Complete Guide to YouTube Analytics

Did you miss the previous part in this YouTube SEO series? No worries, you can catch up right here: 7 SEO Tools for Better YouTube Marketing

YouTube is one of the most underutilized marketing channels today.

Many marketers think about how to optimize their content for Google search or how to use social channels like Facebook, but YouTube is the second biggest search engine on the web — so if you’re not using it to its full potential, you’re missing out on a great opportunity.

The Complete Guide to YouTube Analytics

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And because YouTube videos appear in Google search results, you can generate organic traffic to your site through both YouTube and Google with your videos.

In this post, we’ll show you how to use the built-in analytics system within YouTube to gauge the performance of your videos so you can generate the best results.

How to Leverage YouTube Analytics

Once you create a high-quality video and optimize it for SEO, it’s important that you understand how to use YouTube video analytics to monitor your progress. You have to keep track of how your audience is finding your videos and how they’re engaging with them, so you can see which ones are performing well and which videos aren’t being discovered in search.

YouTube’s built-in analytics system can tell you a lot about your audience and which content you should create more of to be successful.

Following is a breakdown of the main types of data that YouTube provides to give you a complete picture of how your channel is performing.


When you log into your YouTube analytics page, the first thing you’ll see is the overall performance of your channel and how popular your videos are among your target audience.

YouTube Analytics overview

Here, you can get an overview of the following data:

  • Views: This metric measures the number of people who have clicked on your video link and watched your videos. It doesn’t track whether users watched the entire video or not.
  • Watch time: This metric adds up the total number of minutes users have spent watching the videos on your channel. This shows how many total minutes have been spent watching your YouTube videos, not the breakdown per video.
  • Average view duration: The average view duration lets you see if people are watching your video to the end or stopping the video before it’s finished.


YouTube analytics also gives you insight into who specifically is watching your videos. You can breakdown your views by gender or location.

The Complete Guide to YouTube Analytics

If you’re running a business with a physical location or if you’re focused on generating more local traffic, this could be helpful to see if you’re getting to the right people.

Playback Locations

One of the most important factors to getting your video to rank high in Google is getting backlinks from other high-authority sites.

The Complete Guide to YouTube Analytics

If you create a high-quality video that solves a specific problem for your target audience, you can expect your video to get shared across the web. “Playback locations” allows you to see the sites on which your videos are being viewed, so you can see where exactly your backlinks are coming from.

You can also see the average time watched and average view duration.

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Traffic Sources

If you understand how people are finding your videos, you can get a sense of which keywords are working and which keywords your audience isn’t searching for. This can help you refine your SEO efforts even further.

The Complete Guide to YouTube Analytics

For example, you can see whether your videos are being found within YouTube search, within YouTube’s suggested videos, via a YouTube channel page, or a particular playlist. Once you know which tactics are working, you can double down on them even more.


This section allows you to see which devices users are viewing your videos on.

The Complete Guide to YouTube Analytics

It’s broken down by computer, mobile phone, tablet, TV or game console. This way, you can see whether you need to optimize your videos for a particular device. For example, users that view videos on mobile might be looking for shorter content compared to someone searching for a video from their desktop.

When searching from a desktop, users might also be okay with viewing content from a playlist, which offers a back-to-back flow of videos. According to Constant Contact, the vast majority of people watch YouTube videos from a computer, which means that you could get more reach with your videos by grouping them in a playlist.

This way, the next video in the playlist automatically starts playing once the current video is finished, which can boost your total number of watched minutes.

Audience Retention

This metric shows you show engaged your audience is with your videos. You can see how much of your video your audience is watching before bouncing from the page to look at something else.

The Complete Guide to YouTube Analytics


YouTube also provides engagement metrics, such as where your subscribers came from (source, geography), and the date you got each new subscriber.

The Complete Guide to YouTube Analytics

User engagement is a high priority for YouTube when it comes to ranking your video within YouTube search, so this data is particularly important to pay attention to.

The total number of subscribers shows how many people have subscribed and unsubscribed to your channel within a set window of time. If you see that certain videos generate high numbers of subscribers, then this is a testament to the quality of your video content.

Likes and Dislikes

YouTube makes it easy to see how people are responding to your content through likes and dislikes. A high number of likes shows YouTube that your video is resonating with people, and so they’ll prioritize it even higher in search.

The Complete Guide to YouTube Analytics likes and dislikes

However, depending on the type of video you’re making, your number of likes and dislikes may not completely map out the quality of your videos. For example, opinion-based videos could potentially get a high number of dislikes, but still be high quality.

Videos in Playlist (formerly Favorites)

What used to be called the “Favorites” report is now called “Videos in playlists.” Rather than seeing “Favorites added” and “Favorites removed,” you’ll now see the number of your videos that people added to a playlist. When users mark a video as a favorite by adding it to their playlist, it becomes part of their public YouTube profile, which helps expand the reach of your videos.

YouTube Analytics videos in playlist

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Comments are a great way to keep a tab on how engaged your audience is. If your video is thought provoking, hits home emotionally, or solves a pain point, then chances are users will respond and let you know in the comments section. Keep in mind that many people will just “Like” a video rather than commenting since it is much quicker.

YouTube Analytics comments


This metric shows you the total number of times that your video has been shared, what social network it was shared on, and the date on which it was shared. A high number of shares results in a high number of backlinks, which can help with ranking your YouTube video within Google.

YouTube Analytics sharing


By adding the right annotations on your video, you give users the option to click through to your site to see more similar types of content. Maybe you have more videos to share with them, a blog post they might find valuable, or want to funnel people to an opt-in page. This chart shows that the majority of clicks (94%) for this channel are via the “spotlight” annotation.

YouTube Analytics annotations

This metric shows you the total click through rate and “close” rates for each of annotations on your videos, so you can optimize your approach and find best place to display the annotations.


A few months ago, YouTube added a new feature called “Cards,” which is meant to replace annotations to make it even easier to enable interactivity and thus boost engagement. Cards are used as calls to action and can “inform your viewers about other videos, merch, playlists, websites and more.” There are six types you can use: Merchandise, Fundraising, Video, Playlist, Associated Website and Fan Funding. Most impressively, they work on mobile. Learn more about using cards and tracking metrics here.

YouTube Analytics cards


There are a variety of factors to take into consideration when growing your YouTube SEO, such as the tags you use, your description, whether the keyword you’re going for already shows YouTube videos in Google search or not, and so on.

YouTube provides you with a comprehensive set of analytics to help you gauge how well your videos are performing, and where the areas of improvement might be.

Which metric will you pay the most attention to? Let us know in the comments below.

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