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How to Read YouTube Analytics

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YouTube provides some of the most detailed analytics, from any social media platform, that new creators can use to predict and improve their content. You can see how your audience responds to your Thumbnail and title, how they’re engaging with the video and more in real time. Let’s take a look at How to Read YouTube Analytics to help you get content creation stardom!

Where to Find Your YouTube Analytics

To find your analytics, first, navigate to the top right of YouTube’s main page. You’re going to look down and click on “YouTube Studio.”

This will take you to YouTube Studio, where you can see all the analytics for your channel as a whole, or you can view specific analytics for individual videos.

To view the global analytics for your channel, click on the Analytics tab on the left-hand side when you’ve navigated into YouTube Studio. This will show you overall stats such as your click-through-rate, average retention and more.

Alternatively, you can view analytics for individual videos by clicking the 3 graphs tab on the video you’d like to view. This will give you detailed statistics for this particular video such as audience data, retention data and predicted changes.

How to Find Your YouTube Analytics on Mobile

To check your analytics on Mobile, you’ll have to download the YouTube Studio app. Once you log into your google account, you’ll be greeted by a very familiar interface, like the one on Desktop.

The navigation is very similar, and you can check your channel’s analytics as a whole or an individual video.

How to Read Your YouTube Analytics

We’re going to break down YouTube Analytics into 3 different sections: Reach, Engagement and Audience. These factors all contribute to how your video is served, whether your video is successful and what you can improve on.


Reach refers to how your audience finds your content, and how they’re responding to it once they see it. Let’s take a look at all the parameters that are included in Reach and what they mean.

  • Impressions: How many times your thumbnails were shown to viewers on YouTube.
  • Click-Through-Rate: How often viewers watched a video after seeing a thumbnail.
  • Views: The number of legitimate views for your channels or videos.


Enagements refers to how people are responding to your video, once it has been served to them by YouTube. This is broken down into:

  • Watch Time: Total watch time since the video was published.
  • Average view duration: Average amount of time viewers spent watching this video.


Lastly, the audience section is all about what type of users you’re reaching. This is further broken down into how many of them are subscribed versus not subscribed, the users’ geography, gender and more. The audience tab gives detailed analytics on:

  • Average Viewers Per Viewer: The average number of times a viewer watched this particular video
  • Unique Viewers: Estimated number of people that watched this video content
  • Subscribers: The amount of people that have subscribed to your channel from this video

These analytics may look quite daunting for new content creators, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll breeze through them! The most important factors you should be focusing on is Reach and Engagement. These two parameters determine how your video responds to YouTube and how the video is responding to your audience. They work with one another, infinitely. If you have a very positive reception when YouTube serves your video, it will serve it more.

Let’s look at it as a step-by-step filter; we’ll use my analytics as an example.

  1. YouTube began by serving my Thumbnail to 6,800 users.
  2. Of those 6,800 users, 923 of them decided to click on the thumbnail and watch the video
  3. On average, from those 923 users, they would watch the video for 2 minutes and 37 seconds.
  4. This means that in total, 923 people have accounted for 40 hours of video watch time.

Important Factors to Keep in Mind

Now that we understand how to read YouTube analytics, what should new content creators focus on, and how can they improve their analytics? Let’s take a look at some of the best tips that have been proven to drive engagement and get your video to explode on YouTube!

Always Serving to a New Audience

Many new creators believe that Subscriber counts are crucial – however, it’s the exact opposite. The total amount of views accounted for by your subscribers is meager; YouTube serves videos to anyone interested in the topic you’re creating content about.

For example, let’s look at how much my Subscription base accounts for my total watch time on my newest video.

That’s right — only 3.4%. The vast majority of users that see my videos are brand new people exposed to my channel for the first time. This isn’t unique to this video; all of my videos have a massive disparity between subscribers and non-subscribers. As a result, you should always target your videos to find new audiences and reach new people in your niche. Although your goal is to convert your viewers into subscribers, you shouldn’t look at your subscriber count as a valuable metric – at least when you’re starting.

Click-Through-Rate (CTR)

One of the two most important metrics that YouTube engages with is Click-through rate or CTR. Your Thumbnail and Title must be eye-catching, different from the competition, and they engage your audience to click on them. The higher the CTR, the more YouTube will recognize that your video deserves more impressions.

A great tip is to check out the competition for the video you’re making and seeing how you can make your Thumbnail different to stand out. Are they all using the colour blue? Try yellow for high contrast. Are they using thin fonts? Try using something bold to stand out.

It’s also worth noting if you’ve uploaded a video and your CTR is quite low – change the Thumbnail! You’ll see your CTR increase in realtime, and you’ll have better engagement. Generally, a good click-through-rate will be somewhere between 10-15%, anything higher and you’ve made one incredibly engaging Thumbnail and title!

Average Watch Time

The second important YouTube metric is the average watch duration. Practically, the longer your audiences watch your Content, YouTube will see this as a signal to serve your video to larger and larger pools of people. If your videos are getting 50+% average watch duration, you can predictably know that YouTube will positively impact your video.

One of the best ways to check how your audience responds to your video is seeing where they drop off in watch time. Let’s take another look at my video to see where I could improve.

YouTube shows the exact points where you have a significant drop in watch time. When I click on the button “2 Dips” it shows the exact area where there have been drops in watch time.

From this video, I can see that viewers decided to click off the video more once they saw my Call to Action. 

A call to action is when you ask the viewer to do something; in this case, I asked any viewers if they’d like to subscribe.

As a result, for my next video, I’m only going to have one CTA, and that’s going to be at the very end of my video, so I only have one dip instead of two.


It’s easy to get lost in YouTube analytics, and once you understand them, new creators can become overly obsessed with perfecting their video stats. If you gain anything from this article, remember this. If you produce good quality and valuable content for people, you will organically get great analytics. A high click-through rate and optimizing videos can only take you so far, but focusing on making the content you produce the best you possibly can go the longest way in having a successful YouTube channel!

About the Author


Igi is a Content Strategist from England and makes streams at MakeMagic. He's big into self-improvement and loves fitness! He excels at data analysis and experimenting with new ideas.

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