If you’ve been on YouTube for at least a year now, then you might have heard — or in fact, not heard — that Google has completely severed the connection between YouTube and Google Analytics as of February this year.
What this means is that businesses who were previously tracking their YouTube analytics and data on Google Analytics can now no longer see their channel data appear on the platform.
The transition came without the same fanfare or prepping as, say, Google’s new Core Vitals algorithm update dropping soon, but it still caught many people off-guard.
What does this mean for business owners who used to rely on keeping their website and YouTube data in one place? Well, the obvious one is: you have to get used to a brand new platform — in this case, that’s YouTube Creator Studio.
What are the challenges that have come since this change?
“Google has certainly been making YouTube a priority for creators and especially businesses that rely on their video streaming platform,” shares Ludovic Rembert, founder of PrivacyCanada.
He adds, “They’ve been busy making updates to YouTube Studio, not only its interface but also with including the kind of data you can track and measure. They seem to want YouTube to turn into a complete standalone platform for both creators and businesses, instead of having to let people connect to a third-party tool like Google Analytics.”
On the one hand, it means a dedicated place to track all the data coming into your videos and channel. YouTube is also surely going to consistently improve their built-in analytics, so you can rest assured knowing it’s only going to get better from here.
On the other hand, it might mean getting used to a new interface and platform altogether. It also means finding new ways to track any personalized data that goes through your channel, since you won’t have the exact same features you once had on Google Analytics.
But it doesn’t have to feel like an uphill climb. In this post, we want to help you make the most of the personalized data that you can collect from YouTube’s built-in analytics pages, together with some other effective methods to track any personalized data.
You can then use this data to help you optimize your Youtube channel’s performance and make the most bang for your buck.
Keep reading to discover the best way to monitor your YouTube analytics and learn how you can move beyond the built-in tools YouTube offers to really make your channel shine.
What Youtube Data KPIs Should You Be Tracking?
Let’s first focus on the different data and key performance indicators you should be tracking on your YouTube channel and videos. You’ll get access to a lot of data, so it’s important to prioritize the most important ones first.
Here are 7 of the most important YouTube KPIs you should track if you want to focus on optimizing your channel’s performance.
Demographics are probably the most basic data you can gather about your current YouTube channel’s audience. On YouTube, you can get information like the countries, even cities that most watch your videos.
You can also gather insight about their age range, their most active hours on YouTube watching videos, as well as other channels and videos they’re watching.
Important to note: some of these data points are only available if you have enough subscribers. If you don’t have a big enough audience yet, it’s worth it to keep on promoting your existing videos and channel content until you meet the minimum threshold for YouTube to collect enough data that they can later on show you.
What you can do with demographic data
When you get to track your audience demographics, you can use this data to create better localized content for that audience.
Say your business is based in Europe and your customer base are mostly Europe-based companies and individuals.
If your analytics shows you that you’re getting a lot of views and subscribers from, say, the United States, you can review your existing content and see what might be the reason you’re not getting in front of your ideal demographic.
There will be, of course, several ways to go about fixing this problem.
First, you can create localized content for your European audience. You might be able to do this by creating content that mentions specific countries, cities, or currencies that are around your region.
Or you can go as far as recording videos in a particular language your audience speaks, or adding subtitles in said languages.
Take a look at your demographic data and check whether it aligns with your ideal audience, then make improvements from there.
Traffic Sources is a handy metric you’ll want to keep an eye on. This tells you where people are finding your videos.
They might find them as a suggested video, or via YouTube Search. Perhaps they came from your channel pages, or they found you in a playlist. Or they found you through a completely separate source that wasn’t YouTube — say, your blog or a Facebook post.
Depending on the source, you’ll be able to get more detailed information that shows you where viewers actually came from.
For instance, if you find that your traffic comes mostly from YouTube search, you can click to learn more and see the exact keywords and keyword phrases people used to find your content.
If you see a lot of external sources, click to see exactly what they are. Perhaps it’s your blog that’s referring a ton of views to your YouTube channel. Or an external website embedded your video and is responsible for a ton of new traffic your way.
