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Youtube Metrics: 6 Critical Metrics You Should Look For

Youtube Metrics: 6 Critical Metrics You Should Look For

YouTube analytics play a key role in boosting your video's performance. Learn about critical metrics to look out for and optimize your content to enhance your reach.
What we'll cover

Did you know online videos capture the attention of over 90% of internet users worldwide? With 2.1 billion monthly active users, YouTube dominates the video landscape. 

Approximately 70% of what people watch on YouTube is determined by an algorithm. To be successful, you'll need to leverage this recommendation algorithm. That means you’ll need to track your video analytics.

Maekersuite’s YouTube Analytics provides in-depth insights into your channel's performance. It helps you understand your viewer's behavior, preferences and engagement, allowing you to make data-driven decisions. 

If the thought of studying metrics overwhelms you, don't worry, we’ve created this handy guide. We’ll break down the critical YouTube analytics metrics, simplify YouTube analytics data and help you harness its power to enhance your chances of success.

a man on the right holding out his right hand with line and bar graphs on the left

What We'll Cover: 

Subscriber Growth

Subscriber growth is a strong indicator of your channel's popularity and the loyalty of your YouTube audience. When viewers hit the 'subscribe' button, it shows they find your content compelling and valuable enough to want more. 

a youtube icon with bell icon on the upper right

Monitoring subscriber growth trends can provide insights into how your YouTube video performance has changed over time. A consistent upward trend signifies that your channel successfully attracts and retains viewers. But, if you notice slow or stagnant subscriber growth, it's a signal to reassess your content strategy.

Subscribers count as your core audience. They’re more likely to watch your new videos, comment, like, and share your content. So, having more subscribers can lead to higher channel performance.

Here’s what you can do to increase your channel’s subscriber base: 

  • Focus on creating engaging, high-quality content that resonates with your target audience. 
  • Maintain a consistent posting schedule so your subscribers know when to expect new content. 
  • Promote your channel on other social media platforms to reach a wider audience. 
  • Offer incentives like contests or exclusive content. 

Here’s how you can get more information on subscribers in YouTube Studio:

Analytics > Audience > Subscribers

Unique Viewers

The unique viewers metric provides an understanding of the true reach of your videos. 

But it’s important to understand - what are unique viewers on YouTube?

This data point represents the number of individual YouTube users who watch your YouTube video, irrespective of the number of times they view it. This differs from total views, which count every view, even from the same user watching a video several times.

Understanding your unique viewers allows you to gauge the breadth of your audience and see how far your content is spreading. If you're reaching a high number of unique viewers, it means your videos are being discovered and viewed by a broad range of people.

tv with antenna graphic icon with play button at the center

Increasing your unique viewers requires tactics to attract new audiences. These include: 

  • Optimize your video titles and thumbnails to make them more enticing and easily discoverable. 
  • Use relevant keywords and tags in your video description to help your video appear in YouTube search results and related video suggestions. 

The more appealing and discoverable your content is, the more unique viewers you're likely to attract.

Here’s how you can get more information on unique viewers in YouTube Studio:

Analytics > Audience > Unique viewers

Watch Time

Watch time is a significant metric, acting as a gauge of both audience engagement and quality. It's defined as the cumulative time that viewers spend watching your videos. The longer your watch time, the better your content keeps viewers engaged.

a loading icon on the upper left, red play button at the center and clock timer the bottom righte

The YouTube algorithm emphasizes watch time when ranking videos. If the audience watches a video for a long time, it signals that the content is valuable and captivating. It encourages YouTube to recommend your videos more frequently in YouTube search results and 'suggested videos' that drive more traffic to your own channel.

Here are seven ways to increase your watch time:

  • Focus on compelling storytelling and clear, concise content delivery.
  • Keep viewers engaged from start to finish with captivating introductions.
  • Provide valuable information or entertainment throughout the video.
  • Craft strong conclusions that leave a lasting impression.
  • Avoid excessive ads or interruptions that can disrupt the viewing experience.
  • Prompt your viewers to watch another related video at the end of each video.
  • Ensure a seamless flow between videos to keep viewers on your channel longer.

Employing these tactics can help optimize your content for maximum watch time. It directly contributes to your channel's growth and success.

Here’s how you can get more information on watch time in YouTube Studio:

Analytics > Overview > Watch Time


Video engagement metrics, such as likes, comments, and shares, are vital in measuring audience interaction on YouTube. Each metric offers a different insight into how your audience connects with your content.

