youtube-logo1When posting videos on YouTube, there’s little more titillating than knowing (with analytic-certainty) that people are actually viewing them.  Watching the view-count crank definitely produces a delightful tingly feeling.

When a video is tailored to a particular audience to reach a specified objective, measuring more granular demographic data about views and viewers can be incredibly powerful. Therefore understanding YouTube’s built in analytics, Insight, is imperative. Let’s go on an inside tour of YouTube Insight analytics must-know-fundamentals.

Deeper questions tend to arise at this point. “Who is my audience and how exactly are they discovering my videos?”  “Does my content keep viewers attention from beginning to end or are they bailing out midway through?”  “Which of my videos are receiving the most ratings, comments and favorites?”  “Which related videos is my content showing next to?” Pretty heady stuff…

Enter YouTube’s analytics tool, Insight. This free tool is available to any YouTube account holder who has uploaded video content to their channel. Take a look at what data is just there for the taking:

Date Range
Changing the date range allows you to view content performance across certain parts of video life in each Insight category.

Find out exactly how many views your videos are getting as a whole or individually as a percentage of total views.


See view count of your videos in different regions across the globe.


Check the ‘Show unique users’ box in the ‘Views’ tab to see the number of unique views in relation to total views. The difference between total and unique views maybe a reflection of the content’s popularity among users. People’s tendency to watch a video multiple times in one sitting may mean they are sharing with friends or just plain can’t get enough of it.


One of my favorite areas of Insight, the discovery section reveals the various sources of traffic to your content. Find the spectrum of keywords and phrases that are driving views as well as related videos your content is appearing next to. Also available is the percentage of total views received by embedded players, external links, Google searches, viral means and other YouTube pages.


Hot Spots
Audience attention is recorded to illustrate a video’s rate of retention in relation to videos of comparable length. High points in the graph may reflect parts of the video that viewers are rewinding to see again. Experiment with catchy annotations designed to preview a particular part of the video in order to keep the viewer engaged (ex. wait to see what happens at the next!). Then monitor any shifts in audience attention that may have come as a result of the message.


Formerly only available to non-profit organizations, call-to-action overlays allow you to place an external link over your video thereby driving traffic to your channel profile or website. Find the number of clicks your call-to-action overlays have received for a particular video in the call-to-action tab.


Insight relays age range and gender of your viewers either for a specific video or across all published content.


Community Engagement
The community engagement tab shows the number of comments, ratings and favorites your videos have received as well as the percentage of engagement in different regions of the world.


Pulling Data
Download all or segments of the gathered data into a .csv reports for an even deeper and more detailed look into video performance.


Ensuring  your video reaches the right audience is a demanding and ongoing process. Luckily YouTube has provided several different metrics with which to gain a better understanding of how your content is being viewed. It’s important to understand that the metrics gathered are just that, metrics. The true benefit comes from using the data to understand changes and opportunities that may be inferred within the pretty graphs and percentages.

  • Jeffrey Smith

    Brilliant Post Marty:

    Thorough and robust!

    Always a good read here.

    All the best…

  • Kye Swenson

    Wow, this lets you measure many of the same metrics as Google Analytics. I love the Hot Spots section; this will really help companies improve their product tutorials and webinars. I think the call to action is great also; a nice SEO tool — I can’t imagine a lot of businesses that wouldn’t want to use it.

  • Manny Rivas

    @Jeffrey Thanks. Insight offers up some pretty useful metrics that not only reflect content performance but give indication of algorithmic nodes tracked for ranking purposes.

    @Kye I agree. The tool set has great implications for video optimization. Another useful area to take note of is the ‘Statistics and Data’ drop-down tab located on the viewers end right above the ‘Video Response’ field. Talk about competitive intelligence!

  • Sean Morrissy

    I can’t believe I didn’t even know youtube had analytics. It looks pretty cool, there are a lot of things there that will let us know how our videos are doing. Will be good fun to check out when I get around to putting up a ton of videos on youtube.


  • Oliver

    Great article and really good information which I never knew about. These tools would be great for businesses who want to promote products or services or add tutorials on YouTube and will be easier to tailor the videos to specific audiences.

  • Manny Rivas

    @ Sean Have fun with it! It’s great to have a video up and to know that people are watching it, but it’s even better to know who these people are and how they got there.

    @Oliver Thank you. Businesses have somewhat of an online focus group. Users are willing and open, lending feedback that could have cost an arm & a leg through traditional methods.

  • Steve Coppola

    I assume some of Insight’s features are available only to paying advertisers (?) In my YouTube account, the Insight menu consists only of Summary, Views, Demographics and Community. No Discovery, Call to Action, or Hot Spots.

  • Manny Rivas

    @Steve Actually you may be viewing the overall ‘All Videos’ sidebar. These options are available independent of paying advertisers. If you click the ‘All Videos’ bar and select one of your videos the Discover, Call to Action and Hot Spots will appear below Summary, Views, Demographics and Community. Also if your videos have accumulated enough views the Hot Spots will be activated. This is also reflected as ‘Attention’ under the ‘All Videos’ and ‘Summary’ tab.

  • Dave

    Wow. I will show my complete lack of knowledge by saying I didn’t even know Analytics was a feature of You Tube. I also didn’t know I could use the Call to Action. I had heard of that but thought it was only for business or other organizations that either paid for it or had special status.

    Thanks for more helpful YouTube information. Keep it coming!