What is RealTime Analytics and how do you use it? Which key metrics measure your engagement rate on YouTube? How do you use YouTube Analytics Audience Retention for a single video? We answer these questions and more this week on ReelSEO TubeTalk: YouTube Video Marketing Tips, with your hosts:

Tip #1: How To Use the Realtime Analytics Feature

Tim Schmoyer says that it can be frustrating to put a lot of work into a YouTube video and then have to wait a couple of days for YouTube Analytics to tell you how the video is doing. YouTube has found a way to offer channels some info with Realtime Analytics, which gives an estimated view of what’s happening. These are not verified views, and the data may change. If it’s a very popular video, YouTube pegs the public viewcount at 301+ until the verification has taken place.

The video viewcount is an important currency on YouTube that they take very seriously as far as gaming the system with invalid clicks, autoplays or embedded views. To find Realtime Analytics you go to the main YouTube Analytics page in the Creator Studio and it’s on the left under Overview.

Matt Ballek says the 301+ viewcount is a somewhat arbitrary number set up by the original YouTube programmers. Instead of verifying every single video on YouTube, they only verify the large viewcount videos. Dane Golden calls it a holding reference point where YouTube says there’s a boatload of views coming in on this, and for now we don’t know if they’re legitimate or not but we’ll tell you later. It’s an attempt to prevent people from gaming the system to gain the prestige of high, but inaccurate, viewcounts.

Tip #2: Which Metrics Measure Engagement Rate on YouTube?

Dane Golden was interviewed by Tim for the ReelSEO YouTube channel during a break at the ReelSummit. Dane spoke about hist three key ratios for success. You don’t need to look in YouTube Analytics for these, just look on the YouTube page. In fact you can track any video, not just your own, using these metrics. Dane looks at ratios to determine success, with the belief that if you get good engagement ratios at a lower viewcount, those will be extrapolated as your audience grows. In fact, those engagement metrics will help you get a larger audience.

Comments to Views

The first ratio is comments to views. Or comments divided by views. The ratio is 0.5%. Meaning half a comment for each 100 views, or 5 comments per 1,000 views, or 5,000 comments per million views. If people are not commenting enough, they’re not engaged enough. So your content needs to be starting conversations in the comments, and you need to be responding to your commenters.

Likes to Views

The second ratio is likes to views, or likes divided by views. The ratio is 4%. So that’s 4 likes per 100 views or 40 per 1,000, or 40,000 likes per 1 million views. If you’re not getting this percentage and you want to grow your channel, you’re going to have to make videos that resonate more with the audience.

Views per Subscriber

The third ratio is views per subscriber. This tells me how engaged your subscriber base is in what you’re currently producing. The ratio is 14%. That means you can probably expect around 14 views per 100 subscribers, or 140 per 1,000 or 140,000 views per million subscribers. For instance if it’s too low, you may have a lot of subscribers who subscribed at one time, but they lost interest in your channel for some reason. Perhaps you’re not consistent with your channel, or maybe you’ve changed the content and they’re not interested anymore. Or maybe you’ve got a channel aimed at teenagers but your fans have grown up and found new interests.

As an example, Dane took a look at a popular channel, “Cinema Sins,” whose creators edited ReelSEO at one time. He looked at their video “Everything Wrong With The A-Team In 16 Minutes Or Less”.

Cinema Sins Video Metrics

Views: 1,111,457

Comments: 3,122

Comments per view: 0.28%

Likes: 19,456

Likes per view: 1.75%

Subscribers: 3,075,285

Views per Subscriber: 36.14%

So in this case, Dane’s metrics targeting were twice as stringent as they needed to be. Cinema Sins was able to accomplish the targeted views with fewer comments per view and likes per view than he usually recommends. However they have a very engaged viewing audience, with more than twice as many views per subscriber as Dane’s targets. So it’s not a perfect science.

Matt Ballek says that each industry is different, and it’s important to not just benchmark against your competition, but constantly be looking at your own data and seeing how you can improve over time.

Tim Schmoyer responds to every comment on his YouTube channel. It took him a year to grow from zero to 10,000 subscribers, but just eight more months to grow to 25,000. He says that people are more likely to comment on a channel if they see the channel owner responding to comments.

Tip #3: How Do You Measure Audience Retention For a Video?

Matt Ballek says that YouTube’s Audience Retention is an amazing tool that no other video platform gives you. Some video platforms will tell you how many people watched every 25% section of the video, or maybe every 10% section. But YouTube tells you how many people watched every second. From the data nerd standpoint, this is an incredible amount of free data.

If you go into YouTube Analytics and click on Audience Retention, you’ll see your average view duration and view percentage across your entire channel. And if you add the video name in the search bar, you can see the second-by-second watch time on that video. There are two views. The absolute audience retention is how many people have stayed from beginning to end. The “Relative audience retention” tab shows you how your video performs versus other videos of the same length across YouTube. Matt says this is very powerful for clients to understand.

As an example, Matt found in an early VidiSEO video that when he said the word “modules,” his traffic plummeted at that precise moment in the video. So he doesn’t say that anymore. Yet comedic bits can make the viewership spike. You can even get viewership of above 100% in some parts of a video, which indicates that some people will have rewound that segment of the video to watch it again.

Tim Schmoyer says you can see audience retention drop dramatically at the beginning of a video if you have long intros that don’t hook the viewer, or if your video title and thumbnail are not relevant to the content. He says there are plenty of other videos on YouTube and everyone is trigger happy, ready to go watch another video instead of yours.