YouTube Analytics: A Guide

By April 1, 2019YouTube

YouTube analytics shows you who’s watching your videos and how well those videos are performing. This guide goes over which metrics are the most important, what each metric is, and how to use that knowledge to improve your own YouTube videos.

Why Use YouTube?

So why bother with YouTube, isn’t it more important to focus on sites like Google or Facebook. But YouTube is the world’s second largest search engine, and the fact that Google owns it means that improving your YouTube presence will help you with Google search results. There are 1.9 billion active users on YouTube, a huge audience for you to reach. No content marketing strategy is complete without a YouTube presence.

Leveraging Analytics

After you make a YouTube video and edit it for SEO, you’ll need to know how YouTube analytics can help you track your progress. You need to know how your audience finds your videos and how they engage with them so you can see what’s working and what isn’t. SEO on YouTube is important, but the majority of views come from people seeing your video in the “related videos” tab, so it’s more critical to focus on optimizing for related videos.

To view your analytics, log on to your YouTube studio, click “analytics,” you’ll see a dashboard displaying your total view time, top videos, and latest views. You can select individual videos to get more in-depth statistics on each one.


The first analytic you want to look at is the overall video performance, which consists of watch time, views, and average view duration. Watch time is the total amount of minutes people have spent watching your channel’s videos. Views refer to the number of people who’ve clicked on a video and visited the page. Average view duration is how far into a video people get.


Demographics refer to the kind of people watching your videos; you can break down demographics by gender, location, age, and other categories.

Playback Location

If you want your video to rank higher on Google, you need backlinks from high-authority websites. If you make a great video that helps your target audience with a specific problem, then the video will get shared on other websites. Analytics tells you which views come directly from YouTube, and which views come from other websites.

Traffic Sources

YouTube analytics lets you know how your videos are being found; for instance, you might need to know how many views are coming from YouTube advertising versus external sources. This helps you narrow down where you might need to improve your SEO.


Device views are divided into mobile views, computer views, tablet views, and TV/Console views. If you know where most of your views are coming from, you can tailor your content to suit the device better.


Retention tells you how long people watched your video before leaving the page.


This statistic tells you how many people have subscribed and unsubscribed from your channel within a specific window of time. If you get a sudden jump in subscribers, it’s a sign that your latest video is a success.

Likes & Dislikes

Likes and dislikes are the most direct sign of how your audience is responding to your videos. Analytics lets you directly compare the ratio of likes versus dislikes.


This metric shows you how many playlists your video has been added to. As well as how many times your video’s been put in someone’s favorites.


Comments are another direct signifier of audience engagement with your videos, and sometimes you’ll get valuable feedback for future videos.


This metric lets you know how many times your video has been shared and what sites it’s being shared on. A lot of shares means you get a lot of backlinks, which helps your Google SEO.


Cards are links displayed after a video is over that serve as calls to action. You can make cards for merchandise, fund-raising, other videos, playlists, your website, and fan funding. These cards also work on mobile.


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