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Essential Metrics to Measure Your YouTube Videos

11 min

In the vast world of online marketing content, video content is king. At this point, nobody can deny that an online marketing campaign with no video is incomplete.

This is especially important (and true) for your user experience, in fact, 4X as many consumers would prefer to watch some kind of video content about a topic than to read about it. But after you’ve created and uploaded a video to your YouTube channel, your job is not done. Far from it! It’s time to measure your efforts. So, let’s open your analytics, and break down the success of your YouTube videos!

Target audience

By knowing who your target audience is, you’ll be able to create videos that are specifically tailored to their needs. But analyzing these YouTube metrics, it will also tell you if you are reaching the audience you want to reach. There are two essential metrics that you should be paying special attention to: the demographics, and the playback location.


On YouTube, you can get an in-depth look at who your audience is, by looking under Overview > Demographics — this way, you’ll be able to look at an analysis of your audience, classified by gender, age, and country location.

youtube metrics -- demographics

By keeping track of the demographics of your audience, you’ll be able to tailor your content towards your actual audience. The more your video content speaks to your target audience, the better its results will be.

Playback location

With the Playback location metric, you’ll be able to see where your videos are being watched — On the YouTube watch page, on your channel page, embedded in external websites or apps, etc. You can also keep track of the watch times across the various sites that have embedded your video.

playback youtube metrics

Use these metrics to fully understand where your audience is watching your videos and why; and act accordingly. Knowing where your videos are being watched will help you get to know different types of niches that you didn’t know before and help you create strategic partnerships with sites that have embedded your videos.

With the data provided by the playback location, you could also reinforce a certain channel that should be getting more views but doesn’t, and overall make more informed and strategic decisions.

Audience behavior

There is so much more about a view than the view itself. Your audience behaviour helps you keep track of every detail. How well are your videos retaining your audience? What is the average view duration for your videos, and the traffic sources that are leading viewers to your video?

Let’s take a deeper look at these metrics:

Relative and absolute audience retention

The relative audience metric compares your retention to other videos of the same length, showing you how much of your video your viewers are watching. Are they “hitting and quitting” your video content, or watching it all the way through?

audience retention youtube metrics

You can access this metric in the “Audience Retention Report.” (Overview > Audience Retention).

The relative audience retention has a twin though, the absolute audience retention. The absolute audience retention metric shows a curve that will tell you the exact percentage of views for every moment of your video. With the absolute metric, you’ll see if your videos have any lower points, and start working to improve them (by removing these lower-attention points, changing them, or the structure of your video).

Average view duration

If you access your analytics panel, you’ll find “Watch Time,” a metric that breaks down the amount of time that people spend on your videos and their total views.

By looking at the watch time, you’ll have the data of the estimated total minutes of viewing time that your audience is spending on each one of your videos. This way, you can keep track of which videos are more interesting and engaging to your audience, and start getting insights on how to get them interested in watching more.

Average percentage viewed

The average percentage viewed relates to the average view duration, giving you a measure of how well your video is keeping your audience’s attention.

You can use these metrics to learn how engaged your viewers are along the total duration of the video. By having this information, you can analyze exactly in which part of your video your audience has stopped watching, and why this is happening. If your video is not keeping your audience engaged, you get to analyze if it’s something that happens just in one video or if it’s a repeating thing — and in this case, what could you do to improve it?

For example, if your audience stops watching at a certain point of your videos, you could be improving it by modifying your next video’s structure slightly. You could also add a strong call to action in that point of your video, etc.

Traffic sources

This report shows the sites and features (on YouTube) that viewers are using to find your content — for example: are they getting to your content by searching directly on YouTube? Or are they getting to it because of the “Suggested Videos” thumbnails? Are they following external links from other social networking sites?

traffic sources youtube metrics

You can access this metric in the Traffic Sources Report, and there you’ll find the watch time and views from external sources and sources within YouTube. Traffic sources are a very useful metric to track, because understanding where your viewers are coming from will help you understand how to further drive traffic to your videos.

For example, if your viewers are getting to your videos from external sites or social platforms, you can confirm if the data aligns with data provided by Facebook or other social media sites;  You can also keep track of which external websites are embedding your videos, and if it’s worth it to reach out to them and create an ongoing relationship with them!


When you’re measuring the success of your YouTube videos, it’s extremely important to know which devices your audience is watching your content on. Actually, it’s even more important for videos than for other types of content. Why? Because this will be directly influencing your content creation and your content strategy.

devices youtube metrics

You need to think about who’s viewing your videos, and on which device, to understand how you will be creating the videos: the video format, aspect ratio, type of video (there are different types of videos to be used for different contexts), the need of including subtitles for a better understanding of your content, etc.

