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How You Should Be Tracking Metrics on YouTube

YouTube is the world’s second largest search engine. As of June 2014, YouTube has overtaken Facebook to be the topmost social media site in the world. It’s time to set aside some of that marketing budget that you would spend on Facebook and use it on YouTube instead. Engaging audience on YouTube is just as complicated and important as engaging them with your design or talking to them on Twitter.

A key aspect of gathering video views and engaging your audience on YouTube is that it varies from industry to industry. It’s easy for a music video to get thousands of views but you may get just 500 odd views for the social media tutorial you made. To get views you have to find out what works best for your audience — and be smart about it. Make a way to be original and then keep adding quality videos on a regular basis.

Little by little, things will add up. But if you don't want to be lost, you need to measure your reach somehow. How do you do that?

The YouTube Dashboard

Your journey to tracking metrics and gaining insight on videos begins here.

As you can see, there are a lot of options here. Views, demographics, playback locations, traffic sources, etc. are located on the left sidebar. That can show you how your videos perform. Is it enough though? No.

Finding engaged views in a target demographic

The dashboards gives only a general, vague idea about how a video performs. To get a better understanding, we need to see how well exactly the audience is engaged. It’s not obvious. Seeing the engaged views statistic is not directly possible. However, there is one small workaround.

Engaged views = Views for a specific video x Average percentage viewed for that video x Demographic viewer percent

Find the Demographics tab on YouTube Dashboard. Click on it and download the CSV report. Open it in Excel and you'll see something like this:

youtube metrics

The next step is finding the average viewer percentage. Here, it’s located in the F-column. Viewer percentage can be viewed on the basis of the audience demographic (B and C column) that you wish to see the metrics for. For example, take viewers in the 18 to 24 year old age group.If you have two or more countries, add together the viewership percentage in this age group and divide by the number of countries present. Since here we have India and an unknown country, the number of countries will be 2.

I have targeted the 18-24 age-group as an example here. So the values will be — 2.4, 73 and 72.4((2nd , 6th and 8th rows). Add the values together and divide by 2. The demographic viewer percent comes to be 73.9 (after the calculations).

Now, go to the Audience retention tab and click on it.

youtube tracking

Go to the Compare Metric tab and select "views" from the drop-down menu. A table with all videos and their views count will be displayed. Note down number of views and the average percentage of the video you're interested in. In my case, the most watched video has 15,657 views with 35% of it being watched.

Then, convert the percentages into decimal values and put the values into the equation for engaged views. In other words multiply the three values together.

My most popular video rate for engaged views is 4049.68, which shows that less than a quarter of my targeted demographic is really engaged. I need to work on my video-making skills.

Check the backlinks to your video


Click on the Playback Locations button to get a list of sites where your videos are embedded. You can also see the number of views that each site has contributed. Not even Ahrefs Site Explorer & Backlink Checker can show that! It comes in handy a lot of times and can make you think about and come up with cool new ways of engaging with your audience. Where your videos are popular? And where not so much?

Now, let’s have a look at another advanced tool out of the dashboard.

Track YouTube videos by the hour

If you have a video going viral and want to see the number of views gained per hour, VidIQ can come in handy. There you can even see the keywords that are bringing you views, which is pretty awesome.

metric tracking

VidIQ also have a Chrome extension that makes tracking video views even easier.

Share your thoughts!

What do you think of YouTube marketing? How it should change now that YouTube has surpassed Facebook? Do you think that marketing videos will be difficult in future? There are a lot of questions left to be answered.

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