YouTube Analytics: How to Use Them and Why They Matter

October 13, 2022
youtube analytics

As videos continue to dominate other forms of content on social media, it’s no surprise that most marketers have opted to include YouTube in their content and marketing strategy. After all, it’s one of the most popular websites on the internet, coming in as the world’s second most popular social media app, with over 2.6 billion users per month.

Over the years, the pioneer video-sharing platform has opened doors for brands and individual content creators to create a platform and form a community that subscribes to any video they upload. 

To keep track of their statistics and manage their channels, YouTube gives creators access to YouTube Analytics.

In this article, we’ll take a look at YouTube Analytics and how you can use it to improve your channel. We’ll also discuss some of the most important metrics that you should be tracking.

What Is YouTube Analytics?

youtube analytics

YouTube Analytics is a creator’s best friend. It allows you to see all your channel’s essential metrics and statistics so you can manage it effectively. The data you find here can help you understand information like how well your videos are doing, your target audience, and which videos are getting the most views.

YouTube Analytics gives up-to-date performance and statistics for your videos and generates reports on data such as watch time, demographics, and traffic sources. It also shares key insights on which of your content has been watched or viewed the most and provides you with access to viewer watch duration and engagement.

YouTube Analytics allows you to track your audience’s behaviors, tailor your content to their preference, and expand your reach with new subscribers and viewers.

How To Use YouTube Analytics 

YouTube Analytics is available on desktop and mobile, and you can access it using YouTube Studio. Here’s how to access YouTube Analytics on your desktop: 

  1. To access YouTube Studio, type into your web browser and log in, or click on the profile icon on your account and select “YouTube Studio.”
  2. On your YouTube Studio dashboard, click on Analytics found in the left-hand panel of the screen to see an overview of your channel performance.
  3. Click the “Advanced Mode” or “See More” option to view your channel analytics insights.
  4. You can explore the list of data like Overview, Reach, Engagement, Audience, and Revenue (if applicable). 
  5. To download a report, go to Advanced Mode and select the parameters you want to access. Once you’ve chosen your metrics, click the downward-pointing arrow in the upper right corner. You can generate the report through Google Sheets or download it as a .csv file.

Bonus Tip: You can compare the year-on-year growth of your channel in the Advanced Mode by clicking the “Compare To” button in the upper right corner of the dashboard. In this metric, you can also access the first 24-hour performance of your newly uploaded videos and see how each video’s performance affects your overall channel statistics.

Here’s how to access YouTube Analytics on mobile: 

  1. Download the YouTube Studio app via Google Play or Apple Store and sign in to access the analytics tool.
  2. Once logged in, you will see a summary of your channel analytics. Click “View More” to get more detailed analytics reports.

The mobile version also lets you toggle the different metrics from the Overview, Reach, Engagement, and Audience options, allowing you to go through your data quickly.

Why Tracking YouTube Metrics Matters 

Numbers drive YouTube’s algorithm. Analytics can help you create a solid strategy to monitor your competitors and monetize your videos. 

YouTube Analytics can help you optimize your channel’s performance given the range of available data, such as tracking your top-performing videos based on views, watch time, and engagement. It can guide your marketing strategies and identify what your target audience wants. YouTube Analytics is a comprehensive tool that can give you detailed reports of channel, content, and audience insights. 

10 YouTube Analytics You Should Be Tracking 

You can only do so much by analyzing metrics and monitoring your statistics on YouTube. It is important to select which matters the most for your content strategy.

Here are the 10 YouTube Analytics you should be tracking: 

YouTube Channel and Video Analytics

YouTube Channel Analytics, found in the Overview tab, monitors your channel’s overall performance and trends. To track metrics from specific videos, click any video from the Analytics overview screen. Select among the Reach, Engagement, and Audience tabs for each video to access subscribers, top keywords, average watch time, percentage viewed, and video duration. 

you tube channel analytics

Subscriber Growth 

If people subscribe to your channel on YouTube, they are loyal fans. They want to stay up-to-date on your latest videos and get notified when you upload new content. This is also featured on their homepage, which can generate more views for you.

The Subscribers Report tracks your subscriber activities and identifies videos, locations, and periods when you either gained or lost them. It can also help you know what topics your subscribers want, schedule the posting of videos when they are most active to sustain viewers, and boost your search rankings and watch time.

Watch Time

Watch time tracks the time viewers spend watching your videos. This report shows the total watch time of all your videos, where you can rank them according to the watch time and categorize by length or theme to better gauge your top-performing videos. YouTube’s algorithm features videos and channels with higher watch times in their search results and recommendations section, resulting in higher engagement for your videos.

Bonus Tip: Subscribers should make up most of the watch time compared to your non-subscriber viewers. If this is not the case for your channel, you may not be maximizing your subscriber base. Create a standard monthly posting schedule so your subscribers can expect new content from you and watch it immediately after it goes live.

