How to Use YouTube Channel Analytics to Grow Your Audience

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Growing your YouTube channel is a challenge, especially as a new creator still finding your footing. 

How can you pinpoint the best strategies to give you a boost? What type of content will help you go viral? And what works well in the videos you’ve created so far? 

YouTube channel analytics can provide the answers to all these questions – and much more. 

Here’s how to leverage YouTube analytics to grow your audience

Quick Facts

  • YouTube Channel Analytics gives you statistics on your videos and audience.
  • Video retention, demographics, click-through rate (CTR) and discovery are key metrics.
  • These numbers are highly useful for your video content strategy.

Keep reading for the full scoop!

Contents

youtube channel analytics,analytics grow audience

What Is YouTube Channel Analytics?

So what is YouTube channel analytics, exactly?

“Analytics” is a pretty broad term. Basically, it’s a set of metrics – of statistically calculated numbers – that tells you more about a variable you’re interested in. In the case of your YouTube channel, useful metrics are your audience retention, like-dislike ratio and CTR (Click-Through-Rate). 

More concretely, YouTube Channel Analytics is also a major feature of YouTube Creator Studio. Here, you’ll find all the relevant metrics to tell you all you need to know about the performance of your YouTube channel, and of each individual video you uploaded.  

But how can you leverage these metrics to grow your audience? 

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How Can You Grow Your YouTube Channel With Analytics?

The secret to growing your audience with YouTube channel analytics is to know which metrics matter most, to your viewers and the YouTube algorithm. 

To save time – and nerves – many creators will hand much of this off to a YouTube channel manager or other team members. However, it pays to know what the most important numbers are, and what has the largest impact on them.

Here are four sets of metrics you can focus on to give your channel a serious growth boost:

  • Video retention
  • Audience demographics
  • Click-through-rate
  • Content discovery

Let’s now talk about them in more detail!

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Check Out Video Retention Rates

First off, there are video retention rates. For each video you upload, you can access a graph that will tell you exactly how many percent of the people who started watching your video were still around at any point during it. 

It’s normal to have a big drop-off in the first 30 seconds of any of your videos. Usually, more than half of the people who click on your clip in search results or recommendations will discover that it’s not their cup of tea, and back out. 

What happens after that, though, is up to the quality of your content. By looking at the retention rates throughout your video, you’ll be able to pinpoint exactly which parts of the videos your viewers watched (and rewatched) and where people noped out. This will help you find the key moments for audience retention

It’s these crucial moments that you want to focus on. They will help you identify which parts of your existing content your viewers found most engaging – and what they want more of in future videos. 

Conversely, you might also find that there are specific things in your videos that turn them off.

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A fairly typical video retention graph from YouTube Studio. Most leave after a few seconds. Some sections attract more viewers.
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Dive Into Your Audience Demographics

Next up, you should dive deep into your audience demographics. There are quite a few different questions you can find answers to:

  • How many of your viewers are returning viewers?
  • How many are watching your content for the first time? 
  • When are they active on YouTube? 
  • Where are they based? 
  • What’s their age and gender? 
  • What other channels do they watch on YouTube?

All this information can give you invaluable insights about what kind of content to produce and when to upload it. 

Vitally, you’ll be able to tell if you’re reaching your target audience, as long as you outlined this in your YouTube strategy. 

Say you’re a US-based creator in the fitness niche. You want to grow your US and UK audience to get sponsorships from brands based in these countries. However, audience demographics tell you that the majority of your viewers currently come from India. 

Conclusion? You’ll have to adjust your content to resonate more with audiences in North America and Europe. 

Another handy bit of information is when your audience is active on YouTube. This can help you get your upload times right.

Why does it matter when you upload your videos? The more engagement you get immediately after you upload new content, the more likely it is that it will get picked up by the YouTube algorithm

That means launching new videos on days and at times when your audience is online and active! 

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Optimize Your Thumbnails With CTR Data

Another crucial element that can supercharge your audience growth are your YouTube thumbnails. And YouTube channel analytics will help you optimize them. 

Your thumbnails have a major impact on whether people click on your videos when they show up in recommendations or search results. An eye-catching, clickable thumbnail can be the key to going viral. 

