B2C Marketing Analytics for Beginners

Tracking Social Media Marketing Metrics in YouTube

YouTube is a fascinating platform because it encompasses several different types of channels at once. It’s both a social network, where you can build a community with your subscribers and advertise, but also a search engine – with organic and paid search results. In this lesson we’ll discuss the key metrics for organic and paid advertising on YouTube.

Organic Videos

To measure performance of your organic videos, you can use the Analytics tool built right into YouTube. We’ll go over the most useful reports throughout this section. You can reach the tool by following these steps:

  1. From your account icon on the top right corner, click on Creator Studio
  2. On the left hand menu, expand the Analytics section

Generally, there are four main sources of traffic to your organic videos on YouTube:

  • external traffic from you or others sharing your video link outside of YouTube
  • notifications sent by email or through the YouTube notifications center to your subscribers
  • recommendations placements on YouTube (YouTube home page, suggested videos, etc…)
  • YouTube search results

You can see the source of traffic to your videos through the Traffic Sources report. Scroll to the bottom and you should see something like:

YouTube Traffic Sources

SEO Metrics

While we’ve already covered SEO metrics in a previous lesson, YouTube metrics are a little different since YouTube search drives traffic to your video on YouTube, not to your site.

You can learn more about YouTube’s search ranking algorithm here, but basically, as with all search engines, the algorithm tries to assess whether your video is relevant and engaging. You can see the search terms that brought people to your videos and their performance by clicking into the “YouTube search” channel in the Traffic Sources report pictured above.

To gauge your relevance, you should review the search terms to make sure you rank for the terms you intend to rank for. Engaging your users for SEO is the same as engaging them as a social channel, so read on to the social metrics for more information.

Social Metrics: Reach

The primary metrics for your organic reach on YouTube are subscribers and views.


Subscribers are the number of users who have chosen to follow your YouTube channel. These users can get notifications from YouTube about your new videos through email or the notification center. YouTube is also more likely to rank your videos higher for subscribers in SEO and in their recommendations because you’ve proven relevance to these users.

You can track your subscribers metrics through the Subscribers report. As in other reports, you can cut the data by different dimensions in the table at the bottom of the report.


Views lets you know how many times your video has been watched. Unfortunately, with organic videos, you can’t get the unique views to get the count of people who have been exposed to your video or to measure frequency. To access the views metric, follow these steps:

  1. Navigate to the Watch Time report
  2. Filter as desired
  3. On the line chart, switch to the VIEWS tab
  4. You can now track views over time
  5. Scrolling to the bottom table, you can cut views by many dimensions (by video, geography, etc…)

Social Metrics: Engagements

The principal metrics for engagement on YouTube are watched time, likes and dislikes, comments and shares

Watched Time

While intuitively similar to views, watched time is a measure of engagement – for how long your viewers actually watched your video. You can find this metric in the same report as for views, just don’t switch to the Views tab.

You can also use the Audience Retention report to get information about where in your video you start to lose your audience.

Likes and Dislikes

As in Facebook, viewers can react to your video using the like and dislike feature. You can find the metric in its own report, Likes and Dislikes.


Similarly, users can also comment on your video. You can find comment activity in the Comments report.


Sharing your video with their own network is another type of engagement users can take, and one that can directly increase your reach. The Shares report lets you track this engagement.

Impact Metrics

As with other organic social marketing channels, the impact of the campaigns on your site are really only measurable using a separate analytics tool, like Google Analytics. Remember to set up proper parameter tracking to facilitate measuring impact metrics in your analytics tool.

Paid Ad Videos

Paid advertising on YouTube is a hybrid of paid search and paid social marketing. You can advertise in the search results as you would in the regular Google search, but the ad leads to the YouTube video, not to your site. You can also have display advertising on YouTube, which can lead traffic to your site. Remember that display advertising on a social network is considered social media marketing.

All paid marketing on Google goes through Adwords, and YouTube is no exception.

Reach Metrics

The metrics of subscribers doesn’t really apply with paid ads and it isn’t provided in Adwords. However, your subscribers are more likely to be shown your ads becaues your brand has proven relevance with them, so maintaining a healthy organic channel will support your paid efforts.

The primary reach metrics on paid YouTube are views and frequency. Unlike for organic posts, in Adwords you can get frequency metrics. You can find views as a standard metric in your video Ad Groups and Ads reports. Frequency metrics are only available at the campaign level and you can add them by modifying columns and selecting the Reach metrics menu, as we saw in the Display Analytics lesson.

Engagement Metrics

On video ads, Adwords defines “engagement” as an interaction “with an element that doesn’t take them to an external site, such as clicking a teaser or icon to expand a card”. Another key engagement is to actually watch your video, which is captured in the watch time metric. You can dissect watch time by seeing what percent of your views made it to the 25%, 50%, 75%, 100% marks on your video.

You can add all of these metrics to your Campaigns, Ad Groups and Ads.

Impact Metrics

As with all Adword advertising, you can find impact metrics (traffic, conversions, revenue, etc…) directly in Adwords if you’ve set up conversion tracking. Additionally, you can also measure them with your third party analytics tool.

Ad Targeting Metrics

Unlike Facebook, you can dive deep into understanding the performance of your ad targeting parameters so you can optimize your targeting. As with all other Adwords advertising, you can view performance of keywords, demographics, audiences and topics, depending on your type of ad. You can also see performance by placement of these ads. To view the performance of each targeting type, when you’re in the desired campaign, ad group or ad, simply click on the targeting type on the left menu. You can add any of the metrics we’ve discussed to help you analyze the performance of your targeting groups.


As the largest social network, YouTube can play an integral part of your marketing strategy and it’s important to understand the performance of your YouTube campaigns.