As SEOs, we know our way around Google Analytics, Google Webmaster Tools, and a slew of other sites that help us analyze website performance. What many don’t know, or haven’t explored yet, is the robust analytics tool that YouTube offers within its very own interface. Unlike the majority of social networks that offer little more than “vanity metrics,” YouTube Analytics gives marketers the tools they need to drill down and decode specific metrics- with help from its parent company, Google of course.

YouTube Analytics, like any analytics tool, provides several ways to interpret data. The following are the metrics we find the most useful when drawing conclusions regarding a YouTube Channel’s performance.


Demographics – B2B companies understand the importance of determining their audience. Typically, an enormous amount of research goes into any campaign, and video campaigns are no different. Demographics data provided by logged-in YouTube users helps you determine age, gender, and geographical location of viewers to specific videos and campaigns. Using the information collected in this view can help you further refine your buyer personas.

Retention Rate – This metric monitors the point at which a viewer stops watching your video. The metric is derived from a user pressing the back button on the player, closing the window, or leaving the page. The “relative audience retention” option let’s you see how well your retention rate compares with videos across YouTube of the same length. This is the best way to tell if your video is compelling to the viewer and where the viewer decided to prematurely exit the content.

Subscribers – A subscriber to your channel is much more valuable than a view. A subscriber is a person who finds your content compelling enough to choose to be automatically updated when you post new content, whereas a view could be nothing more than a generic click or hit. You can determine campaign effectiveness by the amount of subscribers gained during the length of your campaign.

Beware of the Following

View Count – One of the most coveted metrics is actually one of the least important. While having a lot of views on a video seems like a success, you have no way of knowing how engaged those users are. As mentioned above, a subscriber is much more valuable than a viewer. A view could be a simple click-through with only one second of content actually consumed. Use this metric along with a variety of other signifiers to determine true value.

Return On Investment (ROI) – ROI has never been a true way to determine success of any social media campaign. While determining ROI is usually the ultimate goal for marketers,  it is incredibly difficult to get an accurate ROI number.  ROI from YouTube is most often indirect. Focus instead on ad spend and increase in subscribers, engagement, and shares.

As marketers, we always wish for more data, and although YouTube Analytics is robust, there are surely areas for improvement. However, as far as in-network analytics tools go, the information provided by YouTube Analytics is indeed useful when you know what to look for.

What metrics are you tracking in YouTube?