YouTube can be unpredictable sometimes. Figuring out why some videos rack up huge views while others don’t lift off can leave you scratching your head.

Getting familiar with YouTube Analytics can help though, shining a light on what your audience likes, how you can improve videos, and ultimately grow your channel.

We’re here to help with this easy guide to unlocking the secrets of YouTube Analytics. Read on to find out how you can take key stats and figures and turn them into actionable steps that will improve your content and allow you to reach a bigger audience.

Where to find your YouTube Analytics

Illustration of YouTube channel analytics within YouTube Studio.

YouTube Studio is a treasure trove of priceless insights about how well your videos are doing. Simply head to the Analytics tab in the left-hand menu to dive in and start exploring YouTube Analytics' 5 key sections.

Overview 📈

Gauge how your channel and videos are performing with key metrics, including views, watch time, and subscribers.

Content 📹

Discover how your audience is discovering your videos, which content is proving the most popular, and how engaged people are with your channel.

Audience 👨‍👩‍👧‍👦

Find out who your audience is, including other channels they’re interested in, how many of your subscribers get notifications for your videos, and when your viewers are typically on YouTube.

Revenue 💸

Once you make it to the YouTube Partner Programme, you can head to the Revenue tab to keep track of all the earnings you get through video monetization.

Research 💡

Find out what your audience is searching for on YouTube, as well as some of the trending search topics for channels like yours.

A lot of the best insights in YouTube Analytics can be found in Advanced Mode. You can find this in the top-right corner of any section of YouTube Analytics, or simply click See More to get to the same place.

Views: Where are they coming from & how to get more

Illustration of YouTube Analytics showing increased video views.

YouTube is the world’s second largest search engine, which means that a good chunk of your views are coming from people who are searching for specific topics.

In Analytics you can find out which of your videos are being discovered through YouTube’s search function, and also find out which videos might need a bit of work to start racking up more views. Here’s some of the key insights you want to look at to get more people clicking on your videos.

Impressions 👁

This is the total number of times people have been shown your title and thumbnail. It could be for just a second before people either click to watch your video or scroll past, but it still counts as an impression. Simply click into Advanced Mode to see the impressions for all your videos.

A video with more impressions is clearly doing something that YouTube’s algorithm likes - although impressions on their own aren’t going to give you a full picture, which is why you want to know how many people are clicking on your videos too.

Impressions CTR (Click-through rate)

Once you have the number of impressions each video has, you can figure out which are the best at hooking in viewers by seeing their comparative click-through rate (CTR). YouTube Analytics shows you the percentage of people who are clicking through to each video – the higher the percentage, the better your title and thumbnail is at getting people to click.

Consider whether there’s something you did differently with the videos that have a high CTR and see what lessons you can learn. Maybe your better thumbnails catch the eye more than the others, or perhaps they match the subject of the video better. Be critical and see what you can do differently!

You can edit the title and thumbnail of videos you’ve already published, so don’t be afraid to change things up if you feel like you can do a better job of grabbing people’s attention!

Traffic Sources 🚦

How exactly are people finding your videos? YouTube Analytics tells you whether they’re finding them through the platform’s search function, through their suggested videos, whilst browsing, or elsewhere.

Head to Advanced Mode and click on Traffic source to see where your views are coming from, either for individual videos or your whole channel. Once you know where your traffic is coming from, you can find ways to get more traffic from other sources.

If you want to be found through suggested videos more often, you can try changing your thumbnail to something more eye-grabbing, or you can make your title more searchable if you want your videos to be discovered through YouTube search.

Keywords ⌨️

If you find your videos aren’t being found through YouTube search, you’ll want to consider what words or phrases people are likely to type when trying to find videos like yours.

Thankfully, you can find out exactly what your viewers are searching for in the Traffic Sources report by clicking on YouTube Search. Find out what search terms are bringing you the most traffic and consider including these within your title and description.

Content gaps 🔎

Helpfully, YouTube will give you pointers to terms that have a high search volume but don’t have loads of videos for people to watch. Head to the Research tab, enter a topic you might want to cover, and sort by Content gaps only to see what people have been searching for.

By finding a topic that people are already interested in, you can make sure that your next video has an existing ready-made audience!

Retention: Which videos are popping & how to hook viewers for longer

Illustration of YouTube Analytics showing increased watch time.

Ask any YouTuber and they’ll tell you they want more views! The most effective way to get them is by getting people hooked on your content as soon as they’ve started watching - make them want to subscribe to your channel and come back for more.

You can use YouTube Analytics to see which of your videos are keeping people’s attention for longer, and get useful little nuggets of information to make your future content even more engaging.

The first 30 seconds of your video are crucial if you want to hold people’s attention. Make sure your intro is punchy and gives people a reason to watch the rest of your video!

