YouTube experts are constantly telling us what matters the most to YouTube. Some say just do whatever it takes to increase your watch time. Others say you just need more people liking & subscribing to your video. That will tell YouTube to send it out to more people. And still more say, all you need is a killer title & thumbnails to make or break your channel.

What we really wanted to do on this week’s podcast is to help you narrow down what metrics you can totally disregard (and what to pay attention to instead), despite what others may say.

But first I want to introduce you to . She is one of the most consistent creators I’ve ever met. She started as a web designer wanting to educate others, attract more clients and connect with more people through video. She began with 1 minute tutorials, but she wasn’t really attracting the audience that she wanted to grow her business.

So she decided to change her content so that she would be drawing in the right client. Being in front of 10 of the right people is far better than being in front of 100 of the wrong people. More views does not equal more clients. To do this she asked herself, what does her ideal client really want to see? And how can she bring that to them?

So if you find yourself in a similar position, don’t be afraid to pivot. Although it feels scary, sometimes changing it up can be the most beneficial thing you can do for your channel. If you are wanting direction on how to do this or have specific questions about how you personally can attract the right clients, we would be more than delighted to help you through those questions during a and shed some light on what your next steps should be.

So back to those analytics! I want to preface this by saying that I don’t think that you need to fully actually ignore any of these, because there is virtually no metric in YouTube that we want to completely disregard. What I mean by “ignore” in this context is to stop obsessing over these 3 analytics.

1. Watch time. That’s right, I said it. Watch time is important, but not in the way that many people think it’s important.

YouTube is not just paying attention to the watch time that your individual video is contributing. It’s really focused on the entire viewing session of each viewer. YouTube is measuring how well your video actually extends the entire viewing session and contributing to watch time on the overall platform, not just the watch time from your video. Do people leave YouTube entirely during your video or are you keeping them on the YouTube platform?

So instead of focusing on watch time, focus on your average percentage viewed & your audience retention graph to see how much of your video are viewers actually consuming. If people are watching more of each of your videos (even if they’re shorter), your watch time will increase. Your content will be more bingeable to them and they’ll be more likely to click on more videos.

2. When your viewers are on YouTube. People often think this is a magical answer of when you should publish your content. At first glance, this seems to make sense. However, this metric is not worth nearly any of your time. At most, you can use it to decide when would be best to do your live streams, but publishing your videos during those “hot” times and days will not make an impact on your longterm performance.

If you have a regular schedule, you might notice with this metric that it often shows that your viewers are the most “hot” at the same times that you typically upload. If so, this means that they’re following your lead and that’s great! Stick with what schedule allows you to bring the most consistent value to your audience and don’t worry so much about when to post.

3. Performance within the first 24-48 hours. This one isn’t a metric in and of itself but I feel like I have to address it in this topic because creators talk about this habit as if it is it’s own metric. NikkiTutorials is a creator that did a docuseries on herself and in that series she talked about how she watches her video’s performance pretty much right after she uploads it. If her video is doing well, then it’s a good day. If it’s not doing well, then it’s a bad day. This one makes me hurt for you guys so much because I have personally worked with so many creators who tend have similar feelings towards their content. Fortunately, though, it’s a very unnecessary hurt.

I can assure you that unless you’re a daily news channel, your video’s success does not bank on the first 24-48 hours. I cannot tell you the amount of times I have seen a video take off a few days, weeks or even months later. Sometimes these videos even “tanked” within the first 24-48 hours because we were working on reaching a different audience, which meant doing something different that their current audience wasn’t used to. Doing something new on your channel can often result in some videos “tanking” at first, and then finding their audience later and that is 100% just as good for your channel. The only thing is that it doesn’t feel as satisfactory for us as creators because we don’t get that immediate gratification.

The only metric that really matters a little bit more in your first 24-48 hrs is your thumbnail. Swapping a thumbnail after 24-48 hrs can help a video take off. Here’s a super helpful that explains some of this.

Instead, use the advanced mode in your YouTube analytics and track your video’s performance over time. You can select specific videos and see when the views really started to hit. You can also group videos together and track their pattern over time. Maybe they take a week to take off? Maybe it’s a month later? Knowing this can ease your mind to know when to check back in and not put all of your hopes and dreams into the 24-48 hr basket.


Use the to improve your audience retention after posting the video! There’s a huge advantage to using this, especially when working on your audience retention. Would the hook be better if you trimmed off the first 10 seconds of your video? Do it! And do it easily with this tool.

Have a question, comment, a YouTube tip to share, or just want to say hi? Leave a voice message for us and we may use it in an upcoming podcast episode. .

Keep Changing Lives,

Tim Schmoyer