5 Key Metrics to Start and Grow Your YouTube Channel
When starting a YouTube channel, an all too common habit is to look at successful YouTube channels and feel intimidated by the many videos featured on a channel’s home page – all boasting high view counts and a massive subscriber base. As long as you compare your channel with a well-established channel, you may continue to feel frustrated when you realize that your channel is much smaller than your competitor’s. Instead of focusing on the obvious comparison points, you should look at these 5 key metrics that will help you grow your channel.
1. Average View Duration
The heart of your YouTube channel is the catalog of videos you create for it. You may think that you have created a masterpiece (and maybe you have!), but, ultimately, you need to ensure that your videos are being viewed. Measure the viewership of your videos by focusing on the average view duration. This metric calculates the total watch time of your video divided by the total number of video plays it receives. This gives you a general idea of how long viewers, on average, are viewing your videos. In this case, you want to see a high average view duration relative to the total length of the video.
2. Total Average Watch Time
Similar to the above-mentioned metric, you should be aware of the average total watch time for all of your videos. Naturally, you will want to see a high total average watch time, indicating that your videos are engaging for viewers and that they are sticking around for longer periods of time when watching your catalog.
3. Impressions Click-Through Rate
You’ve gone through the hard work of producing and uploading a video to your channel, carefully making sure it is optimized to the fullest, but now you need to know how often someone is actually clicking on your video’s thumbnail to view it. This is where the Impressions Click-Through Rate comes in handy. Anytime your video is presented before someone (either as a search result, an advertisement, a suggested video, etc.) an impression is gained for that video. Impressions are only half of the equation though and do not provide enough insight into the success of your video.
By observing the Impressions Click-Through Rate, you will see the frequency in which someone makes the decision to watch your video – the higher the number, the more often an impression leads to a view. Pair this metric with Average Watch Time to see if your thumbnail (or title or description) is clickbait – if you have a decent Impressions Click Through Rate but low Average Watch Time, then viewers are clicking on your video but quickly clicking off of it, often due to them realizing the video content is not what they were looking for.
4. Traffic Sources
While YouTube is the host for your videos, you can easily track what traffic sources are contributing to your view count. It is important to do this if you are sharing access to your videos on other social media channels. Say, for example, you create a new video and want to share it on Facebook – doing so could expose a new audience to your YouTube channel. You will definitely want to track the success of this strategy; fortunately, YouTube makes that easy for you. You can easily view the traffic sources for your videos alongside all the other metrics, breaking down exactly where your viewers are coming from when they happen to find your video.
5. Subscriber Count
Last but not least, you will want to monitor your subscriber count – at the end of the day, your goal should be to increase the size of your dedicated audience. There are many ways to analyze your subscriber growth, but one way worth mentioning here is to track the source of your subscriptions. Here you can find details on which videos lead to someone subscribing to your channel (and which ones do not). Knowing which videos have a consistent effect of leading to your subscriber count increasing will give you insight on what types of videos to make in the future and whether or not you should promote them through advertisements to reach an even bigger audience.
These 5 metrics are certainly not the end all be all with analyzing your YouTube channel, but they are easy to understand and provide great insights. Remember, your channel will most likely not become an overnight success – the biggest channels on YouTube have been working with a dedicated subscriber base for several years. Understanding how to optimize your channel effectively and produce videos that your viewers will love is the key to growing a successful channel.
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