How to Leverage Data to Attract and Retain YouTube Subscribers


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Digital technology has changed dramatically how brands and creators connect with their audiences. Perhaps the most important change has been the ability to measure the impact of any digital marketing activity accurately. YouTube is no exception. The platform’s extensive analytics dashboard gives users access to a myriad of data about their channel and its performance. Understanding key metrics is the first step toward leveraging them to grow subscriber numbers.

Related: 5 Keys to Getting More Viewers and Making More Money on YouTube

Understanding YouTube Analytics

YouTube Analytics is a powerful set of tools for YouTube creators. On the YouTube app and the desktop version, the analytics dashboard provides the insights creators need to evaluate the performance and development of their channel and individual pieces of content.

YouTube Analytics provides all-time and short-term metrics. All-time metrics include how many videos users have shared, subscriber numbers to their channel, video views, likes, comments and shares.

The dashboard also shows the same numbers for the past seven days, which is especially useful right after publishing a piece of content. YouTube Analytics lets you see how the video performed compared to others in terms of engagement, audience, watch time and even revenue.

Key metrics for subscriber acquisition

The variety of data on the YouTube Analytics dashboard can be overwhelming at first, so it is worth narrowing your analysis to the criteria that matter most. If your goal is to grow your subscriber base, focus on overall views, watch time, impressions, click-through rate and your subscriber conversion rate.

These five metrics give you the information you need to understand how effective your content has been in attracting YouTube users (views), keeping them engaged (watch time) and encouraging them to come back for more (conversions).

Understanding audience behavior

Watch time is one of the key metrics YouTube uses to rank your content. The longer your viewers stay with your videos, the higher they rank. On the other hand, if many viewers abandon your video after just a few seconds, its rankings in YouTube searches will drop.

For those reasons, understanding how your audience interacts with your content is critical to growing your subscriber base. YouTube Analytics collects several retention metrics to help you get to know your audience better — evaluate average view duration and average percentage viewed, and study the audience retention graph to better understand viewer behavior and preferences.

Reviewing these insights regularly will help identify patterns in audience engagement, giving creators the information they need to optimize their content and grow their subscriber base.

Related: How to Build a Massive YouTube Presence for Your Brand or Business

Demographic insights and audience segmentation

YouTube Analytics also gathers a wide range of demographic data, allowing creators to understand how their audience behaves and who their audience is.

Check YouTube Analytics to learn about the age, gender and location of your users. YouTube also shows creators which devices their audience uses to access their content. These insights make it much easier to tailor content to meet viewers’ needs.

Demographic insights also allow creators to segment their audience and create content that targets specific subsets of viewers. Creating campaigns to promote content to viewers like this can increase views and encourage subscriptions even further.

Analyzing traffic sources and discovery

Do you know how your audience finds your YouTube content? Aside from YouTube SEO and subscriber notifications, potential traffic sources include different digital marketing channels such as social media, email marketing or your brand’s website.

YouTube Analytics shows creators in detail whether their viewers found their content through a YouTube search or clicked on suggested videos. Learning more about traffic sources and content discoverability helps optimize your approach to video publication, distribution and cross-sharing.

Optimizing content strategy and performance

YouTube Analytics makes your top-performing videos obvious. Use the data to identify what these videos have in common. Perhaps they cover specific topics or follow selected formats and delivery methods your audience finds more accessible than others. Consider video length and publication time, too.

In most cases, your top-performing YouTube videos for views will also rank highly for audience retention and other engagement metrics such as comments and likes. Finding out what these videos have in common allows creators to develop something like a winning formula or content structure for future videos.

At the same time, you will also find out why other videos did not perform as expected. According to your findings, optimizing video length and content delivery becomes straightforward, leading to greater viewer retention and longer watch times.

Related: How To Create Engaging Video Content for Your Brand

Experimentation and iteration

How can you find the optimal content strategy to grow your YouTube viewer and subscriber numbers? In many cases, optimizing your content requires some experimentation with different content formats, video lengths and other metrics. Changing parameters like this allows you to gauge differences in the response and identify the most promising strategies.

Some videos may perform less well than others, but each piece of content lets you tailor your strategy and helps you understand your audience better. By using YouTube Analytics for your experimentation and iteration process, you can be sure that you make decisions based on data-driven insights rather than gut feelings.

While an approach based on instinct may yield some results, it is impossible to understand why your content worked. Consequently, it is also unlikely that you can repeat your success predictably and grow your subscriber base consistently.

YouTube Analytics is a powerful tool for any creator. Whether you are just starting out on YouTube or are a seasoned creator looking to take your channel to the next level and monetize your content, YouTube Analytics has the metrics you need to drive subscriber growth.

Select the key metrics that align with your goals, leverage YouTube Analytics, and you will be able to unlock the full potential of your channel in a highly competitive online environment.

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