If they care to share it with others, then they might really look high on your brand. Likes and dislikes can also help you build better and better content strategies for the future. By knowing what people like and don’t like, you can think the next video topics with much ease and confidence. 

All these engagement metrics are to be found in the YouTube Interaction Report. 

Impressions Click-Through Rate

This is one tricky metric. After your video has appeared on the viewers’ homepage, trending or recommendation section, the algorithm will measure to what percent the viewer has clicked on it. A high click-through rate means your content is very relevant for a large area of audiences and YouTube will favor it further on. 

For example, after you post a new video, your subscribers will see your video on their homepage and, if they’re loyal, click on it. This will skyrocket your click-through rate in the first hours after you’ve released your video. Afterward, when your video will appear beyond your core audience, this metric might drop and keep a steady level. 

If coupled with the average view duration and average percentage viewed, your impressions click-through rate metric can help you get an overall image of how much people actually watch your content after they’ve clicked on it. 

There are also cases in which you get a small impressions click-through rate, but a generous engagement. This means your audience is very specific and very loyal to you. It’s up to you if you want to keep with this strategy or open up to a more general audience. 

Card Click-Through Rate

Those links or subscribe buttons that appear during a video are called cards. Each card has a specific metric to it – the card click-through rate. This enables you to see which actions your viewers tend to take during your videos and thus know what kind of cards to add to your video content so that they’ll click on them. 

Playlist Engagement

Playlists makes it easier to organize your content on different pillars and topics so that subscribers should know what and where to look for. There are two metrics which can help you follow your playlist engagement: views per playlist start and average time in playlist.  The first one measures your average number of views. The second one is a little more interesting, as it lets you know the average time that viewers spend watching the videos in your playlist. One good tactic to grow playlist engagement is to start your playlists with the videos with the highest retention rate.

Unique Viewers

The number of viewers who watch your videos over a certain period of time are unique viewers. If your subscriber count is higher than the unique viewers metric, it means you are not engaging well enough with your subscribers. Always make sure you ask them to hit that notifications button so that they’ll know when you post a new video.  Closely monitoring this metric will give you insights on the actual size of your audience. 

 Views Per Unique Viewers

This metric tells your how much your viewers enjoy one of your videos and if they keep rewatching it or not. So, if one video topic gets a lot of attention from your viewers who just watch it over and over again, then it means you should consider making more videos on that topic. 

 Who’s Watching your Videos demographics

In the demographics tab of your YouTube channel, you will get to know your public better: their age, their gender, and geography. This is the perfect space where you can compare your desired target audience with your actual audience and work on your next long-term strategy to reach the audience you really want. 

Subscriber Growth

Usually, subscribers are the ones who always watch your content and share an affection for your brand. Subscribers are notified whenever you post a new video and your new content will also appear on their homepage. So, they are the ones who see your videos most frequently and get you more views. In the Subscribers Report, you will see your subscribers’ evolution over different periods of time, so you can deduce what topics gain you the most subscribers and which make you lose subscribers. This way, you’ll know where to target new subscribers and what strategies to use. 

Traffic Sources

Your YouTube viewers might come from different media, not only from YouTube. For example, vlogs shared on Instagram stories or embedded on different sites might get you more viewers. These sources are displayed in your traffic sources reports. You will also see there if your viewers came from the recommended section or Homepage on YouTube. This helps you track your viewers’ journey and see how they find you. This will help you better optimize your strategy on a long-term basis. 


The YouTube Search Report is also quite important if you want to track the most popular searches on YouTube and thus see what people are most interested in a given period of time. This helps to adjust your topics to the most searched keywords, so that your videos might appear in the Search section on YouTube more easily. After a thorough research on keywords, you should also consider editing your already-posted content so that it contains certain keywords in the description. If you cannot really squeeze these popular keywords in the metadata, then you should devise a strategy to create new videos on the most popular topics of the day on YouTube. 


All in all, these are the most relevant 15 metrics to follow on YouTube Analytics. It will mostly tell you everything you need to know about how your content is performing and what your subscribers and viewers are enjoying. The next step is to adjust your strategy so you grow based on these metrics.