In today's aggressively expanding digital landscape, various analytics are available to help businesses and content creators understand their online and offline performance.

For instance, YouTube offers multiple metrics to help users measure different factors, like viewers, subscribers, and engagement. Unfortunately, the platform provides so many metrics that beginners could find it challenging to prioritize those that could help them improve their channels. 

With that, keep reading below to learn more about YouTube analytics and the key metrics channels must check for. 

Key Metrics you can't miss to Analyze 

As mentioned above, various metrics are available on YouTube to help understand factors like watch times, engagement, and audience retention.

Tracking and analyzing such metrics can help you find and address issues on your channel, enabling you to create content that resonates with the target audience and invite them to become subscribers. Plus, it allows you to publish content that follows the platform's modern standards. 

The following are some of the best metrics you can track. 

Watch Time

Watch time refers to the total amount of minutes viewers spend watching your content. Users should consider it one of the most critical metrics because the algorithm features videos and channels with higher watch times.

YouTube boosts users in their search results and recommendation sections if they have superior numbers in this area. That means improving your watch times can help you achieve more views and better engagement

To access your channel's watch time, open your YouTube Studio and go to “Analytics,” then click “Overview,” then “Watch Time” to see your numbers.

When tracking this metric, try ranking your videos by watch time and group them by content, styles, and lengths to identify your most engaging format. Doing this will help you gauge what works for your channel to help you improve your watch time. 

Impressions Click-Through Rate

YouTube impressions mean how often people watch your videos after seeing your thumbnails, reading your content titles, or seeing any similar element, whether on the user's homepage, recommendation section, or trending section. 

Now, the click-through rate helps measure your video impression's effectiveness in urging people to watch your videos. A high click-through rate means your videos are successful at doing so. 

To determine your impressions click-through rate, go to “Analytics,” then “Reach,” then “Impressions Click-Through Rate.” If you look at this metric, you will see an uptick right after you publish a video.

That constantly happens since subscribers will immediately see your video at the top of their homepage and decide to watch it.

What you must look into are the numbers obtained once your video spreads beyond your subscribers. If your click-through rate plummets or becomes stale at that point, that's when you'll make your improvements. 

Furthermore, when improving thumbnails and titles, avoid click-baiting your target audience to increase your click-through rate. Click-baiting is a bad practice that intentionally misleads viewers into consuming content.

If you didn't plan to click-bait your viewers, but they're still leaving at the beginning of your video, your thumbnails and titles could still be inaccurate. When this happens, your subscribers will lose trust in your channel. 

Unique Viewers

This metric aims to determine the number of people that have watched your videos at least once. For instance, if a viewer watches your content ten times, the views will increase by ten. However, YouTube will count the unique viewer as one.

By identifying your unique viewers, you can learn the actual size of your viewers for a certain period. To access your unique viewers, go to “Analytics,” then “Audience,” then “Unique Viewers.”

Moreover, determining your unique viewers can also help you gauge how your subscribers engage with your content. If your unique viewers are lower than your subscriber count, your subscribers aren't consuming your content as they should. 

Returning Viewers 

Returning viewers help identify how many people come back to your channel to consume more content. Understanding this metric can help you identify what makes your target audience return to your content.

From here, you can create an effective formula for your next videos. The goal is to watch this metric rise as your viewers return to your channels to watch your videos.

To determine your returning viewer count, go to your audience dashboard in your YouTube Studios and head to “Analytics.”

Average Percentage Viewed

The average percentage viewed helps measure how long viewers watch each video. It can help you determine your video's ability to hold your target audience's attention.

Once YouTube finds that your videos can excellently do so, the platform will boost your content's search and recommendation rankings. 

You can access this metric in the “Watch Time” section of your YouTube Studio. Open that, then click “See More,” then “Content,” and “Watch Time.” Next, go to “More Metrics,” then “Overview,” then “Average Percentage Viewed.” 

