Which video metrics really matter? Here’s your tracking list

by | Mar 20, 2018 | Analysis, Public Relations

Ask any video wizard and they will tell you that the real magic of video lies in metrics. Because metrics help you gauge your audience’s reaction towards your content, this analysis equips you with information which you can use to craft better video content.

But what are the metrics that really matter?

Can a good view count be equated with success or do we need to look beyond?

To ease your video journey by planting the right milestones in the right places, we have curated a tracking list for you:

1. Watch time

Watch time reflects the time for which the viewer is engaged with the video.

Video views remained a very important metric till January but with the introduction of new requirements in the Youtube Partner Program, watch time has gained more significance. Channels now need to have more than 4000 watch hours in the past 12 months to qualify for YPP.

With watch time becoming the most important Youtube metric, it has become clear that the video landscape is now more focused on engagement than just clicks.

Which video metrics really matter? Here's your tracking list


While views still remain an important metric, they are superficial when seen in isolation (Youtube counts a view if the user stays around till 30 seconds).

Now that Youtube has started to prioritise videos with higher watch times and give them more visibility in the related videos section, it makes sense to place this metric at the top of your tracking list.

  • Where to track?
  • Your account (top right) > Creator Studio
  • Analytics (left bar) > Watch time

2. Audience Retention Report

The audience retention report helps you understand retention in absolute and relative terms.

Absolute retention is reflected by details like average view duration, audience retention data for different time frames of videos.

Relative retention compares your video’s performance to the Youtube average of similar videos. This goes beyond your individual video performance to help you understand how your video is competing against others.

  • Where to track?
  • Your account (top right)> Creator Studio.
    Analytics (left bar) > Audience retention.

3. Subscribers

The subscribers report offers insight on the number of followers you have gained and lost. This report details out this information under three tabs: source, geography, date.

It highlights the content that is bringing more viewers and the one that is causing viewers to leave. Additionally, with geographical response coming into the picture, it also helps you understand the cultural sensitiveness of your content.

Understanding subscriber behavior is crucial because subscribers tend to engage more with your videos than an average user; this means more watch time.

Improving subscribers’ experience therefore boosts your watch time and as a result, you earn more visibility.

  • Where to track?
  • Your account (top right)> Creator Studio.
    Analytics (left bar) > Subscribers

4. Drop-off Point

A drop-off point is like a pitfall. It indicates the exact point where viewers leave the video.

This metric really matters because it gives you the parts of video which make people leave thereby helping you locate common drop-off’s and fix them.

It also offers you optimal positions for placement of CTA. If in a 2 minute video, the drop-off occurs largely between 1:21 and 1:30, then your CTA must be placed before this time window starts.

  • Where to track?
  • Your account (top right)> Creator Studio.
  • Analytics (left bar) > Audience retention.

Which video metrics really matter? Here's your tracking list


5. Bounce rate

With more and more videos finding a place on the landing page (because they increase chances of appearing on first page of SERP by 53%), the necessity of understanding the effectiveness of this placement has risen. And this is where bounce rate comes in.

Bounce rate represents the number of users who leave your website without engaging with or navigating to other pages on your site. Adding a video on the page makes for a great engagement trigger. RankWatch, a SaaS marketing intelligence tool tested out different versions of the landing page. The page with an explainer video generated more engagement. Visitors stayed on the page and watched the video, helping the site’s bounce rate drop from 62% to 35%.

Which video metrics really matter? Here's your tracking list


If a video hasn’t lowered the bounce rate or if it is still the same as it was without video, then your landing page strategy isn’t working.

While bounce rate is actually a page metric and not a video metric, it is the key metric to track. It doesn’t just help you understand your video’s engagement powers, it also reveals the non-video causes that might be hampering your video’s performance; like page load time, landing page design etc.

6. Play rate

Which video metrics really matter? Here's your tracking list

Your video’s play rate is largely affected by your video’s placement, size and thumbnail.

If your thumbnail isn’t engaging enough or the video size is too large or too small, the play rate falls. So when it does happen, you know that the problem is in one of the above.

Tracking this metric is useful as it highlights some of the basic design mistakes that cause your video to go unnoticed or to make it appear too loud (because of size).

Wistia advises a moderate size of 401 pixels x 600 pixels.

7. Social Engagement Metrics

Depending on the platform being used, the metrics, their relevance and tracking techniques vary.

But some metrics of social video success remain common across all platforms: likes, comments and shares.

These values help you gauge your audience’s response to your content. Additionally, comments go beyond numbers and help you determine if the response is positive or negative.

Track these metrics to see how video is impacting your social report card.


Video isn’t just a Youtube video anymore. Businesses are increasingly turning to videos and bringing them to their websites, social profiles and advertising strategies. So with the power that videos bestow on us, there comes greater responsibility—to track, analyze and use this analysis to modify future video strategies. While there are many more video metrics which also offer useful information, these are the key metrics that should not be missed.


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