10 Metrics That Will Help You Improve Your YouTube Presence

Whether you represent a brand, run an organization, or work as an independent content creator looking to grow your digital reach, having a solid presence on YouTube can help you differentiate from key competitors and stand out from the crowd. Something vital when looking to increase your audience online and be heard!

However, establishing yourself on YouTube is not as easy as it sounds, given the platform’s heavily competitive nature.

After all, it is a digital space where global franchises, experienced video agencies, and professional digital content creators are constantly funneling their best YouTube content ideas into the platform. All with already established channels filled with thousands of subscribers ready to prioritize those videos over yours.

The good news is that “not easy” is far from impossible. Understanding your content’s performance data and metrics can give you the insight you need to make videos that connect you with a dedicated audience on the platform!

So today, we are going over ten essential YouTube metrics that can help you improve the quality of your content and your overall impact on this social platform as a whole.

Use Engagement Metrics to Figure Out What Works

Where to find it: After selecting a video, click on the Analytics window on the left menu, then the Engagement tab within your Video Analytics section, and then click on See More.

YouTube doesn’t provide the Engagement Rates of your videos, so you have to calculate them by dividing the total number of interactions (views, likes, dislikes, and comments) your video gets by the total number of impressions across your YouTube channel performance.

A high engagement rate for your content suggests a strong, active community surrounding you. Viewers only interact with videos that properly resonate with them.

  • Why it matters: By keeping an eye on how much engagement your videos generate on a regular basis, you can determine what kind of content connects with your audience and focus on the topics and styles they like most.

The way the YouTube algorithm works, the more engagement your videos generate, the more likely they are to be recommended to others, even people who aren’t subscribed to your channel. In short, more engagement equals better reach for your content.

Views and Key Moments for Audience Retention

Where to find it: Click on Analytics > Content > and then click on the video thumbnail you wish to gain data from.

Every time a viewer starts watching a video and stays for at least 30 seconds, a ”View” is added.

Views are useful because they help you determine the subjective worth of what you are posting from your audience’s perspective. Nowadays, it’s hard enough to catch the attention of netizens and even harder to keep it. The moment they don’t like a second of your video, they won’t watch it for another second.

This is what we call Abandonment Rate, the percentage of users that leave or quit before completing an intended task. In this case, watch your video until it ends.

So, if your video’s view rate is high, you have successfully passed one of the biggest challenges when making video content: maintaining your viewer’s attention. Good job!

The issue arrives when your view rate isn’t high. Knowing the number of views alone doesn’t provide much insight, and they can’t tell you why your audience is leaving or what keeps them watching.

Key Moments from Audience Retention is a metric that illustrates how well various aspects of your video capture viewers’ attention.

YouTube provides graphics showing whether your audience’s attention remained stable throughout the video. It also indicates whether any specific moment resulted in a decrease.

This allows you to pinpoint areas of your video that are working well and opportunities for improvement.

  • Why it matters: Imagine making a video explaining a product. You will want to know when viewers drop out so you can figure out which parts weren’t interesting or clear enough and do things differently in the next.

It can also help you figure out the best moments to add CTAs to keep viewers interested or where to make things clearer to avoid people clicking off. With these insights, you can improve the overall performance of your content and, thus, your channel.

Improve Your Impression CTR and Catch the Viewer’s Attention

Where to find it: click on Analytics > Content > and then Impression Click Through Rate.

You can judge your content’s appeal by tracking Impressions. Every time your thumbnail is shown to viewers for more than one second with at least half of the image visible on the screen, an impression is counted.

On its own, this metric doesn’t provide much insight, and that’s where Impression Click Through Rate comes in.

Impression CTR measures your video’s ability to prompt viewers to watch. A high click-through rate means your title and thumbnail were compelling, and your video’s topic resonated with many relevant audiences on YouTube. Low CTR rates, however, indicate that your content isn’t as appealing.

  • Why it matters: By finding which of your videos have a higher CTR and analyzing them, you can gain powerful insight into making your content more appealing to the type of viewer you are going for. Ask yourself: “What elements in this video made people stick around and watch?”

Once you understand what resonates with users and drives views and clicks, you can optimize your channel’s presence and improve your reach.

Use Returning Viewers vs. New Viewers to Understand Your Audiences

Where to find it: on the left menu, click on Analytics and then on Audience.

People who have watched your channel once and then come back are labeled as “Returning Viewers”. “New Viewers” are those who are consuming your content for the first time.

If your channel is getting most of its traffic from new viewers, it suggests people like some of your videos but don’t feel compelled to subscribe or watch more. This is common for channels that upload content on a broad range of topics but don’t focus on a specific niche.

On the other hand, having most of your views come from returning visitors indicates that your audience is loyal to your content. Although this is always preferred, low numbers of new viewers imply your channel isn’t growing.

To attract new viewers, try experimenting with new topics and points of view and iterate on those videos that are getting the job done.

  • Why it matters: It can be difficult to grow a channel and plan ahead for your future content if you don’t have a steady stream of returning viewers. If you wish to gain a faithful audience, consider producing more consistent content based on what attracts people to your videos in the first place and delivering more of what your audience prefers.

Moreover, these metrics can be useful to keep track of the number of new and returning viewers coming to your videos in order to strategize content production and assess the type of video your channel needs to grow.

Obtain Real-Time Metrics of Your Videos

Where to find it: Go to the Analytics sidebar, click on Overview, then click on See More at the bottom of the Realtime Activity section to the right.

If you check the “Views” on one of your videos, chances are that the number you find won’t be accurate.

YouTube filters views in order to leave out those that come from bots or any type of spam source. The goal is to ensure every view reflected comes from a real human being,  and it takes the system up to two days to achieve that.

