How to use YouTube Analytics ?

Based on my experience with creating YouTube contents, here is how I determine what type of content to produce next. I use YouTube analytics to understand what the viewers are watching and how the channel is working. Based on the data feedback I design the contents.

How to do a quick channel check-in by using the built-in analytics to figure out how the channel is growing and then how to correctly use the data for making right decisions in right time. This will help in growing the audience in the channel.

For this simple task, you don’t need to be an expert in data analysis. Also, you don’t need to know the inside of YouTube’s complicated algorithms to be successful on YouTube. The data YouTube provides is very detailed and there is a huge amount information. It doesn’t make sense to a lot of people and that is okay. Don’t worry if you find the data overwhelming and confusing because, you don’t need everything that is shown.

Here are 4 easy steps to make the maximum use of analytics and interpret the data and the trends so that you can confidently make decisions.

STEP 1: Zoom Out: See the forest (Long term data)

This is the first step in looking at your data – look the data for the past 365 days or the lifetime. For example in the following data of the Views data of the last 365 days.

What I can see from the 365 days data is 1) The choice of videos from March to October were bad. 2) I realized that in November did something to gain viewers (I need to look deep in it and try to replicate it).  3) In December end and January things are not as good as they were fro the previous month.

Understanding the shape of the graph is over time gives a snapshot of what’s happening with your viewership. The questions to ask are:

1) Is the trend of viewership growing steadily over time? Or, is it declining steadily over time?

2) Is is fluctuating? Are their spikes at the time of upload and wanes down, your content may be volatile

Your viewers might be interested in videos for a short period of time (very common with news)

If the graph is more flat, you might have a consistent audience watching your videos regardless of whether you upload and update or not.

And, this is a very important task – to understand the growth trajectory of the channel, because
it helps you decide whether you should continue doing the things you are doing or not. Also useful to validate your current content strategy.

If your views are declining steadily over time, for over months or years that might mean that  the viewers have watched your content and moved on because that was the only thing they were interested in at that time and are watching something else now. When that happens, focus should be shifted in that direction.

This is the first step – how has the channel done over long-term and what are the viewers doing over time?

STEP 2: What is working ?

This is a very important step to understand the viewers of the channel. If views are up, growing over time, you are doing great – keep doing what you are doing.

To check that there are two places 1) Overview glance of the top videos over time. Top videos over 28 days is displayed by default. For months, year or lifetime, top 10 videos are listed in the Overview panel.

This information is very useful in deciding what types of videos would appeal to the viewers of the channel and what is their interests.

You can also go into Special Comparison Mode in the analytics. For that, after clicking “Advanced Mode” (top right side of Analytics page) and then compare the first 24 hours.

In there, different date ranges can be selected – for example, popular videos in the last seven days might be the thing to review and compare them to all your other videos at the exact same age.

To Do: See which are the top videos, understand what they have in common in terms of:

  • the topic
  • the title
  • the thumbnail

One should try to identify the common factors that made the video one of the top performing videos.

Identify what is working and what is not working.

Declining Viewership

People might opt to go to other platforms like TikTok, Facebook and Twitter for their video needs. But, for this article, it is assumed that the viewers haven’t gone away from platform.

Why do views go down? The reasons might be one of the:

  1. Something is not working well (That ‘something’ needs to be found out).
  2. Those previous viewers are watching more of something else. There might have been a viral video and it is over.
  3. Some of the videos had fleeting short-term interest – and that is over (like news)
  4. Viewer’s interest have changed over time.

For the first problem, that something should be found out and solved. In all other cases, something needs to be done to re-engage the viewers again.

For the second problem – making another video about the topic that was popular previously might be the best option. That would help in re-engaging the viewers.

For the third case & the fourth case, when the viewers’ interests have changed – one might need to try something new – because the interest in that topic has waned and more videos on such topic will not engage the viewers.

These problems and the solutions are unique for each channels. Also, going to the first step is also an option. For example some videos might work at the time of Valentine Day, others at the time of Christmas. To identify such cases, a long-term data might be helpful. Year-over-year comparison gives a better picture of what is going on.

Did it happen at the same time last year? People tend to be more active during festivals and holidays. They might be less active during certain period of time.

Times to look out are:

  • Holidays
  • School cycle time
  • Seasons – summer/winter/spring
  • Festivals

Some topics are more or less popular during festivals, seasons and school schedules. Others can lead to short-term fluctuations in viewership.

STEP 3: Audience and Understanding them

This is about the the Audience tab of YouTube Analytics:

  1. Who is the audience ? – there is age, country, gender data
  2. What are their interest?
  3. How do their interests change over time?

Apart from general data like country, age, and gender another important data available in Analytics is the “new and returning viewers” data. This data gives an idea of if the viewers are being engaged. After discovering the channel, are they leaving and not returning?

Are a lot of new people discovering the channel for the first time? Are the new viewers coming back to watch more videos?

This data is useful for understanding:

  • What to focus more in?
  • Experimenting with new topics.
  • Reaching out to new audiences,
  • Focus on getting more people to return and watch again and again

So, are we focused on a topic and are delivering consistency? Are promises delivered?

Making a series might be a best option to keep viewers engaged and anticipating. For that, there is a new feature that is called Top Videos Contributing to Audience Growth. In this, we can see the top videos that are driving in
new viewers who also return to watch more.

Building audience is not only to attract new viewers but, also to keep them hooked. Motivating them to come back to watch more and more videos.

What is the audience interested in?

For that looking at the Other Videos and Channels is very helpful.

My Audience is Watching card, is very useful for content inspiration or to understanding what’s the viewers know and understand. This data is so important and useful that we can understand the viewers in terms of what they: are enjoying in YouTube. What might be their problem, what they are anticipating. This is also a guide into audience change in preferences. How they have moved on from one topic to another topic. What is the new trend and a lot of similar stuffs.

It can be tricky, predicting the future, but data do help in the process.

In addition to that  Google Trends at trends.google.com can also be an additional source to understand what people are interested in, what is trending and what is not. It shows the increasing interest or declining interest in certain topics.

STEP 4 – A plan

Writing down a plan- a journal or a log-book can give a better picture of what is going on and how things are to be treated in the future.

What types of videos to do more ? (What type of content to do less or avoid?)

Based on the analytics data, based on a successful recent video – doing a series might be useful and beneficial.

May be a topic has a huge demand.

Writing down these things give a good guideline on topic selection.

What next?

For a long-term goal, experimentation and trying new things is necessary. So, this is very important note for a long-term goal.

What to do more of? What to do less of? What to experiment?

How often to upload?

Go to Advanced Mode of YouTube Analytics and compare videos published, and average views per viewer.

Uploading more videos than the audience is willing to watch is overkill.

Average views per viewer is an interesting metric to look out and determine how many videos to upload and how often to upload.

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