Is Anybody Watching? With YouTube Analytics it’s not a question about the number of views but viewer retention

Do you post videos to YouTube?

I have to tell you that the “Analytics” tools on YouTube are amazing!

If you post videos they are a must as they take you well beyond the basic “views” and “likes” numbers.  If you want to know for example if your message is getting out there, pay particular attention to Absolute and Relative Audience Retention.

These two simple yet powerful reports tell you how many viewers who start to watch a video are still there at the end and how this compares to all other YouTube videos of the same length.  Or to put it another way, if 100 people are watching at the beginning how many are still tuned in when the final frame plays.

This is an important metric because basing a video’s success solely on the number of views can be misleading, especially if 90% of viewers stop watching after the first 15 seconds.  By the way, the 15 second mark appears to be a key point according to the folks at YouTube because this is when most people click off.

Of course a picture is worth a thousand words as they say . . . or in this case a video (yes I know – bad pun), so here are the screen shots of what the reports look like.

Example 1 – Absolute Retention

(NOTE: Absolute audience retention helps you see how often each moment of your video is being watched as a percentage of total views. Rewinding and re-watching can result in values higher than 100%. More info)

In terms of audience retention inspirational Soapbox author Kimberlie Dykeman‘s message seemed to resonate with the audience at key points throughout her video (refer to the spikes of the Absolute Retention graph).

Understanding what those points of connection are is a key benefit of the YouTube Analytics tools . . .

Click here to view the video

Example 2 – Relative Retention

(NOTE: Relative audience retention shows your video’s ability to retain viewers during playback by comparing it to all YouTube videos of similar length. More info)

In this particular segment which features an interview with government contracting expert Judy Bradt, the retention graph shows that the longer viewers watched the video the more viewers it retained . . . in fact its numbers in this regard are above YouTube’s average.

This indicates that the message struck a chord with the majority of viewers.

Click here to view the video

Example 3 – Absolute Retention

What about commercials? How well do they play on YouTube as opposed to traditional television?

The following 60 second spot promoting the then new 49th Parallel Forum radio show with Jim Bouchard held more than 90% of all viewers from start to finish.

Click here to view the video

Example 4 – Relative Retention

Does including video excerpts or news clips help increase retention?

This segment of close to 8 minutes in length promoting an interview with healthcare expert Jeff Knott, also featured a news video excerpt from PBS.

Like the government contracting video mentioned earlier, this segment also demonstrated a trend in which the longer the video was viewed the more viewers it retained.

Click here to view the video

Armed with these powerful analytics tools who is tuning in (or tuning out) of your videos?

With just a simple click of a button you can get this as well as other information that is critical to your success on YouTube.


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