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Measuring YouTube Success: 3 KPIs That Matter

So, you’ve built your YouTube channel, populated it with some organic content, and dove into the world of advertising – so you’ve done it all right? You’re now a YouTube advertising master?

Not quite.

In order to fully understand the quality of your content and how well it engages your audience, it’s important to monitor certain data within YouTube Analytics. This is integral in learning how to best optimize your videos and positioning your efforts for success.

Here are some Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that we recommend monitoring:

Watch Time Reports

Use the Watch Time report to see data about impressions, impressions click-through rate, views, and how long viewers watch your content. This is significant as all YouTube algorithms are focused on watch time.
Impressions: How many times your thumbnails were shown to viewers on YouTube through registered impressions.

Impressions click-through rate (CTR): How often viewers watched a video after seeing a thumbnail.
Views: The number of legitimate views for your channels or videos.
Average view duration: Estimated average minutes watched per view for the selected content, date range, region, and other filters.
Watch time: The amount of time that a viewer has watched a video. This gives you a sense of what content viewers actually watch (as opposed to videos that they click on and then abandon).

Audience Retention Report

You can use the Audience retention report to get an overall measure of how well your video keeps its audience.
Average View Duration: Estimated average minutes watched per view for the selected content, date range, region, and other filters.

Average Percentage Viewed: The percent of each video the average viewer watched. Anywhere above 60% is a really good.

Traffic Sources Report

This report shows the sites and YouTube features that viewers use to find your content. It’s great for understanding and evaluating which marketing channels are working for you.


A/B Testing

After reviewing your reports, it may be time to make some adjustments. Don’t try to change too much at first. Work with what you have for a few videos and then, after gathering a decent sample size, make your adjustments by changing some of the these variables.

YouTube does not yet have an A/B testing feature, so you’ll have to use a third party if you really want to dive into this. Also, be sure you’re tracking and linked up with as many analytics tools as you can across all platforms (Google Analytics and Facebook Pixel especially).


We hope this YouTube blog series provided you with enough information and actionable items to start a solid video ad campaign. We know it can feel overwhelming at first, but once you get going, you’ll be thankful for all the hard work you’ve put into it.

As always, if you have any questions about it you can reach out to your friendly, neighborhood content creation agency.

Big Slate Media Team