Who's watching my channel?
Every channel owner and manager on YouTube should have access to the YouTube Analytics reports, which measures watch time, tracks the gender and geographic distribution of a channel’s viewers, where they discover videos, which devices they’re consuming content on, and much more. You can look at historical report data to learn what viewers like, what makes them pay attention, and how they interacted with previously-produced content. This information can help you enhance your content, improve accessibility, and boost discoverability.
Knowing your audience and their behaviors can help you tailor your videos and build an audience of fans who love your stuff!
Who am I reaching?
You can look at different features of who watches your videos - by age, gender, geography in the Demographics report. Each type of breakdown can help you make creative and marketing decisions.
See it in action
What do different demographics like?This example shows an audience that is mostly female 18-24 years old. This channel may want to focus on making more videos around topics this demographic would like if they’d like to help keep its viewers engaged.
Opportunity to expand globallyIf you see unexpected viewers in ‘top locations’, like how Saudi Arabia is a top location for this English channel, you might consider turning on closed captions or adding localized metadata to make the content more accessible for this audience.
What are my viewers watching?
The watch time report shows you which videos your viewers like watching and how much time they spend watching them. You can see the watch time, views, and amount viewers watched for each of your top videos. You can also note how well different types of videos are doing by grouping together videos with similar themes, styles, lengths and comparing how they perform. If certain types of videos regularly get a lot of views, you might consider if you can create a series like that.
- Try creating groups of similar videos and see how they compare in your watch time report.
- How to create groups.
See it in action
See which videos are most popularUse the ‘multi-line’ version of the watch time report to get a bird’s eye view of your top videos. Each colored line represents a different video listed at the bottom. In this example, 100 Years of Beauty: Aging (purple) is a very popular video.
Create groups to compare videosYou can group together similar videos and compare how well each group is doing. Here, the videos in the show “Mine Blown” (blue line) get more views and watch time than those in “Thought Glass” (yellow line) over the same period of time. Perhaps this channel should consider creating more “Mine Blown videos”.
Is my audience right for me?
Creators grow over time. As you build your audience and create more consistent videos, you should reevaluate whether you’re reaching the target audience that really inspires you.
It’s ok to change your creative direction. You can experiment with something new and then see if the “right” viewers keep watching. You might see a few viewers drop off, but if these viewers aren’t your ideal demographic, that may not be an issue -consider focusing on your what your new demographic likes and try making more of that content.
Since subscribers have been shown to watch twice as much video as non-subscribers, you may also want to look at what subscribers like and watch in comparison to non-subscribers so you can think of ways to engage your subscribers to become long-term fans.
- You can track changes in your demographics over time to see if this audience is right for you.
- Toggle the “subscribers” filter to see if your core subs are the right demographic for you.
See it in action
Create content that your desired audience watchesThreadbanger has mostly a young, female audience (77% female, ages 13-24). The video, “DIY Nail Polish Flowers”, has 82% female, 18% male viewers. However, “DIY Black Light Phone Hack”, has a higher male audience (37% male, 63% female). If this shift is where they want to go, they could consider making more videos like this and target the titles (e.g. “hack”) and thumbnails in a similar way.
Follow your passion and shift your audienceCreators grow over time. Taryn Southern wanted to be a role model for teens, so she adapted her varietal vlogs (66% male, 34% female) to a focus on teen-geared topics like dating and style, resulting in 55% female viewership. She continues to make sure she’s making content her audience wants to watch.
How are viewers finding me?
Traffic sources and playback locations are two key reports that can help you uncover how viewers find your videos on the internet and which of these sources rack up the most watch time. You can look at traffic from external websites like social media, sites that embed your videos, on YouTube (Search, Recommended, Home page), what they search for to find your videos or devices/playback locations used to watch your videos on YouTube.
Possible actions you can take:
- Check out which keywords show up in the YouTube search report; if important keywords are missing, add them to your metadata.
- Use the suggested videos report to see what videos (from other channels) are driving viewers to your videos - could this be a collaboration opportunity?
- Most people use your channel as a jumping off point to find videos but will then view them on a watch page. Expect to only see only views of your channel trailer on the actual channel page.
Disclaimer: These strategies are suggestions pulled from our experience with YouTube creators and are not promises or guarantees for success.
- Find your top 5 traffic sources and see if this makes sense to you.
- Select a video and find your top search terms.
- Check for top referring playlists.
See it in action
Search inside yourselfVsauce3 gets a lot of watch time from existing fans browsing (red), but may have an opportunity to increase watch time coming from suggested videos (purple).
Look at big spikes and dips in traffic sourcesNote how the “Browse features” traffic source (purple) spikes coincide with “Suggested videos” (red).
Tailor strategies based on your playback locationsHere, views from the YouTube watch page (purple) are really high and to help bring viewers to watch more of their channel, this creator could make playlists or add a card guiding the audience to the next video.