YouTube Insight Analytics: Overview & Best Practices Guide

YouTube Insight Analytics: Overview & Best Practices Guide

Effective video marketing campaigns must be analyzed by a series of metrics to determine whether the campaign was successful, or if it needs adjustment. Google's acquisition of YouTube brought in an advanced series of analytical tools called YouTube Insight. Most metrics required to determine the success of a campaign are included with Insight. Not only are these tools helpful for improving video campaigns, but they also make client reporting very simple with the program's copy-and-paste-friendly features. The intelligence gained from these metrics can be used to influence future video production.

YouTube Insight Overview:

YouTube Insight Analytics: Overview & Best Practices GuideTo access Insight, go to the list of uploaded videos, and there will be an Insight button next to each video - as seen in the above image. By clicking this button, you will be redirected to Insight's dashboard. You can choose whether to view statistics for the selected video or all videos. All of the graphs and statistics can easily be exported into a spreadsheet, or copied onto a new document.

Starting with the single video metrics, the traffic can be measured in several different ways. The number of video views can be measured under the "Views" section. "Discovery" will show how users found the video. "Demographics" will show the age and gender of the viewers. "Engagements" measures the amount of viewers that took action on the video. Lastly, "Hot Spots" shows the viewers' attention span during the video.

Looking at all videos, the "Summary" feature gives a brief overview of all the different metrics. Similar to the single videos, the "Views”, "Demographics”, "Community" and "Discovery" sections show a general overview of the traffic frequency and sources for all videos combined. The "Subscribers" section shows a breakdown of subscriber locations and frequencies.

Measuring Views in YouTube Insight:

YouTube Insight Analytics: Overview & Best Practices GuideIncreased viewership is one of the main goals of most video marketing campaigns. This can be measured very easily with Insight. Start by selecting the "Views" section from the dashboard – as shown in the image above. At the top of this section, you will notice a slider bar with a date range above it. You can change the date range by expanding, contracting, or sliding the bar – as shown on the right.

The ability to change dates helps when comparing different time periods. Below the slider, you will see the overall video views, and the views within the selected date range. At the bottom, you will see a chart that shows views by date and a map that shows the country locations of the views. These will all update instantly as you change the view dates.

Measuring Traffic Sources in YouTube Insight:

Knowing the source of your channel traffic is very important when deciding how to promote the videos. The "Discovery" section will show you how people are finding the videos, but it won't show the exact sources of these referrals. Much like with the "Views" section, the date ranges in this section can be adjusted on the date bar at the top.

YouTube Insight Analytics: Overview & Best Practices Guide

Insight will stack the chart or make a line graph out of the results. Select the bubble above the chart for whichever one you prefer. This chart can be copy-and-pasted into a spreadsheet by right-clicking on it and selecting "copy image.”

Here's a breakdown of the different traffic sources and what they mean:

  • No link referrer – embedded player – This means that a website has embedded the video, and viewers are accessing it through that external website.
  • YouTube other pages – This can reflect a variety of things, including favorites, link in a YT message, video response or viewing your own videos.
  • No link referrer – mobile devices – The view came from a cellular phone, tablet pc, etc.
  • YouTube related video – When viewing a video, you may notice video suggestions on the right-hand side. That is where these views come from.
  • YouTube search – These viewers found the video through YouTube's search engine.
  • External website – A website or blog placed a link to the video, and someone clicked on it.
  • No link referrer – YouTube watch and channel pages – These are viral views. They may have been obtained through e-mail, instant messengers, or social networks.
  • YouTube subscription modules – A subscriber clicked on your video from their dashboard.
  • YouTube channel page – The view was referred from your YT channel page.
  • Google search – Your video was found by either a Google web search or a Google video search.
  • YouTube featured video – The video was featured on YouTube's home page.
  • YouTube video annotation – A link was followed from an annotation inside another video.
  • YouTube advertising – A video was a "promoted video," and was clicked on.

Measuring Viewer Demographics in YouTube Insight:

YouTube Insight Analytics: Overview & Best Practices GuideAge and gender of viewers is an important factor when creating video content. If the target audience is young women, and the viewers are mostly middle-aged men – a retargeting of content will be necessary in future videos. These metrics can be measured in the "Demographics" section of YouTube Insight. Again, date ranges can be selected at the top of this tool.

