098 bg
Marketing | 8 minutes read

How do you measure the success of a YouTube video?

Author: Júlia Repelová

11. October 2021

Do you ever wonder why some YouTube videos enjoy viral fame, while others flop? You're not alone! With just so many factors involved, it’s difficult to establish what makes a video successful or not. At Mynd, we like to dive a little deeper…

“But why should I analyse my YouTube video?”, you might ask. If your channel isn't gaining as much momentum as you'd like or expect, you might want to plunge head-first into making more and more videos in the hopes that your channel picks up in time. This might be a mistake and could see you wasting time and money unnecessarily, with little to no benefit to your YouTube success.

It’s easy to forget or neglect to analyse your YouTube video. That’s why we've compiled a list of some useful metrics for you to consider when using a magnifying glass to look closely into the nitty-gritty of your channel. So, what exactly should you look out for

The Watch Report

Ultimately, the success of a YouTube creator depends on a whole variety of metrics. You can assess your metrics in Analytics. It's a compilation of various YouTube statistics which, if analysed properly, can improve your chances of getting your hands on that highly coveted, shiny YouTube plaque. We therefore strongly recommend being aware of and acting upon the useful nuggets of knowledge hidden in the Report.


Analytics (source: neilpatel.com)

Watch Time & Percentage Watched & View Duration & Re-viewings

Watch time is one metric and refers to the amount of time someone is watching your video for. The longer your video is watched, the higher in the suggestion list the algorithm will rank your video. For example, if a viewer watches five minutes of your video, that video will be preferred over a video that has been viewed for two or three minutes.

This leads smoothly on to the next condition on which YouTube judges your work: the average percentage of your video being watched by the average user. This is interpreted by YouTube as keeping your audience interested enough to keep them watching, instead of leaving and choosing another video.

Top Mynd Tip

Inserting the so-called Time Stamps in your videos potentially increases the watchability of a video as the average user can jump into the topic that they are watching the video for.

How to add YouTube timestamp link

The average view duration of a video comes into play when trying to analyse how engaged your audience is. As stated, if your video doesn’t interest a viewer, they will likely click out and select another video. If this happens repeatedly, the algorithm picks up on it and ranks the engagement as low. This could simply mean that the viewer is not your target audience, but more on this later…

Do you have a habit of sometimes watching the same video twice or even multiple times? This clearly shows the reigning king of video sites that you're highly engaged with the topic and possibly going back to re-watch videos, meaning you are either finding the content highly useful or entertaining.

This is highly desirable because when the algorithm decides which videos it will rank higher up in the suggestion list it will select yours. You should always aim for this viewer behaviour and if you rank highly, you should give yourself a pat on the back!

Audience Retention, Unique viewers and Views per Unique Viewers

Similarly, this metric depicts how many people leave the video at each point during watching. This becomes invaluable information for YouTube to rank the viewers' interest levels at various points in the video. Just like at the cinema, your goal is for the audience to stay and watch till the end. If a viewer leaves halfway or part way through, it suggests boredom, disengagement, or even that you haven’t tailored your content to your target audience.

‘Unique Viewers’ sounds a bit strange at first glance but essentially it means monitoring the statistics to assess whether it’s the same viewers watching your videos or different ones.


Audience analytics (source: support.google.com)

Let’s unpack this. This means that if one viewer watches a video three times, it counts as one unique viewer and three views, whereas if three viewers watch a video once, it counts as three views and three unique viewers at the same time.

Views per Unique Viewers measures how many times a viewer, on average, views your video. This metric makes it easier to establish which videos are getting re-watched. This can influence your channel’s future strategy by selecting the most suitable topics for your viewers.

Demographics & Subscriber Stats

This categorises your viewers by age, geography, gender, etc… But how is this helpful?


Demographic analytics (source: neilpatel.com)

Well, knowing your viewer’s age bracket, for instance, means you’re able to plan your content with them in mind. If you’re unsure about what topics or themes interest your audience, it’s never a bad idea to simply ask them! You could do this by asking them to comment on what they’d like to see from you next or even carry out a simple survey to get some answers. Make it easier for yourself and pick, for example, 3 topics you can see yourself covering in your next video and put them to a vote. There’s no need to over-complicate this market research.

Top Mynd Tip

Creating fictional viewer Prototypes can empower you to mind-map your future content. Take a peek here to explore this technique in more detail.

As far as subscribers go, they watch about double the amount as non-subscribers. Therefore, it should always be your top priority to get people on board with your brand and even this simple click can make a huge difference to the overall success of your channel.

Engagement, Click Through Rate and Card click-through rate

Just like on other social media sites, engagement means any type of interaction with the video itself. This could be likes, comments, and / or sharing the video with friends. All these viewer behaviours confirm that the viewers both trust and identify with the brand. After all, who would share a video they didn’t enjoy? It's often the equivalent of sharing experiences we enjoy with loved ones, taking them out to a fantastic dinner in a new restaurant we liked last time or to see a concert of a great band.

Simply put, people share what they identify with. And identifying with your brand should be any YouTube creator's ultimate goal!

This is calculated by how many people click on the video as they see it. No matter where you first view the video in question, whether it is on your homepage or it has been recommended to you as part of the personal customisation, the more people click on your video, the better it is for the overall health of your channel.

When you make a call-to-action (CTA), such as subscribing to the channel or anything else the video suggests, this is recorded. This means that you can easily track your viewers’ preferred actions and therefore cater to their needs in a more planned, targeted way.


This is one the organised, type-A personality types will adore. By sorting through your videos and attaching virtual Post-It notes in the form of Tags, you can create a beautiful library-like playlist. Just like you’d search through library sections for the perfect History book, viewers can sift through videos by topics, collaborations, top tips, or any channel-related content.

The viewing time per playlist and the number of views should top any creator’s to-do list.

Traffic sources & Keyword search

Last but not least, YouTube’s Traffic Report is easily available to be viewed by every creator.

Traffic sources are the places where your video was placed, such as websites or social media sites. This gives an added layer of gold-dust as it allows you to know where your viewers like to hang out and relax when they come home from work (or change rooms when working from home offices) and where they come across your videos.

Moving on, keyword searches are the actual words typed into the search bar. Analysing keywords will give you the insight you need to attract more views. You can lightly sprinkle these highly-searched-for words into your videos if you’re not far off. If there isn’t much overlap between the keywords and your key video topics, you might want to dissect your channel’s strategy or think about whether you might just be making some common mistakes.

All in all, just like a stylist adjusts a bespoke jacket, you should take regular measurements of your channel to really make it fit for purpose! Take care of all its details, sew on any missing buttons, and adjust the hemlines.

Just like a thousand-piece puzzle, in the end all the little pieces come together to form the big picture of your channel. Sometimes it’s the little things that make or break a channel’s success. If you enjoyed this blog post, explore more video-making tricks from Mynd.

You may also like

these articles on Marketing

Knowledge that will help you