Video Essentials

A YouTube Analytics Tutorial, Part 1: Get to Know YouTube Reports


If you upload videos to YouTube in a business setting, presumably you want those videos watched by a particular target demographic. If successful, perhaps you’ll get all the feedback you need in the form of increased sales or sales leads. More often than not, however, you can learn to fine tune your video messages and the surrounding metadata with a quick trip to YouTube Analytics (YTA), a comprehensive, useful, and free suite of data regarding your YouTube videos and the folks that watch them.

This is the first of two parts of an entry-level tutorial on YTA. In this first part, we’ll show you how to access YTA and present an overview of its reports. In the next, we’ll detail how to access and use the key tools in the Views reports section. Both articles are entry level, so we won’t discuss YTA’s new real-time reports, or any earnings or advertising-related topics.

Getting to YTA

You can use YTA to analyze a single video, a defined group of videos (more later), or all the videos in your channel. How you access YTA depends upon which data points you’re seeking. To access YTA for an entire channel, login to your channel, open Creator Studio and click Analytics in the menu on the left (Figure 1). Or, you can navigate to http://www.youtube.com/analytics and reach the same view. As you can see in the menus beneath the circled Analytics in Figure 1, once selected, YTA provides access to a number of different data views, many of which we’ll cover in this tutorial.

Figure 1. The YTA Overview.

Figure 1. The YTA Overview.

 

As shown on the bottom of Figure 1, in the default view YTA shows data from the top ten videos in terms of views, along with estimated minutes watched and total estimated earnings. On the upper right, you can see that the default data period is 28 days, which you can easily switch to a week, month, quarter, year, lifetime or custom period.

Note that not all data points are available for all the videos on your site. For example, YouTube didn’t start collecting data for average view duration or estimated minutes watched until September 1, 2012. Anytime there’s a limitation in the data supplied, YouTube will let you know — you’ll see several examples of this in the second article in this series. In addition, note that data is updated once a day, so it may differ from values shown on the YouTube watch page for the video, which is updated in real-time.

Back at the top of the YTA interface, immediately to the left of the Duration menu is the Search for Locations list, which allows you to filter your data by country or region. This is straightforward so we won’t discuss it further in this article.

Accessing YTA for a Single Video

You just learned how to access YTA for all videos; what about for a single video? You have multiple options. If you’ve already opened YTA, you can click any video showing in the list on the bottom of the report to analyze that video. Or, you can search for that video in the circled Search for content box on the upper left of Figure 1. Or, if you’re logged in to your YouTube account and already at the YouTube video watch page, you can click Analytics on the lower right of the player (Figure 2), which will open YTA with that video selected (Figure 3).

Figure 2. Accessing YTA for a single video from the YouTube channel page.

Figure 2. Accessing YTA for a single video from the YouTube channel page.

 

Note that at the time of this writing if you clicked Analytics for a YouTube Live event that was converted into an on-demand presentation, you’ll open the real time analytics, not YTA. The only way to access YTA for a converted live event is to open YTA as described above and search for that video in the circled box on the upper left of Figures 1 and 3.

Figure 3. Here’s YTA with a single video selected.

Figure 3. Here’s YTA with a single video selected.

 

Working With Groups

One useful YTA feature is the ability to create groups of videos to analyze en mass, or to compare one group to another (Figure 4). For example, on my website, I have multiple categories of videos, including interviews, test videos, and training/tutorial videos. Grouping them allows me to assess their retention and engagement as a group, and compare them to other groups. Many companies will have videos for marketing, sales, training, and communications. Grouping lets you analyze each group on its own.

Figure 4. Working with groups in YTA.

Figure 4. Working with groups in YTA.

 

To create a group, click the Groups drop down menu on the upper right of Figure 3, and choose Create Video Group (Figure 5). That opens a Create Video Group screen that lets you search for and select the videos for the group. Thereafter, whenever you open the Search for content box on the upper left of Figures 1 and 3, you’ll be able to choose a single video or a group. You can choose the Comparison button shown in Figure 5 to open two videos or two groups (or a video and a group) to perform comparative analysis.

Figure 5. Creating a group in YTA.

Figure 5. Creating a group in YTA.

 

The Big Picture

We’ll conclude this first article with a quick look at YTA’s Overview mode (Figure 6). Starting on the upper left of the graphical report, Performance is the number of views for the selected group (Training/Tutorials on the upper left in Figure 6), the selected video, or all videos, if neither a video nor a group is selected. As shown by the arrows in Figure 6, you can click most boxes in the Overview screen to access data otherwise accessed via the menus on the left.

Anytime you choose a video from the list on the bottom of the Report, you open the report for that particular video. This includes the Overview report shown in Figure 6 and all subsequent reports discussed in Part II of this article.

Figure 6. Here’s the Overview screen.

Figure 6. Here’s the Overview screen.

 

Beyond the overview, YTA is broken into two data groups, Views reports and Engagement reports. The Engagement group covers how viewers interacted with the video, and are generally self-explanatory, so we won’t cover them further. The Views reports supply the raw number of views, along with demographic data, information about where viewers watched the video, how they found the video, and how long they watched. We’ll detail how to access the reports in the Views section and how to use the information presented in the reports in Part II of this tutorial.




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