If you look for YouTube Analytics on Google or on any other search engine, you will find tons of articles that show you what each link in the YouTube Analytics page does. Here is one example of such guide. While they have their value in helping those who are just starting to use the platform, they fall short of offering real insight into how to work with the data to get more information than what is being shown to you.
If you already have a considerable number of followers on YouTube, you are definitely not looking for basic guides. This is where this particular article comes in handy: this is not a simple “going-through-every-single-link” piece of content. We’ve hand-picked the most important statistics, and we will show you to combine them to obtain unique insights into your audience behavior. We will briefly explain what each metric shows, but our focus is on how to use them in innovative ways to better understand your audience.
YouTube Analytics Demographics & Playback Locations
Crafting the Perfect Target Audience
YouTube demographics and YouTube playback locations are two distinct metrics that are usually misunderstood. Despite having a big overlapping area, in YouTube Analytics they are different in nature and, when combined, can offer very interesting insights into your viewers.
YouTube Demographics talk directly about your audience: where they are from, how old they are, what is their gender, among other indicators. YouTube’s Playback Locations, on the other hand, shows the places where your videos are being watched and the websites that are embedding your content.
So how can these two metrics be combined to understand the profile of your audience and create detailed marketing personas?
Why are Playback Locations Important?
First of all, it is important to understand that a complete profile of your target market has two components: demographic characteristics and psychological traits. The first one is well addressed by the demographic statistics available on the platform. The second (and the most important one), however, is not readily accessible.
This is where the Playback Locations come into play in YouTube Analytics. By looking at who is sharing your videos, you can understand much better the type of content that attracts your audience. If your channel is about online courses for creating websites, and the places that share your video offer a bunch of “how-to” guides to their audience, you already know that you have higher chances of getting your content shared if you produce a series of “how-to” videos. This process can be applied to whichever content focus your channel had.
How to Combine both Metrics for Better Insights
In our previous article about creating personas for e-commerce stores, we covered the entire process of how to precisely define the characteristics of your personas. The insights we are offering here are applicable mostly to the first and the second steps, where you collect data about your current audience and define their market segment.
Another possibility you might want to explore is to double-check if the target audience you already established matches with the people watching your videos. If your strategy focuses on people in between 18 and 27 years, from the United States, and you are being watched by people in between 30 and 40 years, in Europe, your content strategy (and, more importantly, your targeting techniques) might need a complete transformation.
And for those who really want to dig deep into how to use YouTube statistics to automatically generate personas, we recommend this very interesting scientific article (yes, a bit more complicated than the ones you normally find on the internet, but yet very insightful) about the topic.
Audience Retention & Annotation CTR in YouTube Analytics
Adapting Your Content Based on the Reaction of Your Audience
Audience Retention gives an overview of how your audience behaves in each of your videos. It shows the total watching time, as well as the average view duration. While this is useful for identifying general trends, we recommend checking the Absolute Audience Retention metric, a moment-to-moment analysis of your number of views.
The Annotations feature provide a great way of taking your audience to other resources you might want them to watch or read. The Annotations CTR provides you a good, straightforward way of seeing whether they are interacting with your links by showing you the click-through-rate of your annotations.
Identifying the Type of Content that Works and Optimizing the Length of Your Videos
There are three patterns hidden in the Audience Retention metric. The first two ones relate to the type of content you are offering, and the third one relates to identifying the ideal length of your video.
Sharp Drop at the Beginning of the Video
If this happens, there is probably a gap between what you promise on your headline or promotional ads and what you deliver in the video. As soon as the visitors notice it, they leave your video.
Sharp Drop at the Middle of the Video
If this happens, the gap is likely to be between the expectation of the audience and what you are actually delivering. What happens here is that you deliver the content promised on your headline, but you deliver it inefficiently. The user watches the video for a few minutes, hoping it will get better, but leaves the page when he/she notices it will not meet their expectations.
Sharp Drop towards the End of the Video
The sharp drop at the end is a clear indicator that your video is too long. The user is thinking something along the lines of “well, I’ve obtained what I wanted… Time to move on.” The advice is straightforward: don’t spend your resources on making longer videos if you can communicate your message in shorter ones. Instead, focus your efforts on making more content that talks about different, interesting topics for your audience.
Creating an Effective Strategy for a Higher Annotation CTR
Do not put annotations at the beginning of your videos. The only exception to this rule is when you have a more recent version of your content, and you want to make sure your users watch it instead of the outdated video. Apart from that, try to avoid annotations during the first minute because they drastically reduce the reliability of your channel. If your audience starts watching your video just to see a bunch of annotations promoting content from your website or from third-parties, they are very likely to abandon the video at its initial stage.
Ideally, you should add one or two clear annotations towards the end of your content. By adding it to the end of your video, only those users that are really interested in your content will reach it, drastically increasing the chances of obtaining higher CTRs. Not only that, but a low number of annotations will show that you are interested in actually providing value instead of just spamming advertisement.
YouTube & Google Analytics – Integrating both Platforms for Maximum User Information
Last but not least, it is highly recommendable to integrate your YouTube and your Google Analytics account. The combination of these two platforms can give you a deeper understanding of your audience because Google Analytics tracks more metrics related to website traffic than YouTube does.
Why is Google Analytics Relevant for Your YouTube Channel?
Google Analytics is one of the most famous and widespread tools for tracking user behavior on a website. The four main categories of data that the platform collects are the acquisition of visitors (how they arrived at your pages), the behavior of your users (how they interact on your website), the conversion of users into leads, and the demographic and psychographic profile of your audience.
While the YouTube metrics focus on the analysis of your videos and the interaction between them and your audience, Google Analytics offers more insights into the process before and after someone watches your content.
How to Connect Your YouTube Channel to Your Analytics Account
Connecting both tools is fairly straightforward (we wouldn’t expect the opposite since both are owned by Google), so all you need to have is a user account in both applications.
- The first step is to find your Google Analytics Tracking ID. This information can be found in the account > property section of your Analytics Admin panel. Just click on “Tracking Info” and you should be able to find the code. If you have any problems, here is the step-by-step by Google.
- The second step is to go to your YouTube channel and access your Advanced Settings page.
- The final step is to simply copy and paste your Google Analytics Tracking ID into the “Google Analytics property tracking” field at the bottom of your Settings page.
And that’s all! You are good to go. It might take a while for the integration to start working and feeding data into the Analytics panel, but it shouldn’t take long. Very soon you will be able to get great new insights as a result of this integration.
Need help with YouTube Analytics? Let us know in the comments!