"How can I be successful on YouTube?"
To answer this question, you need to understand important YouTube KPIs and track the right metrics.
Of course, analytics is a crucial part of any marketing strategy.
However, YouTube has its own set of KPIs and analytics varying from other digital marketing platforms. That can make it harder to begin with a solid video strategy and constantly optimize it. Worst, you may drown in the sea of too many metrics offering minimal insights.
To remedy that, we created this list of the most important YouTube KPIs you should track and use the data to drive your channel's growth faster.
Watch time on YouTube is the total time viewers have spent watching your videos. It’s a major ranking factor for YouTube SEO as it ultimately reflects the satisfaction level of YouTube users.
If users spend a ton of time watching your videos, it tells YouTube’s algorithm that those videos are highly engaging. Therefore, YouTube promotes your videos to more people in their search results and recommendations section—resulting in more views. On the other hand, low watch time is a sign of low-engaging videos.
By monitoring the watch time of different videos, you can determine the type of videos getting maximum engagement, pinpoint low-engaging content, and identify areas of videos where your viewers begin to lose interest. You can apply the detailed analytics from social media analytics tools to understand what kind of content you should create more to boost engagement and rankings.
The number of video views is an important YouTube metric, but views alone won’t give you enough insights to improve your YouTube videos.
For instance, your videos can gain millions of views, but what if people leave your videos within a few seconds?
That’s why video views can be a powerful metric only when combined with another KPI, such as total watch time.
Let’s say your video has many views, but the watch time is significantly low. It could mean that the viewers liked the video title but weren’t satisfied with the content. You can then look closely at the videos to find out the root cause of disengagement.
Audience retention refers to the percentage of viewers watching and leaving your video every second. YouTube favors videos with high audience retention for search rankings and suggestions because it indicates that more viewers are likely to watch these videos till the end.
The audience retention YouTube report helps you design your future video strategy. It reflects the most engaging parts of your videos which could be the best topic for your next video.
Audience retention data also shows the parts of videos people skip, fragments they re-watch, and the point when they start dropping off. Such data helps you discover the boring sections of your videos, allowing you to scrape them off from current and future videos.
Like other social media channels, engagement, such as likes, dislikes, comments and shares, is a key focus when analyzing YouTube videos. They demonstrate the emotional impact of your videos on users.
For instance, comments tell you what viewers feel about your videos. Whether the feeling is good or bad, you can judge through the tone of the comments. Likes and dislikes are an excellent way to decide if your audience likes your content. Shares are the most revealing. If viewers are encouraged enough to share your videos with others, you know that you are creating great content.
Subscribers are fans who want to stay updated with your channel and videos. They’ll receive your videos in their feed. And if their notification is turned on, they’ll instantly get an alert when you release a new video.
Subscribers’ growth helps you improve your channel’s watch time. It tells you how many subscribers you lost or gained and which videos bring in the most subscribers.
If you analyze the type of videos your subscribers watch, you will unearth the content your ideal audience likes, and you can make more of these in the future. This way, using social media analytics, you can cultivate a community of fans interested in the message you want to deliver.
There are two types of click-through rates (CTR):
A high impression click-through rate means your video title is compelling, and the topic resonates well with your targeted audience. But you can’t solely rely on this YouTube metric to measure your video’s success. You could have a high impression CTR, but if the engagement rate is low, it means that the videos have little emotional appeal.
A common phenomenon for impression click-through rates is that they instantly soar after you release the video—your subscribers probably click on the video when they see it at the top of their home page. But once your video expands beyond your core audience, your CTR may decrease or stay at a stable rate.
Therefore, you should always analyze this metric along with other KPIs like audience retention and traffic sources.
Here’s what a card looks like in the video:
You can use cards to promote your content, YouTube channel, or other creators’ content. You can also sell your merchandise. And so on.
Each card has different click-through rates, and it tells you about the actions viewers take after watching your videos.
YouTube top cards report shows which cards your users clicked the most across all the videos in your channel. With this data, you can figure out the best time and place to display cards in your videos.
This YouTube metric can be used to optimize your video promotion strategy as the traffic sources report shows how viewers discovered your videos. It could be through YouTube Search, YouTube Suggested Video, YouTube Channel Pages, or external sources like social media. It also discloses the sources racking up maximum views and watch time.
YouTube’s demographics report shows the different types of people—segmented by age, gender, and geography—watching your videos.
Tracking who your most engaged audience is and where they come from helps you understand them better. You will know who you should target, what keywords you should use, and which tags will put you in front of more similar viewers.
You can also use this data with an opposite approach. Let’s say if you are not reaching your targeted audience, analyze the YouTube report data and try tweaking your strategy accordingly to attract your potential customers.
In the end, success on YouTube comes down to creating engaging content and driving prospects down the sales funnel.
Tracking the 7 YouTube KPIs in your YouTube analytics account arms you with the data you need to reach your goals and achieve business success with YouTube videos.
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