Percentage Viewed

You can also find this metric on your watch time report. Percentage viewed allows you to see how long your viewers watch your videos, and this also measures your user’s attention span toward your videos. YouTube incentivizes your videos with higher search and recommendation rankings when you gain a high retention span. 


Duration shows the total watch time divided by the total number of video plays and playback and can gauge the level of engagement of your videos. If your video has a good number of engaged viewers, it will affect your average view duration and total watch time and increase your rankings.

Bonus Tip: View duration helps determine whether viewers got what they expected from your video content based on the keyword and thumbnail you posted. Make sure that they match your actual content to avoid low average duration.

YouTube Engagement and Reach Metrics

Your engagement metrics let you see how your audience interacts with your videos, while reach metrics let you identify how viewers discover your videos inside and outside of YouTube. These metrics gauge how you can create better content to increase viewer engagement and reach.


YouTube videos can last up to 30 minutes to an hour, but you can also opt for YouTube Shorts, which can last from 15 to 60 seconds to keep the engagement momentum going.

You can access engagement metrics such as likes, dislikes, comments, and shares in YouTube’s Interactions report.

Likes and dislikes gauge what videos work well, while comments show how your videos resonate with the viewers. Shares can determine how your viewers see your content’s value to convince them to broadcast their support by sharing your content. 

Traffic Sources

The Traffic sources report shows whether your viewers have watched your videos from external or direct referrals. External referrals come from social media or sites that embed your videos, while direct referrals come from YouTube displaying your videos in search results, the recommended section, and the homepage. This data can help you structure your content strategy and identify the platforms to which you can allocate more resources.

Bonus Tip: You can use Traffic sources to explore potential collaborations with other creators. To do this, look for Suggested Videos to check which different channels are driving traffic to yours. Click More in the dropdown menu and look for Advanced Mode to check Playback Locations to access the websites where you get embedded views. 


The Search Report on YouTube can be found under the Traffic Sources Report. It shows the top queries that led viewers to watch your videos. You can add these keywords to your metadata to ensure these queries match your video’s topic. These keywords can help you create descriptions and sources of content for your upcoming videos that are likely to be highly searched.

Bonus Tip: Consider using relevant top search terms on your YouTube video title or playlist to help people see your related content easily.

youtube channel statistics

Click-Through Rate 

Click-Through Rate has two categories: the impressions click-through rate and the card click-through rate. The impressions click-through rate shows how viewers watch videos once it appears on their homepage, recommendation, or trending section. Card click-through rates are slide-in panels displayed to encourage people to watch another video or subscribe to your channel after watching your videos.

A high click-through rate determines how well your videos resonate with viewers and guides you on what upcoming videos will make for higher engagement. 

Bonus Tip: Add the average percentage viewed and average view duration into your strategy mix to determine if people watched your videos after clicking them. Don’t click-bait people with a misleading title, description, or thumbnail that are not entirely related to your video to avoid losing viewers. You can access the Analytics tab in YouTube Studio to examine this metric.

YouTube Audience Metrics

YouTube audience metrics can help you understand your audience better. It enables you to identify specific unique viewers and their behavior toward your videos. These metrics can give you valuable insight into how you can create more audience-centric strategies and content. 


The audience retention report shows two graphs: the absolute and relative retention curves.

The absolute retention curve identifies your video performance, while the relative retention curve shows the viewers’ retention of your videos compared with other YouTube videos of similar length. 

Audience retention shows the total percentage of viewers who stayed until the end of your video. High retention can boost your search rankings as the YouTube algorithm presumes your videos captures viewers’ attention quickly. 

This metric can be beneficial for the structure of your upcoming videos in terms of what should be kept or not based on the viewers’ engagement with specific portions of your video.

Unique Views 

Unique viewers show the actual size of your viewers for a certain period. You can view this metric in the Reach Views and Audience tab on YouTube Studio.

Unique views compare your subscribers’ count and engagement to your videos. If your subscriber count is higher than your unique viewers, your audiences might not be as enticed to watch your videos. It helps to instruct them to enable notifications for your following videos. 

Views per unique viewer is another metric to monitor the number of times an average viewer watches your video. Here, you can identify videos rewatched by a unique viewer. Once you find it, use it to create another video with the same topic to generate more views and potentially earn new subscribers. 

Key Takeaways 

YouTube Analytics is a valuable tool that can offer data to help you grow your channel and get optimum performance. Whether a marketer, gamer, or influencer, YouTube Analytics can be your roadmap to execute your video strategies and tactics in the right direction.

YouTube analytics can help: 

  • Determine your overall channel performance
  • Give you important insights about your subscribers to gain new viewers
  • Create new content themes out of data from your most viewed and most engaging videos
  • Set feasible objectives for your campaign strategy
  • Give you comparable statistics to guide your future campaigns

Check out our complete guide to social media metrics for marketers here!

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