What you can do with traffic source data
Knowing where your viewers are coming from can help you optimize your channel so that more viewers can come in the same way.
If you’re ranking because of some keywords, look into similar ones that you can then either create fresh videos about or use to optimize your existing videos via tags and video description SEO.
But if you see that you get a healthy amount of external sources, particularly ones you have some kind of control over like a blog, that might move you to embed more of your YouTube videos on your blog pages. Try to embed the most relevant videos on top-performing blog posts, or add a section on your site that shares your YouTube video feed.
Watch Time is a specific metric that shows how long people are staying on your videos. This is measured in both actual time (e.g. seconds, minutes, or even hours) and also in percentage to account for videos of varying lengths.
Needless to say, the higher your watch time percentage, the better. This not only means you’re keeping audiences hooked to the very end of your videos, but it also signals to the YouTube algorithm that people are enjoying your content, and that means it will do its best to recommend your videos to a similar audience.
Watch Time shows you how engaged audiences are. The more level the graph, that means people are choosing to watch until the end of your video instead of dropping off at certain points.
What you can do with watch time data
YouTube has increasingly improved the way channel owners can monitor their watch time. You not only see now much time people actually spend watching each video, but you can now even identify points when viewers are most engaged and when they tend to drop off.
Use this data to help you improve viewer retention on each video. Perhaps you can add more b-roll or experiment with shorter, snappier videos. This might even mean experimenting with different ways of presenting your topics so people are encouraged to stay until the end.
Subscribers are some of the most important data points to track on YouTube because this shows you that people are choosing to opt in to your channel and see more from you.
It’s important to note that just because a channel has a ton of subscribers doesn’t always mean users are actually engaging. You might find some channels on YouTube with nearly 100,000 subscribers but each video only gets a couple hundred of views at a time.
You can also track where your new subscribers are coming from. Did they hit subscribe because of a particular video? Or are most of your subscriptions coming from your channel page?
What you can do with subscriber data
Tracking your subscriber data can show you a few things about your channel and content. First, if you have a video that’s raking in the majority of your new subscribers every single month, you might want to create similar content to this video.
This might also be an opportunity to optimize your channel for when new visitors land there. Can you create dedicated playlists that you then showcase on your channel? This can give new visitors an idea about the type of content you normally create, and that can boost your chances of getting them to subscribe.
Top Videos by End Screen
One of the key features YouTube introduced to keep audiences on their platform — that channel owners can make the most of themselves — are using end screens.
You’ve probably seen plenty of YouTube videos that recommend more videos for you to watch when you’ve hit the end of a certain video, or inviting you to subscribe to the channel.
By tracking your top videos by end screen, you can get to know what related content you’re promoting that your audience might be interested in. YouTube rewards channels that can keep viewers on their platform longer, so this is yet another incentive that gives you better chances of landing on people’s recommended feed.
What you can do with Top Videos by End Screen data
By tracking this metric, you might be able to promote your top videos in more of your end screens. Be sure these recommendations are relevant to your existing videos, of course.
You can try experimenting with end screen call to actions, such as explicitly mentioning what video to watch next, or simply leaving the YouTube “most recommended” setting on to help you figure it out over time.
Top Cards are like the previous metric above, but these don’t only include end cards. YouTube gives you the opportunity to add cards in the middle of your videos, and they show up as small pop-ups that appear on the corner of the screen.
They’re less intrusive than having a full-sized end card, and they’re great for telling people that you might have done videos on a particular topic already. This is also a chance to link to other channels and videos that aren’t yours, which again is a good way to keep people on the platform and get rewarded by YouTube.
What you can do with Top Card data
Top Cards might be your top performing cards for a reason. It could be because of the specific teaser text you put in, or it could be because you specifically called people’s attention to it during your video.
Either way, get to know what these top cards are, and then see why they’re performing well. This can then tell you how to optimize your existing cards on other videos, or help you create more clickable cards in future ones.
