A woman adjusts a smartphone on a camera tripod. On the table next to the camera are piles of yarn and unfinished knitwear.
It's impossible to quantify success, but paying attention to data like user traffic and subscriber metrics can give you a good idea of what path your YouTube channel is on. — Getty Images/PixelCatchers

YouTube marketing can help you add new email subscribers, build brand awareness and grow your business. But to maximize your success, you need to be tracking the following metrics.

[Read more: A Quick Guide to Marketing Your Business on YouTube]


When you log into your YouTube account and click on the analytics tab, the first thing you’ll see is your total views. This metric tracks how many people clicked on the link and watched your video.

Your total views stat gives you a high-level picture of how well your videos perform with your target audience. However, just knowing your total views doesn’t tell you how engaged your audience is.

That’s why you’ll want to track the watch time, which is the estimated time users spent viewing your content. It’s an important metric to follow because the higher your watch time is, the more YouTube will feature and recommend your channel.

Traffic sources

Monitoring your traffic sources helps you figure out how new subscribers are finding your videos. It can also help you improve your SEO strategy in the future.

When you view your traffic analytics, you can see a breakdown of your traffic and the percentage generated by each source. Much of your traffic may come directly from YouTube, so you’ll be able to see whether users find your videos via search, suggested videos or the browse pages feature.

You can also see whether people find your channel from external sources, like social media or Google search. Linking your YouTube channel to your other social media profiles can help you optimize your traffic.

[Read more: 3 Expert Strategies for Improving Your SEO]

User demographics

User demographics will give you a sense of who is watching your videos. Tracking this metric will help you determine whether you’re reaching the right audience and influence your content strategy.

When it comes to your audience breakdown, note the age, gender and location of your audience. You may also want to see what type of devices your subscribers use and whether they use subtitles while watching your videos.

Likes and dislikes can turn into vanity metrics, but they can also help you get a sense of what people think of your video.

Audience retention

Audience retention measures how many people continue watching your videos and at what point they stop watching. This metric matters because it can show you what types of content your audience finds the most engaging and what causes them to lose interest.

You can track your audience retention by first selecting the analytics tab, followed by the engagement tab. You can then see how well you retain your audience and compare your metrics to videos of similar length.

When you’re tracking audience retention, you’ll want to pay special attention to the spikes and dips in your videos. A spike means that users either skipped to that part of the video or rewatched it. In comparison, a dip means that the viewer stopped watching altogether.

Total engagement

You’ll want to look at how much engagement you’re receiving on your videos. Likes and dislikes can turn into vanity metrics, but they can also help you get a sense of what people think of your video.

Comments are what give you the clearest picture of how engaged your audience is. If you release a video that receives many likes or dislikes, looking at the comments section can help you understand why.

If you organize your videos into different playlists, it can also help to track which playlists receive the most engagement. This metric can help you see which topics your audience is the most interested in learning about.

[Read more: Tools to Create an Animated Video]


And finally, you’ll want to continue to track your subscriber metrics. According to the YouTube Creator Academy, subscribers watch twice as much video as non-subscribers. So growing your subscriber base is one of the best ways to increase your watch time and get your channel in front of more people.

You can see your total subscriber count in your subscriber count metrics and how those numbers have changed over time. However, it’s also a good idea to track your unique viewers, which is the number of different people who watch your videos.

Tracking your unique viewers can help you see if your audience is growing and how engaged they are. For instance, if your subscriber count is higher than your unique viewers, this means your subscribers aren’t as engaged in your content as they could be.

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