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Video Marketing? What You Need to Know About YouTube Analytics

Find out who's watching your videos, what's working and what you can do to attract more viewers.

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The following excerpt is from Jason R. Rich’s book Ultimate Guide to YouTube for Business. Buy it now from Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | IndieBound

Promoting individual YouTube videos or a YouTube channel requires an ongoing commitment of time and human resources, and potentially some money as well. It's the only way to build and sustain an audience. However, once you develop a dedicated audience for your first few videos and those people become subscribers to your channel, getting them to watch future videos will be much easier. When you reach this point, your goals then include retaining your existing subscribers while continuously seeking out new subscribers.

Be sure to track the results as carefully as possible so you can determine what's working, what's not working, and what efforts need to be fine-tuned to achieve better results. One way to do this is with YouTube Analytics, which is a free, online toolset you get when you set up your YouTube channel. These tools can help you track, in real time, information about who's watching your videos. Additional, and in some cases, more powerful traffic and viewership tracking tools are offered by third parties for a fee, or are provided when you take advantage of online paid advertising to promote your videos.

To learn more about YouTube Analytics and how to use these free tools to analyze the audience for your videos, visit The data provided by YouTube Analytics can help you plan and execute successful video marketing strategies. Google and Yahoo are constantly upgrading these free tools and adding new functionality. For example, in addition to quickly determining who is watching your videos, where they're from, and how they're engaging with your videos, you can now track their quality of engagement and see if people are clicking out of your videos before they're over, and if so, exactly when. Knowing this, you can go back and fine-tune your videos in order to prevent people from exiting out of them early.

Related: How to Use Video to Reach Customers (Video)

To access YouTube Analytics, you must first create a YouTube channel and populate it with at least one video. Once you've logged into your YouTube account, click on the "Video Manager" button (or select the "Video Manager" menu option). Next, click on the "Analytics" tab that's displayed near the top-center of the screen.

Initially, you'll see the "Analytics Overview Report," which displays information about traffic pertaining to your YouTube channel page over the past 30 days. At the same time, the display shows information about your channel's top 10 most viewed videos and provides basic demographic information about your audience in terms of where they accessed YouTube from. From the "Overview Report," you'll also discover how people found your video(s).

This information is useful for tracking the effectiveness of ads, search engine listings, publicity generated about your videos, and other promotional activities. You can also download YouTube Analytics data in a spreadsheet format by clicking on a button that's located near the top-right corner of any "Analytics" screen.

To see specific Analytics information about a particular video on your YouTube channel page, use the "Content" field that's displayed near the top of the "Overview" page. More detailed information about where your viewers are coming from can be obtained by clicking on the "Geography" field, to the right of the "Content" field. By clicking on the "Date" field, you can view data based on a specific date range that you select.

Related: YouTube Success: Tracking Your Video Performance

From the "Overview Report," and from subsequent screens within YouTube Analytics, you can click on any data to display more detailed or specific information. For example, while viewing the "Overview Report," try clicking on any of the "Performance," "Engagement," "Top 10 Videos," "Demographics," or "Discovery" data boxes, as well as the "Content," "Geography," and "Date Range" fields.

Under the "Overview" heading that's displayed along the left margin of the screen, you'll see a handful of menu commands that can be clicked on to view additional reports, data, and information pertaining to the views and traffic associated with your YouTube channel page and/or individual videos.

If you don't want to invest further time tracking your efforts and figuring out what worked and what didn't, there are companies you can hire to assist with these tasks. For example, a service called BrandSights from TubeMogul offers fee-based tools that go beyond what YouTube Analytics offers and help you measure things like brand awareness, message recall, favorability, and purchase intent.  

Related: How to Find the Right Social-Media Platform (Video)

Jason R. Rich

Written By

Jason R. Rich, based in Foxboro, Mass., is author of more than 55 books on topics including ecommerce, online marketing, digital photography and interactive entertainment, as well as the Apple iPhone and iPad.