Audience engagement

Now, let’s take a deeper look into your audience engagement. After you’ve seen how your audience behaves when they’re watching your video, it’s time to measure this engagement in depth.

You can do this by keeping track of your video’s views, the likes and dislikes it receives, how much it gets shared and commented on, and your channel’s subscribers. Let’s take a look!


Views are the most basic way to measure if your videos are being successful or not. In the end, that’s the main goal: that people look at your video.

youtube metrics: views

When you open the watch time report, you’ll be looking at the number of legitimate views for your channels or videos. You can also look at the Realtime report, to see the estimated view data for your last 25 published videos.


By measuring your likes and dislikes, you’ll be able to check out which videos had a lot of favorites and which didn’t. This will give you the necessary tools to compare your most liked videos to the rest of them, so you can figure out why your audience likes them.

Remember to look at this metric by your video’s likes to dislikes ratio, instead of just the numbers, which could be misleading: If video “A” has 100 likes and 50 dislikes, that’s a 2:1 ratio; if video “B” has 800 likes and 200 dislikes, that’s a 4:1 ratio.

Even though video “B” has more dislikes than video “A”, a 4:1 ratio is better than a 2:1 ratio, and this means that your audience response is better to video “B”.


YouTube lets you see which platforms your videos are being shared on. This will help you make decisions about which platforms might be best for you to focus your video marketing efforts on, and cross-promoting your content.

By looking at the Shares metric you’ll be able to see which videos are being shared via social media — And this is really big, because sharing is one of the best forms of engagement you can get from your audience.

shares youtube metric

A share means that your viewer has found your content to be interesting enough to endorse you by sharing it with their network. Likes are good too, but they’re more passive. A share, like a comment, is an active way of engagement.


As you’ve read before, comments also rank high on importance when measuring the success of your videos. Keeping track of your comments-to-views ratio is a great way to track your engagement. Just having views is one thing, but a comment shows how much you’ve connected with your viewers.

On YouTube, you can measure this for individual videos, or for your whole channel.


You can track your subscribers by looking at their growth over time, just like you would do in any of your social media accounts. But you can also track how many subscribers you’ve gained and lost in a specific period — if you’re gaining more subscribers than what you’re losing, then you’re on the right track.

If you happen to gain (or lose) an unusual amount at once, check what you’ve been posting, and check for possible explanations. This way, you’ll know the type of content that will attract subscribers, and the type of content that will scare them away.

Website performance

How do your videos influence your website metrics? Let’s take a look at your website visits from YouTube, and the average time on page and bounce rate when the video is embedded.

Website visits (from YouTube)

Is your video engaging your audience enough that they want to know more about you and your brand, and visit your website? The ultimate goal is to turn those viewers into new customers for your business.

Use Google Analytics to track YouTube referral traffic

Track the number of visits that your video is attracting. If you find that’s not enough, look closely at your content: are you adding links to your videos and the description fields for each of your videos? It’s important to paste these links at the very top of the description, so it doesn’t get hidden behind the “show more” section.

Average time on page (when video is embedded)

Did you know that the average time on page is particularly linked to video content? Having relevant video content on your page increases the value your audience gets from their visits, and keeps them around longer.

In fact, the more time people spend engaged with your content, the more time they have to familiarize with your brand, potentially acting upon a call to action.

A great way to take advantage of the retention power of your video content, is to place a call to action right within your videos.

Bounce rate (when video is embedded)

A bounce rate measures the number of viewers that stop watching your videos, and go to a different page or website. Sometimes, watching a video that is way too long for its purpose may cause a bounce.

The average attention span of online users is short, and a general rule of thumb is that your videos shouldn’t be longer than 2-3 minutes. This, of course, may vary depending on your specific content — so do your research on the optimal length of every type of video.

Conversion rate from YouTube visits

If you’re producing product videos, explainer videos or any type of video with the goal of increasing your conversion rate, then keeping track of your conversions metric is a must.

You’ve got to track the number of leads or customers that you’ve gained thanks to a specific piece of video content, and it’s a number than can be expressed as a percentage of all viewers that convert.

You can improve your conversion rate by making your video relevant to what your target audience wants to know at every specific stage of the sales funnel.

In summary…

There are five types of metrics you should be looking at: your target audience, their behavior and engagement; and your video’s performance in your website.

By keeping track of all this you’ll be able to create a well-informed video marketing campaign — specifically, if you’re aware of who your target audience is, how they’re accessing your YouTube videos and why, you’ll have the tools to craft great video content that is tailored specifically for them.

How are you keeping track of your video’s success? We’re looking forward to reading about it in the comments!