How to measure engagement on YouTube


Written by on Thursday, September 20, 2012

Are you still counting views to determine your video return on investment? Then it’s time to update your metrics. Online marketing is all about engagement. But how do you measure it?

In my previous post I explained how YouTube analytics can be used to find out where the audience is coming from. But we can also use it to measure how engaged they are.

1. Total viewer interactions

The easiest way to measure engagement is to count total viewer interactions. Add the likes, comments, favorites and shares together. Divide by the number of views, and you have a measure of how many of your viewers are engaging with your content. The higher the percentage, the better.

2. Audience retention

Time spent is another powerful measure of engagement. There’s unfortunately no standardized measure for this in YouTube analytics, but if you look at the absolute audience retention, you get an idea. In the example below, we can see that 75% watched the first 15 seconds, 45% watched half of the video and, 25% of the viewers watch the video until the end.

3. Annotation click-through rate

If you are using annotations at the end of the video to emphasize your call-to-action, the annotation metrics can be a useful guide to your audience’s engagement. In the example below, you can see that only 0.82% of the annotation impressions resulted in a click. A high close rate means your annotations are annoying the viewers.

Audience engagement is an essential metric as it helps us measure the quality of the traffic. YouTube analytics makes it really easy to track engagement, so there’s no excuse not to. When you feel ready to take your analytics to the next level, it is time to start thinking about conversions. In my next post I will show you how to use Google Analytics to track conversion rates from YouTube.