The Most Important YouTube Metric Isn’t What You Think

Rarely is the most important metric the one on the surface.

Your Facebook likes don’t mean much. Neither do your Twitter followers.

You already know how I feel about impressions. They’re an incomplete business metric, at best.

Views are NOT your most important YouTube Metric. One million views don’t mean anything if those people are clicking to start watching your video and closing the window after 20 seconds of boredom and/or frustration.

YouTube Views Are NOT the Most Important Video Metric

But if views are not the most important metric, what is? Let’s take that journey.

First find the “show video statistics” button on the bottom right next to your views:

That button brings up additional metrics including demographic and location information. Pay attention to these, but we’re still not there. Click the “view more statistics button.”

Now we’re getting pretty close. On the left-hand column under “view reports” you’ll find, “audience retention.” Click that.

That delivers this valuable little diddy:

You see, it doesn’t matter if you have 12,000 Twitter followers if none of them read your tweets, and it doesn’t matter if you have 100,000 YouTube views if all those views aren’t leading to sales, more subscribers, more affinity for your brand, et al. That’s why it’s crucial to know how many people are watching ALL of your video.

The chart above tells me that 82% of viewers were still watching after 45 seconds, 69% after 1:30, and about 60% made it through the duration of the video. It’s not great, but it’s better than most of the videos I’ve done thus far. Video isn’t my expertise, and I’m still learning. Watch Ze Frank’s return to see a master at work.

What could I have done differently to retain more viewers throughout the entire video?

Here’s some things to keep in mind:

  • Err on the shorter side with videos. I’d aim for 2:00 minutes, 3:00 maximum (unless it’s a more informative how-to tutorial).
  • Get to the main point of your video as quickly as possible.
  • Consider using calls-to-action before the end of the video.

What else should we be considering? Here’s your chance to teach me in the comments!

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