YouTube Analytics: the Full Break Down

YouTube Analytics: the Full Break Down

12th December 2011

Last week YouTube announced not only a new design for YouTube, but also a new feature which will replace the old “YouTube Insights”: YouTube Analytics.

With YouTube Analytics YouTube aims at getting video creators more involved. With video becoming more important not only because YouTube is the second largest search engine out there, but also because videos show up in Universal Search, it is a welcome feature. After all, more insights in your statistics can help you make better videos, which get more views and thus a better visibility on the web. And it can drive traffic to your website.

Time to take a closer look at the new YouTube Analytics.

From the video to the dashboard

There are two ways to get to the statistics of a specific video: directly from the video itself or through the dashboard which shows all of your uploads on, which will give you an overview from where you can go to a specific video.

You can also go to the video you want to know the stats on and click on the icon next to the number of views the video has. Clicking on it will open information about the video below the video. These are settings you can make public, so everybody can see them, or keep private.

In these ‘quick stats’ you can find ‘regular’ information like the number of views, likes en where the audience is located. You can also see amongst which age- and gender group the specific video is popular. What however is most interesting in this part is that in one overview you can quickly see the most significant events around the video. When it was first referred to, when it was first embedded and how much views that specific embed got.

Clicking on the “View more statistics” link brings you to the detailed page of that video, where you can also go from the dashboard. You automatically get the view from the last 30 days, but you can change that in any range you want. On the dashboard of the video you have got several options to really dive deep into the statistics of your video.


Views in this case are the equivalent of visitors on the website. It is what most people look at and shows the popularity of the video. It is pretty straight forward, you can see the number of views in the chosen timeframe and you can compare the views to unique visitors.


The demographics tab gives you valuable information on who watched the video. Is your audience mainly male or female? And where does your audience come from? You can even look at the specific demographics of a specific country, which will show you the gender and age groups of your audience in that country. You can even get information on state-level if you for example click on the US.

Playback locations

An interesting feature is “Playback locations”, which will show you where the viewers watched the video, either as embedded video, on YouTube itself or on mobile phones. You can even see where the video was embedded and how it was viewed on that location.

Traffic Sources

A very interesting part is Traffic Sources. Here you can see where most traffic is generated: is it on pages which have embedded your video, is it on YouTube or maybe mobile devices.

The data at first looks similar to the playback locations, but it gives you a lot more information. “External Websites” for example include data about specific sites that provide traffic, like Facebook, Twitter, but also search engines like Bing and Google.

Clicking on a traffic source will take you to the details of that page where you can see how much traffic to the video that specific source has given you. Very handy if you want to target new videos.

Search Queries

In the traffic sources section you might also see “YouTube Search” or “Google Search”. This is very valuable because clicking on them will show you what search terms have been used to find your video. Yes, we have keyword-level data!

YouTube Suggested Video

Interesting in this area also is the “suggested video” section, which shows you what suggestions YouTube makes for your video. It will show you who is related and who might be an interesting target influencer for videos to come. It will also let you ‘learn’ more about the connections YouTube makes so you can learn from it. They are after all determined algorithmically, so this might give you some insight into that algorithm.

Audience retention

This again is a very valuable part of the new statistics. We already were familiar with the “hot spots” in YouTube Insight. This is something which follows on that. Here you can see how engaged users are with your video.

“Absolute Audience Retention” will show you how many of the users that started looking at the video were still looking at a certain point and where they seem to drop off. It will also show the importance of certain parts of the video. For example if somebody watches a specific part again, the graph at that specific point will be pushed up. As you can imagine this is very valuable information.

“Relative Audience Retention” in the same area shows you a little different insight. It takes a perspective on the data in “Absolute Audience Retention”. It takes that data and compares it to videos of similar length. So you can see if the engagement of your viewers is on an average level or above or below.

Engagement reports

The engagement reports section is all about how loyal your viewers are and how social your video is getting.

Subscribers shows you how people subscribed to your channel have viewed the specific video.
Likes and dislikes shows the numbers over time of how many likes and dislikes your video has received.
Favorites shows how often and when your video has been favored.
Comments show the number of comments, and when they were placed
Sharing not only shows the number of shares and when, but also through with sharing service the video was shared. This is very valuable to find your specific audience.

For all of these you can look at the abstract numbers, but you can also look at the Geography of the data. So you can again target as specific as possible.

What should we do with this?

So how can this help us? Well there are many ways. The more data we have the more we can figure out what works and what doesn’t. What kind of videos you should produce is just a start on this.

YouTube Analytics can help you determine what your target audience likes. It can also help you find the right places to share your content (views and embeds count!) and it will give you an idea of what kind of audience you have which will make it easier to please that audience.

Now you can make better YouTube videos. But it is about more than that. YouTube is important as entity, but it also plays a huge role in the rankings and in Google’s social efforts.

Universal Search will get your videos attention in the SERPS, which will be easier if you make the right videos.

But more importantly: Google is tying YouTube and Google+ closer together. They placed the YouTube button on Plus and are encouraging the sharing of videos on Plus. And they have made the YouTube subscriptions much more appealing with the new design of YouTube. For those subscriptions however you will need to have an account, which will automatically sign you up with Google+…

For now you should take these analytics and learn learn learn and make better videos which will rank in Universal Search and will be ‘carried’ on Google+

Find below an overview of screens of the different sections in YouTube Analytics:


Written By
Bas van den Beld is an award winning Digital Marketing consultant, trainer and speaker. He is the founder of State of Digital and helps companies develop solid marketing strategies.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.