  • Likes are an immediate, simple way for viewers to express their appreciation for a video. A high number of likes often correlates with content quality and audience satisfaction. 
  • Comments provide deeper YouTube insights into your viewers' thoughts and opinions that create a sense of community. They also offer valuable feedback for content improvement. 
  • Shares indicate that your content resonated enough for viewers to recommend it to others. 
a mobile phone at the center background with red play button, heart and thumbs up icons

High engagement signals to YouTube's algorithm that your video is valuable, increasing visibility in the search and recommendation sections.

Here are five strategies that help you increase engagement: 

  • Include clear call-to-actions in your videos.
  • Encourage viewers to like, comment, share, or subscribe to your channel.
  • Make it a point to respond to comments regularly.
  • Create a sense of community and appreciation among your audience.
  • Generate content that encourages audience participation, such as polls or Q&As.

These strategies can significantly enhance engagement and interaction on your YouTube channel.

Here’s how you can get more information on engagement in YouTube Studio:

Analytics > Engagement > Likes (vs. Dislikes) > See More

Traffic Sources

Traffic sources in YouTube channel analytics reveal how viewers are finding your videos. These include YouTube searches, suggested videos, external websites, and social media platforms.

  • YouTube searches represent views from the platform's search feature. High visibility here signifies good SEO optimization. 
  • Suggested videos refer to views from video recommendations, indicating that YouTube's algorithm deems your content relevant. 
  • External websites and social media reflect your video's reach beyond YouTube, showcasing your promotional efforts' effectiveness.
a line graph and bar graph on the left and traffic lights graphical icon on the right

Understanding these sources can help you strategically tailor your content and marketing tactics to reach your target audience. For instance, 

  • Search engine optimization can enhance visibility in YouTube searches. 
  • Crafting engaging content boosts your chances of appearing in suggested videos. 
  • Sharing content on relevant external websites and social media platforms can expand your reach.
  • Collaborating with other creators can enhance visibility by bringing in their audience. 

You can analyze and utilize these traffic sources to attract a broader audience and grow your YouTube channel.

Here’s how you can get more information on traffic sources in YouTube Studio:

Analytics > Audience > Subscribers > See more > Traffic Source

Audience Retention

Audience retention is a key metric that measures YouTube video performance and viewer interest. It's defined as the average percentage of the video that viewers watch before they stop.

When you've gathered sufficient data, YouTube provides two types of audience retention reports: absolute and relative retention.

  • Absolute retention shows how long viewers typically stay watching your videos. It's a graph displaying viewer engagement over the course of each video.
  • Relative retention compares your video's viewer retention to all other YouTube videos of similar length. This gives you an idea of how your video performs against other channels on the platform.

Audience retention is crucial because YouTube prioritizes videos with high audience retention rates in its search and recommendation algorithm, providing more visibility and reach.

a man sitting on a desk in front of a monitor and on his back is youtube graphic page

To improve audience retention, you should:

  • Start with a hook: Capture your viewers' attention immediately.
  • Maintain a steady pace: Keep your content engaging and avoid unnecessary lulls to prevent viewer drop-off.
  • Use visual aids: These can help clarify complex points and keep the audience engaged.

Understanding and improving audience retention can significantly enhance your YouTube channel's performance and visibility.

Here’s how you can get more information on audience retention in YouTube Studio:

Analytics > Engagement > Audience retention

Final Thoughts

Understanding and monitoring key YouTube metrics is essential for successful content optimization and channel growth. The six primary metrics we discussed are:

  • Subscriber growth indicates your channel's popularity and viewer loyalty.
  • Unique viewers reflect the reach of your content.
  • Watch time represents audience engagement and content quality.
  • Engagement metrics like likes, comments, and shares showcase audience interaction.
  • Traffic sources reveal how viewers discover your videos.
  • Audience retention measures viewer interest and the relevance of your content.

Applying these YouTube analytic metrics to your content creation strategy can boost your chances of success.

Take action now and harness the power of YouTube analytics metrics for your channel's growth. Sign up on Maekersuite and start using AI-generated ideas for improved YouTube performance. 

For additional insights into YouTube content creation and audience engagement, visit the Maekersuite blog. Don't just create; create smarter, and let the power of YouTube analytics guide your journey to YouTube success.

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