Data can be your best friend or your worst enemy. Data tells a story, but if you don’t understand what it’s telling you, it can be frustrating at best and misleading at worse. At Video Creators, we have a passion for analytics and we want to help you understand them so you can make the right decisions for your channel.

Creator Spotlight

But first I want to introduce you to Rachel Pedersen. She works for a tech company called Text In Church, which is an easy-to-use 2-way texting system created for churches to connect with their members and guests beyond Sunday mornings to make them feel known, noticed, and loved. They use to promote their product. Unfortunately, they were suffering from analysis paralysis from all the strategies, tips and tricks out there. Rachel worked with us and found it to be amazingly helpful. Now she feels so much more confident in a growth strategy for her company. Tim’s phrase, “small tweaks lead to big peaks” really made an impact on her. She has been making many small tweaks and has found a lot of growth as a result.


There is an entire world of analytics on the backend of YouTube. Before you know how to read it and find growth opportunities for yourself, it can be incredibly overwhelming. Today, we just want to teach the KEY metrics of what to focus on and why. But it’s good to know what is your current goal. What are you trying to improve specifically on your channel? That is going to help you to know which analytics you need to be focusing on.

Impressions vs. iCTR vs. Views

We work with a lot of creators that share right off the bat what their CTR is. That’s great, but it’s important to know that analytics don’t stand alone. When you are thinking about CTR, you need to also know what your views and impressions are alongside it.

Here is a good guideline for understanding your impressions vs. impressions CTR vs Views:

  • Low CTR + low impressions + poor views = Poor title/thumb/hook/content. (lots of growth opportunities here)
  • Low CTR + high impressions + high views = Good video that has broad appeal.
  • High CTR + low impressions + low views = Good video with narrow appeal.
  • High CTR + high impressions + high views = unicorn video/anomaly

We get asked a lot “What’s a good CTR?,” but honestly it’s quite a range. Depending on your niche and where your traffic is coming from, a good CTR really varies between 2%-10%. But know that the more impressions you have, the broader the audience you are reaching and so your CTR will go down – and that’s not a bad thing! It all goes back to your goal. If you are trying to be more discoverable and reach a new audience, than you’re succeeding.

Average View Duration

Other creators come in and just share their AVD, but we need more context. The first goal is the click, which is brought in by your title and thumbnails. Then, the next goal is how deep we can get them into your content. And really, the best way to see this is to look at your retention graph. Where are you losing people? Where do you see a big drop off? That’s what we need to focus on.

If your APD is going down, first assess if the length of your video has changed. Some people realize that they can be more effective in doing shorter videos. When this happens of course your APD is going to go down. But that’s not a bad sign. You have to compare similar length of videos.

People ask us a lot, what is a good length of your video? And our answer is just as long as it needs to be. Look at your retention graph. Where are people dropping off or aggressively skipping ahead? That’s your indicator of how long your video needs to be. It’s better to get your viewer in as long as you can and then draw them into the next video instead of losing your audience because you tried to cram too much into one video.

But make sure you are not cutting the personality of your videos. Leave the little pauses that keep the tension and the human elements. If you’ve seen The Office, you know that the long pauses build a lot of tension. Look at your storytelling techniques and be intentional in telling a very high quality story and less about having it be super produced or super fast.

Clicks Per End Screen Elements Shown (CPESES)

Are you able to extend the watch session? This should really one of the goals of your videos. The algorithm LOVES this.

When it comes to end screen elements, we suggest only having one choice. Choices can be paralyzing. Just tell your viewer what to do. If they are overwhelmed, they will abandon the content completely. Also if you have multiple elements, know that this will divide your CPESES.

During your end screen, make sure you avoid ending language. Instead, view your last 20 seconds as a new hook. You want to introduce a new idea to get them to click the suggested video. Give them a good reason to watch it instead of just wrapping up your video and asking people to like, comment and subscribe.

Subs Gained

This is a great analytic to look at as well. It is super helpful to know what videos are actually converting the most viewers into subscribers. These are the ones that are really hitting the mark and making that connection with the viewer.


This is a helpful analytic to look at when you are making community content. Is this content really connecting? Also, look at the quality of the comments. Asking more open ended questions are going to be more effective in engaging. This is the real goal, not just number of comments.

Big Mistakes

Don’t just look at what is happening right now. It can be really confusing to see your analytics and not know what is referring to your last video and what is your channel overall from the last 10 years of creating.

Making “groups” is incredibly helpful for this. Look at your last 10 videos and see how your most recent videos are affecting your growth. You can also go to advanced mode and filter by publish date or content type. All of this will give you a more accurate picture of what you are looking at and allow you to compare apples to apples so you can make good data-drive decisions.

Also, don’t look at a video analytics too quickly after publishing. Sometimes it takes weeks or months for a video to take off. Don’t look at a video immediately and then make rash decisions based off of its performance. We personally find that looking at your content in 90 day blocks is the best way to track your data and find patterns and make data driven decisions, not emotional ones.

Power Tip

We want to introduce you to the “4th signal,” which is viewer satisfaction. If you watch videos on YouTube, you will see surveys that ask you what you thought about the video you just watched. You can rank it from 1-5 stars. This is a very real metric that YouTube uses when it makes decisions on which videos to surface.

While we don’t have access to these survey results, if you want to know how satisfied your viewers are you can go to your metric “new viewers vs returning viewers.” The new viewer metric is great to know if you are bringing in new viewers with your content. But, returning viewers is great to know if these viewers are so satisfied that they are coming back for more.

Keep changing lives!

Tim Schmoyer

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