That’s why this metric exists. With the Real-Time report, you can measure your video’s views in, well, real-time. Even if that means those potential spam views haven’t been filtered out yet.

  • Why it matters: Imagine you just launched a new campaign on YouTube. You might need to be able to know the metrics minute-by-minute., t To see if your objectives are being met and make changes along the way to correct the course of your actions if needed.

A two-day lag in the metrics you are analyzing can make a crucial difference in the digital environment. To know the performance of your videos in real-time, use Real-Time metrics and avoid missing valuable information.

Find Out the Peak Times Your Viewers Are Browsing YouTube

Where to find it: On the left menu, select Analytics, and then click Audience from the top menu.

As its name implies, “When your Viewers are on YouTube” shows you when your viewers are online, browsing through any kind of content across YouTube.

This data is fundamental when figuring out the best times to upload new content, as generating interactions early on can improve your video’s reach. Moreover, it can help you figure out the best times to schedule successful live streams by determining when your audience will be able to join.

  • Why it matters: It’s easy to forget, but YouTube isn’t only for video sharing; it’s also a social media platform. Building a strong community that supports your content is just as important as creating good videos.

In order to achieve that, you need to have conversations with your subscribers and reach them when they are online. So, figuring out the best times to do those things can give your channel a significant leg-up.

Keep an Eye On (And Increase!) Your Subscriber count

Where to find it: On your Analytics page, click on Audience and then Subscribers.

It kind of goes without saying, but we are going to say it anyway: Subscribers are a big deal on YT.

The amount of subscribers reflects the overall quality and popularity of your channel because they are the ones who receive notifications every time you post something — increasing your chances of gaining views.

If you’re aiming to increase your subscribers, this report offers valuable insight you can take into consideration. For example, you can measure your Subscriber Growth through time, which can be useful to decipher whether any of your recent actions have increased your subscriber rates.

Another feature tells you where viewers clicked the “Subscribe” button: Did they watch one of your videos and start following you from there? Were they on your channel when they did it? Was it through a YouTube search that they found you and clicked “Subscribe”? Or was it thanks to an ad?

  • Why it matters: The subscriber report allows you to identify videos, locations, and periods when you either gained or lost subscribers.

Once you understand how, where, and when you gained subscribers, you can tweak future videos to take advantage of this information and continue to grow those numbers moving forward.

Target Better Audiences by Measuring Traffic Sources

Where to find it: While on the Analytics screen, click on the Audience tab and find the Subscribers section; under it, go to See More.

There are many routes your viewers can take to reach your videos. The Traffic Sources report tells you which one they took to find you and can provide a sense of how well your overall SEO strategy is working.

Not everyone who watches your video is equally valuable to your channel. You waste more resources on viewers you have to convince to watch your content than those who are already interested in the topics you cover, which saves you time and effort.

Just as some audiences are more valuable than others, Traffic Sources can also be qualified.

A high-quality Traffic Source leads valuable audiences to your videos. And valuable audiences are those who are interested in your channel’s content, given that they are more likely to interact with it and, eventually, subscribe.

  • Why it matters: Imagine that you notice many of your viewers coming from some of your videos being shared on an Instagram account. When you visit it, you realize this profile covers topics related to your niche, and the viewers it guides toward your videos tend to generate a lot of interactions.

Focusing on nurturing a Traffic Source like that can allow you to optimize your YouTube strategy as you are creating content for the places that matter. This will allow you to save money and time you’d have wasted on the wrong audiences and obtain better results.

Learn from Your CompetitorsWith Suggested Videos

Where to find it: on the “Traffic Source: Suggested Videos” card of the Audience tab.

Suggested Videos appear next to or after other videos and from links in video descriptions.

These videos are usually related in some way to each other, and some of your viewers discover your content thanks to these placements — which is why YouTube considers you’d be interested in them.

The Suggested Videos report tells you the specific videos your audience watched before reaching your content. Information that can reveal the topics your viewers are interested in, what kind of content they enjoy, and maybe most importantly, knowing which channels they go to for that type of content.

  • Why it matters: Knowing your competitors is always important. Yes, the videos your audience watches give you insight into the topics they enjoy, but the content that appears as Suggested Videos is also related to what you have to offer.

You can learn from the videos your competitors create and try to replicate elements that seem to work for them. That way, once your viewers reach you, they will continue watching your content instead of leaving for another channel.

What Playlists Have to Say About You

Where to find it: You can see specific playlists that drove traffic to your videos on the “Traffic Source: Playlists” card of the Audience tab.

In this section of your channel’s Analytics, you can see which Playlists include your videos and the sort of traffic those playlists receive.

Playlists can be a huge traffic booster as they lead viewers who are watching similar content toward your videos. But as a creator, you don’t have much control over this matter. Yes, you can (and probably should) make a few playlists of your own, but you can’t force users to make playlists that include your videos.

What you can do, however, is keep an eye on the ones they do create.

Playlists are user-curated collections of videos. Viewers make playlists with content they want to consume or associate with each other and wish to organize.

  • Why it matters: Playlists that contain your videos can give you insight into what your audience thinks of your content. Check the Playlist name; think about the topics it covers. How does that relate to your channel?

Watch other videos on the playlist. Are they similar to your videos? Or are they different? What does that say about your videos?

The way viewers perceive your content may differ,  and that’s okay. However, being aware of those perceptions can be a game-changer in terms of your strategy,  the image you want to portray, and whether it’s what you were aiming for.

Wrapping up

As you can see, measuring the actions you take on YouTube can give you a great deal of insight into how to improve your presence with your audience. Viewers are honest; they show their preferences in their actions and interactions with your content.

Once you start producing content that viewers love, growth will come naturally. And if it doesn’t, measure again, adapt, and keep trying! 

Sooner rather than later, you’ll arrive at the formula that leads to your channel and YouTube presence growth!