7 YouTube Analytics Reports That Improve YouTube Ad Performance

YouTube Analytics are often a neglected source of rich data that can help us tame the chaos that is YouTube. The reports are broken down into three main areas: Earnings Reports, Views Reports, and Engagement Reports. The Earnings reports house data for the YouTube partnership program, if the channel is opted in for monetization and are less useful in advertising endeavors than the other two sections.

The Views and Engagement reports are a great place to gain additional insights to drive your YouTube advertising strategies. They house information about the channel’s viewership and content resonation with that viewership.

YouTube Analytics Views Reports provide data on, well, views. This data is specific to the consumption of your video content, who’s viewing your content, and where viewing is taking place.

Demographics Reports:

What they are:
The demographic reports provide insights into viewership makeup including breakdowns for location, age, and gender.

Why they’re useful:
Knowing who is viewing your video content is incredibly insightful to ensure you are reaching your target audience as well as digging up weak areas to focus on for audience growth.

For example, if you find that your overall channel viewership tends to skew male, dig into the female demographic and find out where you should focus to expand viewership among this audience. Are you hitting the female audience at a certain age or location? Use this information to create new video content that speaks directly to this audience for use in your YouTube advertising campaigns.


It’s also important to track demographic data over time. Once you have baseline data on the existing viewership and a goal for moving the demographic needle, you can track demographics over time to see if your advertising efforts are effective in building your target audience.

Source Reports:

What they are:
The source reports are broken down into two sets of reports: Playback Locations and Traffic Sources. These reports let you know where your content is being viewed. You can see YouTube pages and embedding sites in the Playback Locations report and external sites and YouTube features that link viewers to videos in the Traffic Sources Report.

Why they’re useful:
These reports allow YouTube advertisers to see where videos are most likely to be watched. Whether or not you should set videos to be viewed on watch pages or channel pages for in-display and in-search efforts. They also tell you which videos are getting watched the most in YouTube Search and YouTube Suggested modules. This video content may be ideal to use as ad creative for in-search campaigns.

You can also find useful information for expanding overall display strategy by looking at external sites that are promoting your video content.

Audience Retention Reports:

What they are:
Audience Retention is broken down into two main reports: Absolute Retention and Relativize Retention. Absolute retention shows which parts of a video people are watching and which parts of a video people are abandoning. Relative retention shows your audience engagement compared to other videos of similar length on YouTube.

Why they’re useful:
Ad copy requires testing and refinement in all aspects of digital advertising and video ads are no different. As you gather performance metrics on your video campaigns you must continue to refine your ad copy and conduct subsequent ad copy tests. The absolute retention reports help you with this by providing data on which parts of the video people are re-watching, skipping past, or abandoning. This is direct feedback from your viewers about the resonance of your content and should be considered in the content optimization phase of testing in terms of content topic, presentation style, pace, tone, length, etc.

Absolute retention reports are also useful for gauging a video’s effectiveness in true-view campaigns. Significant dips within the first few seconds of a video can tell you that your audience’s expectations are not being met by the video content and thus most users will skip past this video if it is used in a true-view campaign. Great for cutting costs, but not so great for getting your message out there for consumption.


YouTube Analytics Engagement Reports provide data on interactions with your videos beyond retention, providing data on our call-to-action overlays, shares, likes and dislikes, comments, and subscribership. These reports provide data and insights into the social or communal aspects of YouTube.

Call-to-Action Reports:

What they are:
This report is more familiar to the PPC crowd. The Call-to-Action Overlay reports provide click through rates of our Call-to-Action overlays.

Why they’re useful:
Call-to-Action overlays are a great way to include links to your website or other property where you’d like to funnel viewers to complete a conversion beyond viewing the video content. Data can be broken down by geo and is a great help to refine overlays and increase conversion rates of your YouTube campaigns.


These reports are also great for digging up additional geos to target based on actual call-to-action response rates.

Subscribers Reports:

What they are:
The Subscribers reports show you information about your subscribership rates; which videos people are subscribing and unsubscribing from the most and what percentage of our views result in subscribers.

Why they’re useful:
Subscribership rates for each video are useful for determining which videos are delivering high quality content that makes viewers interested in hearing from you again.

Likes and Dislikes Reports:

What they are:
The Likes & Dislikes Reports show you how many viewers give each video thumbs up or down. These are important metrics in determining search results via the YouTube search algorithm.

Why they’re useful:
These provide another useful metric in determining whether or not your video content is providing valuable, interesting content.

Sharing Reports:

What they are:
The Sharing Reports show how many times viewers share each video and where they share it.

Why they’re useful:
Information on which videos are most shareable and where they are being shared is great fodder for building on your social ads strategy.

For example, if you notice that your videos are being shared to Facebook quite often, that could be an indicator that your audience frequents Facebook. If you are not already running Facebook advertising this may be a great way to expand your reach.


YouTube Analytics are a great place to find additional insights to shape and drive not only your YouTube advertising strategies but also your general display and social advertising efforts at well.

Have you played with these reports? What is your favorite report?