Below that, there will be a graph showing the age ranges of viewers. As shown on the right, you can select to view males only, females only, or males and females. To the right of this graph will be a pie chart, breaking down the viewers by gender. When one gender is selected to be viewed, the other gender will be grayed out on the pie chart.

Measuring Engagement in YouTube Insight:

YouTube Insight Analytics: Overview & Best Practices GuideThe goal of video marketing is to spark action amongst the target audience. Outside of YouTube, this can be measured through increased followers on social networks or increased website traffic from YouTube. Within YouTube, engagement is carried out by call-to-action modules. Subscriptions, comments, likes and friends are all metrics used to measure engagement. The "Community" section of YouTube Insight measures comments as a means of engagement.

YouTube Insight Analytics: Overview & Best Practices GuideDate range can be selected at the top for this tool, just like all the other tools. At the bottom, you will notice a random selection of words in various sizes - as pictured to the left. This appears when you are viewing "community engagements" or "comments”. The bigger font the word is, the more common it was used in user comments. To the right, you can see the most common countries of origin of the comment posters.

The graph in the middle can be used to show either the total number or ratio of users who performed a call-to-action. This tool can be used to measure video shares, likes, comments and favorites. The "community engagements" will show a summary of all four metrics combined. The "sharing" option will display a list of the top ten websites used to share the video below the graph.

Measuring the Viewers' Attention in YouTube Insight:

YouTube Insight Analytics: Overview & Best Practices GuideHot Spots is a tool used to measure where attention drop-offs occur in the video. Drop-offs occur when viewers stop watching the video, fast forward to another spot or click on a different video. This tool can take anywhere from a couple of days to a couple of years to become available for a video – depending on how frequently the video is viewed. The example used on the left shows a brief, 44-second video that received over one million views in four days.

The most interesting part of the video pictured in this graph is toward the end, so lots of viewers skipped ahead. Many viewers may also have replayed that section of the video, which explains the S-curve shown in the image. When a video has a drop-off, the line will drop into the cold zone.

Measuring Subscribers in YouTube Insight:

YouTube Insight Analytics: Overview & Best Practices GuideTo keep viewers coming back to your channel, you will want them to subscribe. Subscriptions are measured using the "Subscribers" tool in YT Insight. The graph will track both new subscriptions and unsubscriptions. It will also break down subscriptions by country of origin. These figures are important when geo-targeting a particular group in video marketing campaigns.

Rather than tracking increases, this tool tracks trends. If one country decreases in subscriptions while another increases, there may be factors in the campaign affecting these trends. These numbers can also be broken down by continent by selecting the location in the top-right corner.

Posted in Youtube Marketing
About Our Contributing Author - Harrison Jones
Harrison Jones is the VP of Digital Marketing at MWI - a global search, content marketing, PR and conversion optimization agency. He specializes in SEO, paid search, analytics, usability analysis, information architecture, conversion optimization, and content marketing.



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What do you think? ▼
  • Guest

    No comment on the complete flakiness of Insight, the loss of stats every so often (e.g. from 1st to 11th July or so), or the way that its figures differ completely from those displayed on your channel or films?

    Insight is both good and dismal. I would greatly prefer it if Google would properly integrate GA into YouTube so that it would record stats for individual films rather than just your channel views. Instead we're stuck between a rock and a hard place - Insight is far too unreliable to trust as a tool and the GA stats you get miss 90%+ of your data due to the incomplete implementation.

  • http://www.straightnorth.com Harrison Jones

    YouTube is actually having problems right now with the view counts, which is effecting the accuracy of Insight. Read more about it here:

    http://www.google.com/support/youtube/bin/answer.py?answer=175736

    I completely agree with you that Google should integrate Google Analytics with YouTube.

  • http://www.oxidian.hr Siniša

    I second that. Integrating GA in YouTube is long awaited.

  • http://gideonshalwick.com Chris

    i'm seeing view counts problem in youtube recently also. when you actually click the video, the number of views on the preview on the search is different to the actual count when you actually played the video