Finally, if you monetize your videos, then revenue is another important metric you’ll want to track. Many factors will affect your YouTube revenue, including but not limited to the following:
- Where most of your traffic is coming from. If you get more video views from the Third World, for example, your revenue will be less compared to a video with the exact same views with traffic coming from more developed countries. This is because adspend varies per region, and if you’re attracting audiences from a less developed country, advertisers from that same region are paying less.
- Your chosen niche. Different topics can attract different kinds of advertisers, who are also paying YouTube different amounts to show their ads. Channels that talk a lot about business and finance, for example, might get more revenue than, say, a vlogging channel.
- The length of your videos. If you have longer videos, YouTube might show more ads in the middle of your videos than they might a shorter video.
What you can do with revenue data
When you look deeper into your revenue analytics on YouTube, you can figure out just who is watching your videos as well as the types of ads that you’re earning most from. You can use the data from your top-earning videos to see what other types of related videos to create in the future, as well as how ads might be affecting other metrics we mention here, including Watch Time.
How to Collect and Monitor Youtube Personalized Data
Now that you understand which metrics are the most important to keep an eye on, you can now move on to different ways to collect and monitor these different data points. We’ll talk about the simplest methods first, followed up by some other ways you can monitor your YouTube channel if you’re on different platforms.
1. Check Your Youtube Creator Studio Analytics
The easiest way to check your YouTube personalized data? YouTube Creator Studio.
This compiles most of the data you’ll need to create better videos and check the performance of your existing ones.
YouTube’s dashboard is complete with familiar filtering features and options that you might have been used to with Google Analytics. You’re able to track sources, infer the path viewers took before becoming subscribers, and more.
2. Make the Links in Your Description Trackable
Just like any platform, YouTube can’t really tell you if people are clicking on the links in your video descriptions. This is where simple solutions like link shorteners can actually help.
By using link shortener tools like Bit.ly or TinyURL, you can make every single video description link trackable.
Let’s take this example above, based on this video by Wave Apps. In their YouTube video descriptions, they have shortened links to their testimonials and products in their descriptions.
On the backend of Bit.ly, you might name these links “YT Testimonial Rosedale” or “YT Rosedale Customer Stories” to indicate where you put these links. (Use any name that will help you determine where you want to put and track them.)
This way, if someone clicks on the link they named YT Rosedale Customer Stories, Wave Apps can see on their Bit.ly dashboard that people are coming from this particular testimonial video.
Do the same for each of the links you want to track.
3. Your Opt-In Forms
Say a new customer heard about you because of your YouTube channel. It might be hard to tell with the current analytics on the platform.
Instead, a very simple fix is creating a radio button or checkbox that new leads and customers can check to let you know how they first heard about you. In your form, include the question, “How did you hear about us?” then include YouTube as one of the options.
You won’t get the exact details about which specific video might have introduced your brand to your customer, but it’s still a start. If you notice enough people answering YouTube, then you’ll know to keep up your channel growth strategies.
4. Referral Traffic Sources
Did people learn about your YouTube channel through your website, or perhaps a third-party forum site like Reddit? Fortunately for you, these sites can come up as referral traffic sources in your YouTube analytics pages.
Keep an eye on the top referrers. Maybe you’re even getting traffic from third party sites, such as Quora or Reddit. Take note of these, as they might be able to help you refine your YouTube growth strategy over time.
5. Invest in Social Media Listening Platforms
Finally, you’ll want to do some social listening on social media platforms like Twitter or Facebook to see if people might be talking about your brand and YouTube channel.
Track any social mentions about you, and check if people are talking about your videos on YouTube. This could be a good way to see if your content is shareable, what type of videos to keep making that also get shares, and what exactly viewers are saying when they share your work.
Monitoring your YouTube personalized data doesn’t have to be confusing. Use this article to help you identify exactly which data and metrics are the most important for optimizing your channel’s performance, and then tweak your promotion strategy and video production methods as you go. Note that it can take a little while before you start seeing drastic results, but your consistency will be rewarded as long as you keep publishing high value videos and testing new ways to grow.