What Is Your YouTube Channel’s Average Watch Time?

What Is Your YouTube Channel’s Average Watch Time?

Earlier this year I was speaking on the topic of social media audits at a conference. During my talks on audits, I always include a section about videos and how to work with YouTube. During the Q&A portion of the session, an audience member asked a question about YouTube Analytics. He wanted to know how I work around YouTube’s “lack of good analytical data.” He was disappointed in the lack of information.

I weave video into every talk because it can add so much more to a marketing strategy. Many don’t use video because of production costs or the trepidation that can accompany being on camera. However, I never felt that YouTube’s Analytics dashboard was less than what I needed.

Videos are good content for most industries. Brands, services, live events, and more can all benefit from short form video. It is an easy way to tell your brand’s story, connect with viewers, or demonstrate a product quickly and effectively. Cisco reports that 70% of consumer internet traffic is due to video consumption*. Trends predict that 82 percent of all consumer Internet traffic will be from video by the year 2020.

Consider video content almost a necessity for a successful marketing campaign. We see that social media paid ads perform better when a video is included as one of the creatives.

Including video content on a website was once a luxury, but the cost of producing a quality video is far less than it was just five years ago, making it affordable to anyone with a smartphone.

It’s true YouTube Analytics does not give granular data views such as tree maps of user acquisition the way Google Analytics (GA) does. It also does not give YouTube creators the ability to segment viewers’ interests by Affinity Categories or In-Market Segments. However, YouTube does give admins useful data that is exactly what they need to grow their channels and increase watch time.

To see a channel’s analytics, go to the channel – mine is https://www.youtube.com/metronycom Subscribe while you’re in the neighborhood, won’t you? Log in as an admin user and go to your Creator Studio by choosing it from the right-hand menu. Over on the left-hand menu, find the “Analytics” section and dropdown the menu. Please note that users must have admin credentials to access a channel’s analytics data.

YouTube offers quite a bit of view data laid out in tabular from as well as graphs. In case you do not have a channel yet or never peaked at your subscriber trends. Here is a list of what is available:



  • Realtime
  • Revenue reports
  • Revenue
  • Ad rates

Watch time reports

  • Watch time
  • Audience retention
  • Demographics
  • Playback locations
  • Traffic sources
  • Devices
  • Translations

Engagement reports

  • Subscribers
  • Likes and dislikes
  • Videos in playlists
  • Comments
  • Sharing
  • Annotations
  • Cards
  • End screens

The best stats that a new YouTube channel can use to grow their channel are the watch time reports. Navigate over to the “Watch Time Reports” heading. The first report in this section is called “watch time.” This is most important of all. This report tells a YouTube creator how many minutes viewers are sticking around to watch a channel’s content. This report can be adjusted to show data over a variety of durations. I generally have mine set to show me the last 30 days so I can see a running average. However, I like to see how the channel is performing over the last quarter and then year-over-year.

Below the graph of watch time is a table of data containing the watch time for each video and number of views for each video in your channel. This is another critical data view. This will give a creator a solid view of what content is resonating with their audience. It can also be used to get ideas for new content.

Average view time is in the far right column. View time and average view time tell video creators quite a bit. First, this report shows if viewers are bouncing. No, this data view does not show a bounce breakdown the way Google Analytics does, but it does show time spent on the video – equivalent to time on page in GA. This is important because it essentially indicates that a video is boring, optimized poorly, or possibly targeted at the wrong audience.

Another thing view time is useful for is where to place cards and annotations. I’ve covered both of these in blog post and video format. The crux is, if you know your average watch time is less than two minutes, you’re links or messaging had best occur before that mark!

I’m not purporting that watch time is all you need to manage a channel, but for growing a new channel, it truly is a ton of extremely useful information packed in to one data view. There are similarities between Mama Google Analytics and YouTube Analytics. YouTube Creators can now see their channel stats in real time! We can see that videos are being watched, what country viewers are in as well as their device used and even the operating system!

Are there any upcoming updates to YouTube Analytics? Well we already have two. The newest additions to the analytics section are Translations and End screens. I covered end screens in a previous post. I expect that YouTube annotations will probably be deprecated eventually and we will all be forced to use end screens. I do sue end screens on a few videos but for the most part, I am using both cards and annotations. They are wonderful for branding and increasing watch time if. That’s a big “if!” Are your viewers are sticking around until the end of your videos? Watch times can tell you!

I can see in my watch time that viewers tune out as before those last 40 seconds where end screens begin so for now, I’m using annotations, cards in in-video captioning to increase conversions!