Watch time

This one’s pretty self-explanatory and tells you how long people are spending watching your videos. It’s an easy way to see which of your videos are engaging viewers the most. The YouTube algorithm loves videos with longer watch times so work out which ones are performing best and learn from their success.

Once you’ve headed to Advanced Mode to see which of your videos are being watched the most, consider whether there are opportunities to create more content around those subjects.

Average percentage viewed 👀

Probably the best indicator of how engaging a video is, Average percentage viewed can be found in the Content report, and will show how much the average viewer watches. A higher percentage shows that people are watching your videos for longer – the dream goal is to get everyone watching your entire videos!

You can learn from both your best and worst performing videos to see what differences there are between the two. Maybe the editing is slow and people are losing interest, or perhaps the video doesn’t live up to what the title and thumbnail promise? See what you might change in future.

Average view duration 📺

You can use Average view duration alongside the Average percentage viewed to really focus in on your top performing videos. A high percentage is great on its own, but a video that combines a high percentage with a long duration is even better.

Pick out a couple of your top performing videos across both of these metrics and these will be your gold standard. Think about what things make this content resonate with your audience, apply those learnings to upcoming videos, and see if they perform better too.

Audience retention 👩‍❤️‍👨

Once you know which of your videos are your best and worst performers, you can really get under the hood and see what’s happening by heading to Content and clicking on Videos to see the key moments for audience retention.

Here you can pinpoint the exact moments that people are leaving your videos, figure out why that might be dropping off, and think of ways you can keep them engaged in future videos.

Spikes 🔥

On the flipside, the Audience retention graphs also show you where people are rewatching or sharing a moment from your video, which is clearly a sign that they like what they see!

Think about what it is that people are loving about these moments in your video and consider how you might be able to recreate them in your future content.

What else your audience is watching 👨‍👩‍👧‍👦

Get inspiration for videos that will resonate with your audience by checking out what they’re already into. Head to the Audience tab for insights on which other channels they watch, and even the specific videos that they viewed recently.

Think of this as an opportunity to better understand what else your audience likes, and to get ideas for videos that you know they’ll love.

Growth: Who are your audience & how to turn viewers into subscribers

Illustration of YouTube Analytics showing audience metrics.

So you’ve got more people watching your videos and they’re watching for longer too, but how do you go from there to getting more subscribers?

Growing your YouTube channel takes patience but you can speed up the process by checking out YouTube Analytics and finding opportunities to turn casual viewers into engaged subscribers.

Subscriber growth 🪴

Find out how you can get more subscribers by seeing which of your published videos are helping to grow your audience! Head to Advanced Mode in the Audience tab to find out which videos are convincing people to hit the subscribe button.

Consider what it is that is making people subscribe, whether the content itself is especially strong or you’ve maybe asked viewers to follow your channel. Whatever it is, make sure you’re doing more of it!

Videos growing your audience 🔁

Head to the Audience tab to see which of your videos are encouraging new viewers to come back and watch more of your content.

YouTube tells you which videos have a high number of new viewers that returned to your channel, but you can also click on See More to check out the exact number of new viewers each piece of content has attracted to your channel. It's a great insight into which of your videos are resonating with a new audience!

Interactions ❤️

Videos that are getting lots of comments, likes and shares are a surefire sign that people love what you’re doing. Head to the Interactions report by clicking on Advanced Mode in Content, and see which videos people are engaging with.

The more interactions you have, the more you’re building a community that is invested in your videos. Help grow your community by asking questions and getting people to respond in the comments section.

Audience demographics 🌎

Who exactly is watching your videos? Head to the Audience tab to check out your audience’s age, gender, where they come from, and even the time they’re typically on YouTube!

This can help you to build a picture of who your audience is and either tailor your videos for your core viewers — like posting at times that your audience is most active — or consider ways that you might be able to attract a broader audience.

Getting as many views as possible in the first 24 hours is crucial if you want YouTube's algorithm to share your video further. Give yourself the best chance of success by posting your video at a time when your audience is more likely to watch.

Embrace YouTube Analytics & help your channel grow

Illustration of YouTube Analytics.

Getting to grips with YouTube Analytics is easier than it looks and an absolute no-brainer if you want to find ways to improve your videos. It’s a powerful tool that can help you to get more people watching your videos, keep them hooked for longer, and even grow your channel.

So embrace the wealth of stats you have at your fingertips and don’t miss out on unlocking your channel’s full potential! Becoming familiar with YouTube Analytics could make all the difference if you’re looking to take the next step as a YouTuber.

As well as getting to grips with analytics, make sure to maximize the views your videos get by learning how to use YouTube SEO to get your content featuring higher in search results.

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