In fact, statistics show that videos with custom-tailored thumbnails have significantly higher view counts than those with auto-generated ones! Among the most successful clips, 9 in 10 have a custom thumbnail.

But how can you assess the success of a thumbnail? That’s where YouTube channel analytics comes in! 

Here, two metrics are key: impressions and click-through-rates (CTR)

Impressions tells you how many people saw your video thumbnail, whether in their suggestions or search results. CTR tells you what share of them actually decided to click on it.

The higher your CTR, the better your thumbnails performed. High impressions but low CTR? You should try polishing those thumbnails!

In the same vein, you should choose a good title. The first few seconds of your video are also important because they’ll appear in YouTube’s video previews. However, users have to show interest first – say, by hovering over the thumbnail.

Nate Black analyzed thousands of top-performing thumbnails a few months ago to see what works today.

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Pinpoint How Viewers Find Your Content

Another incredibly useful part of YouTube channel analytics that will help you grow your audience – how your viewers found your content.

YouTube channel analytics will help you check out how many people arrived from their recommendations, from searches on YouTube, or from Google searches. 

So what do these content discovery figures tell you? 

It’s not usual for the majority of your viewers to come from recommendations. If that share is much higher for some videos, though, they might not do well in searches

If that’s the case, you should carefully review your video title and description. Do they both represent your video content and help YouTube’s algorithm index it properly? 

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Leverage YouTube's Own Research Tool

Finally, the Analytics tab in YouTube Studio offers another handy tool to grow your channel.

YouTube’s own research tool is a powerful ally when it comes to content research. The new update allows you to explore the top searches related to your topics, providing valuable insights.

You can examine how other creators design their thumbnails, identify content gaps in your niche, and develop your content and ideas around them.

This tool is invaluable for staying ahead of trends and creating engaging content that resonates with your audience.

The Bottom Line

YouTube’s Channel Analytics are a treasure trove of data. By digging into metrics like audience retention, viewer demographics, click-through rates, and how they discover your content, you can fine-tune your content strategy, from video topics and formats to upload timing and thumbnailing.

Leveraging YouTube analytics is a fantastic way to check out how your content is doing today, and to find ways of taking your channel to the next level tomorrow. 

Does all of this still sound overwhelming? Or like too much work? We got your back. Instead of digging into analytics yourself, you can hire a YouTube channel manager to do it for you! 

Your personal channel manager will take a deep-dive into your channel metrics to unearth successful content patterns and opportunities for growth. Get started today! 

FAQs

YouTube channel analytics describes a set of metrics – statistically calculated numbers – that give you information about the performance of your channel and of every single video you’ve uploaded.

CTR stands for click-through rate. It tells you what percentage of people who saw your video in their recommendations or search results actually clicked on it.

You can boost your retention rates by analyzing which sections of your existing videos do well in terms of retention, and where you lose viewers. This lets you pinpoint which parts of your content really resonate with your audience. In general, structuring your video script so you’ve got a hook every few minutes is a handy way to keep people glued to the screen.

Key moments for audience retention are points in your YouTube video that help capture your viewers’ attention and keep them engaged. You can check them out in YouTube channel analytics and use them to help you craft amazing content for the future.

To check out your YouTube analytics, click on your profile thumbnail and go to YouTube Studio. In YouTube Studio, you’ll be able to see the analytics tab in the menu on the left. You can also access some of that data with the YouTube Studio mobile app.

Authors

  • Alex Lefkowitz

    Alex Lefkowitz is the founder and CEO of Tasty Edits. He's an experienced video editor, having edited hundreds of videos for dozens creators before turning to entrepreneurship and launching his own video editing company. Since then, he has directly managed thousands of video and thumbnail orders. Now, he draws on his experience working with professional creators to write about video editing, the creator economy, and video marketing. You can also read his work on Hackernoon and Medium. Plus, he's contributed several expert opinions in interviews and articles as a guest on platforms like Jotform.

  • Esteban Ramos

    Esteban Ramos is a full-time YouTube channel manager. He has worked with dozens of high-profile and up-and-coming creators to grow their channels through strategic YouTube SEO and personalized recommendations. Videography and cinema are also his personal passions. In his free time, he hosts a Spanish-language movie podcast.