All marketers know the importance of YouTube metrics and KPIs, but which ones should marketers prioritize?
This is particularly important because making a YouTube channel and hoping for the best isn’t the best way to optimize your presence on the world’s second largest search engine.
But what YouTube metrics should marketers focus on? We break down the most popular KPIs and metrics associated with YouTube and which ones are worth measuring.
The click rate for a YouTube video has been held as the golden metric for a very long time.
Click rates are often equated with views because they signify how many times a video has been clicked on.
However, that in and of itself does not give marketers a good idea of how well a video is being received.
Clicks indicate that users have found your video title or thumbnail interesting enough to click on, but were they actually interested enough in it to continue watching, and sharing?
That doesn’t mean that clicks should be ignored—it is important to know that people are interested in viewing your video.
Click through rates on videos are an important YouTube metric, but they don’t actually equate to video views.
The number of views your videos receive is a separate metric, because YouTube doesn’t count clicks generated through video embeds.
For a thorough understanding of how often your videos are being viewed, you will need to examine a combination of clicks and views.
As we mentioned, just because someone is clicking on your video, doesn’t mean that they are actually enjoying it or engaging with it.
To understand that, you need to study the bounce rate for your videos.
The bounce rate is how often someone stops watching your video, closes the tab, or clicks through to another video without completing your video.
It is important to learn how often people bounce and at what point in the video they do so—this will help you understand what areas of your video need to be improved.
Video completion rate is tied into bounce rate—it’s the metric that lets you know how often your videos are being completed.
The completion rate YouTube metric is an important one, because like bounce rate, it gives you an idea of how engaging your content is for the audience.
This is particularly necessary for channels like YouTube and Facebook, which accord higher ranks to videos that are watched from start to finish more often.
Measuring which videos are watched completely will give you a good idea of how long your videos should be—shorter videos are completed more often, as opposed to long videos.
It isn’t enough for your videos to only be watched once—that is a sign of a lack of engagement.
You want people to come back to your video and to refer it to others—these recurring viewers increase your video views and ranking.
The recurrence rate is a good metric to understand the kind of content you should be making videos of—how-to guides are a good way to increase your recurrence rate.
However, you do need to examine the recurring views—are people watching it because they want to refresh their memories, or because they didn’t understand it?
You want more of the first kind rather than the second, and this will impact the video content you create.
You have a specific reason for creating video content—either to send people to your website, make a purchase, view another video, or to customize your newsletter examples.
This goal leads the strategy for creating and distributing your videos. But is it successful in converting your viewers into purchasers or subscribers?
That is why you need to study the conversion rate of your videos—so you can find out whether your call-to-action has done its job.
Conversion rate is, by far, one of the most important YouTube metrics—because it tells you how effective your video is in the achievement of your marketing and business goals.
All other metrics help you improve conversion rate, but at the end of the day, this is your end goal.
Number of Subscribers
If your video content is great, people will want to subscribe to your channel so they can access your content whenever they visit YouTube.
It is good to know how many people are engaged enough with your content to keep coming back to your channel.
However, the subscription numbers aren’t the most important metric—primarily because most subscribers don’t regularly check in on your content.
People often subscribe to channels and never watch another video. Thus, this is more a vanity metric than an actionable one.
Likes and Dislikes
Putting too much store into the number of likes and dislikes your videos receive is a mistake—it isn’t always an accurate representation of the quality of your content.
It is also important to remember that there will also be a small group of trolls who will randomly dislike a bunch of videos just because they can.
But you do want to ensure that your videos aren’t regularly receiving more dislikes than likes. Look at the comments to see if the dislikes are justified.
Like the number of subscribers, this is another vanity metric at the end of the day.
You may want to know the kind of people who are watching your videos—are they younger or older millennials, Gen Z, or boomers?
Understanding the demographic of your content will help you tailor your videos more to that audience.
But you should already have a good idea of your target audience, so this metric is more useful for confirming that you are on the right track.
Always read the comments on your videos—users are often very clear about what they did or didn’t like and that will help you adjust your content.
Reply to the comments you come across, and in a timely manner. This will help improve your engagement with your audience, and give them a reason to return to your content.
People are watching your videos but where are they finding them? Referral tracking is another extremely important metric that you should be focusing on.
If you are posting links to your videos on social media, embedding them on your website, and optimizing them for YouTube SEO, you need to know whether these efforts are working.
Though YouTube doesn’t share referral statistics, you can use other tools to find out where users are being referred to your video.
Referral tracking will help you determine which channels you should optimize and find out which keywords are being searched for most often.
Is your video content interesting enough for people to share it with others?
External sharing isn’t the most important YouTube metric, but it does give you an idea of how engaging your content is.
The more shares you get on a video, the better its quality and engagement is—that may be the formula you need to follow when creating videos in the future.
In essence, all the YouTube metrics we have mentioned here are important. But that doesn’t mean that they have equal weightage.
Metrics such as conversion rates, completion rates, and referral tracking will give you far more valuable data about the efficacy of your videos than likes, comments, or number of subscribers.
The best YouTube strategy is created by deciding well in advance what matters to your marketing team and company.
Vanity metrics may be all you need, while for another company, it is more important for videos to convert viewers into customers.
Define what combination of metrics will help your business evolve and be ready to learn from them.