Whether you’re managing a YouTube account for yourself or clients, there's no question that building a successful channel involves a significant amount of work.
Aside from planning, creating, and editing new content, one of the most important aspects of growing a channel is staying on top of your YouTube analytics.
YouTube analytics allows you to measure the results of past videos and determine if the current strategy is achieving the goals you've set for the channel, such as the target subscriber and video view growth rate. If you’re managing YouTube accounts for clients, you also need to be able to generate in-depth analytics reports about the channel’s performance.
Whether you’re growing the channel organically or with paid ads, efficiently analyzing and reporting on results can be a challenge for agencies. To solve this, a dedicated YouTube dashboard can automatically pull relevant metrics and KPIs and display the data in a visually intuitive way.
In this guide, we’ll look at 10+ of the most important metrics to track a YouTube channel's performance, including:
Let's get started.
In many ways, a YouTube channel can be analyzed in a similar way that a website is. That said, before diving into more granular metrics for each video, channel metrics provide an overview of how the channel is performing at a high-level.
The first metric that every YouTube creator wants to see in an analytics report is their total subscribers. While it may seem like a vanity metric on other platforms, subscribers on YouTube provide a good indication of future engagement rates as these people are much more likely to view and engage with the channel’s content.
Gained & Lost Subscribers
Although every creator will probably already know their subscriber count, an important metric is the number of gained and lost subscribers over a particular time period. As you can see from the chart below, having these two metrics beside each other provides a much more complete picture of the channel’s growth over time.
Finally, one of the key deliverables that every client will want to see is the number of videos published for the period. Since video publishing consistency is key for the YouTube algorithm, this bar chart should be relatively flat or increasing over time.
After reviewing channel metrics as a whole, reach metrics provide deeper insight into how many people are actually discovering and watching the channel. Since brand visibility is an important consideration for any business on YouTube, reach metrics provide an overview of exactly how far their content is spreading.
Views are another metric that every YouTube creator will want to see in a dashboard. Views measure the number of times that site visitors have watched the channel’s videos, although on YouTube, views are a bit more complicated. Since YouTube wants to ensure video views are coming from real people, a view is only counted if two conditions are met:
The user intentionally plays the video, meaning they physically clicked the play button
The user watches the video for at least 30 seconds
While views are a foundational metric of YouTube, it should also key to pair with engagement metrics such as average view duration to get deeper insight into the quality of views.
View Traffic Sources
Next, in analyzing a channel’s reach it’s important to understand where views are coming from. Below you can see we have a bar chart for each YouTube view traffic source, including:
One of the best ways to grow a YouTube is to know exactly who you’re speaking to, and understanding your audience demographics is the key to achieving that. While reach metrics tell you many people are seeing your content, audience demographics tell you who those people are.
Age & Gender
The first aspect of audience demographics to know is the distribution of age and gender across the channel. As SproutSocial highlights, understanding these demographic insights can aid in your brand’s social media strategy and decision making:
Just like how you want to know who uses your products and services, knowing who’s on what platform aids you in researching, advertising and marketing decisions.
Next, in the demographics tab of our YouTube dashboard, you’ll find a map chart displaying where exactly your viewers are located. The YouTube Creator Academy provides a useful tip if you find unexpected locations from this demographics data:
If you see unexpected viewers in ‘top locations’, like how Saudi Arabia is a top location for this English channel, you might consider turning on closed captions or adding localized metadata to make the content more accessible for this audience.
Viewers by Device
Another important audience demographic metric to know is what device the majority of your viewers are using. In an interesting article on YouTube statistics by Think With Google, they addressed the myth that if people are watching on mobile devices, it’s during the day and “on the go”. Their team provides the following insight to be aware of:
The majority of watch time on YouTube is mobile, yet many marketers still believe mobile viewing translates to short, daytime, on-the-go sessions. In fact, when it comes to YouTube viewing behavior, mobile is a lot like TV: The world watches at home, during prime time, and on horizontally oriented screens.
While it’s important to know how far your message is spreading on YouTube, it’s equally important to know what content is resonating with the target audience. Since YouTube is far more likely to suggest content that people are engaging with and watching all the way through, these metrics are essential to the growth of a channel.
Average View Duration
One of the most important YouTube engagement metrics to stay on top of is the channel’s average view duration, which is calculated as the total watch time divided by the total number of video views. In terms of benchmarks, the inbound marketing agency Uhuru Network found that:
Losing 50-60% of viewers by the video’s halfway point is common
Anything in the 70-80% range means the video is performing well
Video Likes & Dislikes
While likes and dislikes are necessarily indicative of video quality and shouldn't be obsessed over, they can provide a general idea of what type of content the audience prefers. As you can see below, in the "Engagement" tab of our YouTube dashboard you can monitor likes and dislikes over time and individual metrics for each video can be found in the "Videos" tab:
Comments & Shares
Finally, comments and shares are two more engagement metrics that are worth monitoring over time. Similar to likes and dislikes, these metrics can provide you with qualitative insight into what type of content is performing best. Also, just like search engines, a higher number of shares will often result in more backlinks and higher rankings for the video:
Summary: YouTube Analytics
There's no question that managing a YouTube account for yourself or for clients is a lot of work. While the majority of work will go into content planning, production, and editing, understanding your YouTube analytics is an essential skill for growing the channel. With a dedicated YouTube dashboard, you're able to automatically generate in-depth reports about the performance and profitability of your strategies. Ultimately, automating the process of YouTube analytics allows you to spend less time sorting through data and more time creating the highest quality content possible.