Traffic Sources

YouTube offers metrics allowing channels to measure external sources like social media platform and other digital marketing platforms inviting or directing viewers to watch.

Through the Traffic Sources report, you can determine how viewers found your videos and what source generates the most views and watch time. Identifying each source's performance can help you improve your video marketing strategies. 

You can access this metric by going to “Analytics,” then “Audience,” then “Subscribers.” Next, click “See More” and head to “Traffic Source.” 

Subscriber Growth

Subscriber count signifies the number of people who have become loyal fans or supporters of your channel. They're one of the most critical factors that help increase your content since subscribers watch twice as many videos as casual viewers.

Plus, YouTube sends subscribers notifications about your new content and features them on their homepage. The more you have subscribers, the more you increase your watch time. 

Tracking your subscriber count lets you understand which content, target locations, and time helped you gain or lose subscribers.

It will also help you determine what topics impact old and new subscribers. That means you can adjust your content based on what resonates with your viewers. 

To learn more about your subscriber growth, go to “Analytics,” then “Audience,” then “Subscribers.” 


Audience retention is the number of viewers who watch and leave your video at a particular time or moment in your content. A high retention rate means your viewers stay for the entire duration of your video.

When that happens, YouTube will elevate them in their search rankings and recommendations to capture more viewers. 

Furthermore, knowing the retention rate can also help improve your future content. Understanding which part of your video is most engaging can determine which topic to focus on moving forward. 

You can discover your channel's retention rate by going to “Analytics,” then “Engagement,” and finally, “Audience Retention.” 


In the aggressive age of social media, engagement has become one of the key metrics in measuring online success.

Engagement like comments, shares, and reactions have given marketers valuable insights into what works and doesn't in their campaigns. Tracking them can help improve your future content since this metric offers specific information about your target audience's response. 

You can find your channel's engagement in YouTube's Interactions Report. You can also access a particular engagement in your channel. For instance, go to “Analytics,” then “Engagement,” then “Likes,” and so on. 


Generally, keywords help marketers reach their target audience online. On YouTube, keywords are those that online users utilize to look for particular content.

Optimizing your channel with the right phrases can help your videos directly connect to the target audience. 

In addition, there are various ways to optimize your channel with the target keywords. You can insert them in the filenames, video titles, descriptions, subtitles, and hashtags.

Moreover, you can hire a freelance writer to help you write titles and descriptions that seamlessly include your target keywords to avoid sounding awkward. 

To identify the right keywords, you can go to “Analytics,” then “Reach,” then “YouTube Search Terms.” 

In a Nutshell

Analyzing metrics is universally beneficial for online users making a living on digital platforms like YouTube.

Tracking all the critical numbers can help channels create content that communicates with their target audience more effectively.

While various metrics are available on YouTube, prioritizing the right ones can help improve your channel in the long run. 

So start exploring your data today, and see where your creativity and insights can take you! You can also talk to our experts about more digital marketing tips.

Frequently Asked Questions

In YouTube content, eight essential metrics illuminate the path to success. They include traffic sources, impressions, watch time, audience retention, engagement metrics, demographics, audience loyalty, and subscriber engagement. These metrics guide creators toward growth and engagement in the data-driven world of online video.

Through YouTube analytics, you can focus on your top-performing videos in terms of views, watch time, and audience engagement. Additionally, you can identify content themes that resonate with your target audience, such as how-tos, tutorials, vlogs, and webinars. Lastly, you'll gain insights into how video elements like thumbnails, titles, and length impact the performance of your videos.

Metrics represent quantitative measurements. For instance, the “Sessions” metric reflects the total number of sessions, while “Pages/Session” represents the average pages viewed per session. Typically, tables in most Analytics reports arrange dimension values in rows and metrics in columns.

Contrary to some other platforms, YouTube excels in providing precise and reliable information, ensuring the accuracy of the insights you receive. However, it's crucial to note that timing plays a significant role in analyzing your channel's performance. Checking your analytics too early might display data that hasn't been refreshed or validated yet.