YouTube Analytics: Key Metrics for Tracking and Reporting

August 14, 2012 | Brendan Cournoyer
YouTube Analytics: Key Metrics for Tracking and Reporting

While companies can use YouTube analytics for tracking and reporting on the effectiveness of their video content, some metrics are more valuable than others.

As any good marketer knows, creating and sharing content is only part of the battle. The final key to an effective video marketing strategy is reportingBrainshark video presentations come with a bevy of tracking and analytics tools to help you better understand how viewers engage with your content. But to get your videos out in front of as many eyes as possible, it’s also a good idea to post Brainshark videos to YouTube (it does get several billion hits each day, after all!).

The good news is that YouTube also offers its own Analytics tab to provide marketers with important data to help monitor the impact of their videos. The bad news is that it’s a bit limited. Whereas Brainshark analytics provides multiple reporting templates, automation, guestbook tracking and more, YouTube sticks to some fairly standard options.

That said, you can still gather some valuable data from YouTube analytics. With that in mind, here are some of the key YouTube metrics to focus on:

#1. Views

OK, this one is obvious, but it’d be silly not to mention it. Anyone who’s used YouTube knows that you can see how many a views a video’s received straight from underneath the player. But the Analytics tab gives you a bit more insight. Here are some of the things you can do:

  • See the total views for individual videos, as well as your total views for all videos uploaded

  • Compare total views with unique views for a more accurate assessment

  • Sort views by data range to analyze viewing trends and growth

  • Filter views by geography, telling you where in the world your videos are most popular

By monitoring viewership trends, you can identify the best and worst of your video library. This is especially important for underperforming content, where you can then take efforts to boost a video’s popularity through editing or even re-optimizing for SEO.

#2. Audience Retention

This one is sort of like the video version of “Time on Page” in Google Analytics, and it’s a key metric for video marketing. While total views are important, not all views are created equal, and viewers that click play and bolt after a couple seconds don’t add a lot of value.

With this metric, YouTube lets you track not only the number of views your content receives, but how long those viewers watch for. That way you can see which videos your audience finds most engaging, and fix content where the audience drops like flies before you ever have the chance to hook them.

#3. Subscribers and Shares

The Engagement reports tab offers a lot of data, but I find some more valuable than others. Likes and Dislikes are great, but unless a bunch of people take the time to tell you they really hate your video, there’s not much you can gain from them. Comments and feedback can be helpful too, but I don’t really consider this a metric.

For my money, the best data here involves Subscribers and Shares, mainly because they indicate a more engaged commitment on behalf of the viewer. If your content is quality enough that viewers are subscribing to see more of it, that’s basically the YouTube equivalent of an unqualified inbound lead. In other words, you’ve used your content to intrigue someone to the point that they actually want to see more from you (which is great!). Similarly, if people are sharing your content frequently on Twitter and Facebook, not only are they fans, but they are vouching for your content in a way that could make even more people aware of your messaging.

While there are other cool YouTube analytics features to play with, these are the ones that I consider most valuable. Of course, you might be asking yourself, “But wait – what about conversions?” Good question! With YouTube content living on another site, you won’t really be able to track conversion rates for new opportunities. Fortunately, there are some simple things you can do with external content to learn more about the business value of videos on YouTube, which I’ll cover in an upcoming post.

Stay tuned!

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