• Justin Patterson

The analytics YouTube creators aren’t tracking but should be

In this article, you’ll learn:

  • Why you should track analytics

  • How YouTube measures fan retention

  • How fan retention should be measured

  • Importance of paying attention to fan retention

  • How Backr can help

Tracking analytics for any business is crucial to success, and this is no different for YouTube content creators. Compared to other social media sites, YouTube provides specific content creator advantages that are not able to be accomplished on other sites. However, as you will read later in this article, in order to understand your fans engagement behaviour, you will have to look at other analytic platforms.

The main reasons for why you should pay attention to analytics are:

1. Understand your Current Audience

If you want to make content that resonates with your viewers, then it’s important to firstly understand your audience. This can be done by looking at traditional analytics, such as, demographic data like age, gender, and location. However, you can also look at how your fans engage on your videos. By looking at what type of comments are on your videos, you will be able to better identify with your audience.

2. Grow Fan Loyalty

Having loyal fans is one of the best ways to not only get word-of-mouth advertising, but also ensure your viewers are supporting additional promotions you offer, such as merchandise, Patreon, or other donations. One of the best ways to get loyalty is to measure the engagement of your “top fans." By recognizing who your top fans are, content creators will be better positioned to ensure they are spending their time replying to comments of their most loyal viewers.

How YouTube Measures Fan Retention

Audience retention is defined by YouTube as “a measurement of how many people are still watching your video during your video playback. It also shows you when viewers stop watching.” In layman’s terms this means, how long are people watching your videos and when do they stop watching. This can be useful for content creators to gauge what parts of your video’s viewers enjoy and don’t enjoy or whether your videos are too long in length.

However, viewing fan retention with this definition can provide challenges to take actionable steps. Spikes and dips in viewership across the length of your video could be for a number of different reasons, which makes it difficult to pinpoint why exactly it is happening. Due to this, viewing fan retention in another way can allow content creators to come up with better strategies to increase this key metric.

How Fan Retention should be Measured

Another way to think about audience retention should be: how can content creators increase their number of repeat fans. A repeat fan can be described as someone who repeatedly engages with your videos, whether that be by viewing, commenting or liking the videos the content creator produces.

There are two main ways in which content creators will be able to increase fan retention:

1. How many fans you have retained over a certain period of time

To measure your fans retention there is no better way to do so than looking at engagement data of your fans and see if they are continuing to engage with your channel over an extended period of time. For example, if you see that your channel’s growth rate is 20% in one year, you may think to yourself that this is a great sign. However, if you then look to see your fan retention rate for the same year is significantly lower, at 2%, you know something isn’t working.

If you are seeing a lot of growth, but a lot of your fans begin to engage with your channel and eventually tend to stop, this could be a sign that they aren’t feeling connected to your channel. This can be easily fixed by prioritizing engaging back with your audience. Simply commenting back to your fan’s comments can go a long way in getting them to continue to engage with your videos in the future. By converting viewers into loyal fans and in turn, increasing your fan retention rate, they will be more likely to share your videos with their friends and purchase additional offerings.

Before we go any further, it is important to firstly identify the type of fans you already have, which is talked about next.

2. Identify new and trending fans

One of the most important steps a content creator can take in order to increase their fans engagement is to segment their audience. There are four different segments that viewers can be segmented into: a top fan (long-time supports who engage with your videos regularly), new fan (new viewer who engaged for the first time), trending fan (a viewer who has started to engage recently), or re-engaged fan (long-time viewer who just started to engage again).

By seeing what segment is commenting on your video, you will be able to better handle how to reply to their comment. Whether that be by welcoming a new fan to the community or talking about a previous video topic with a top fan. By doing this you will be encouraging fans to increase their engagement on future videos, which will not only increase your fan retention, but also make your audience feel more connected to you.

Why is this Important?

It is very common for content creators to only worry about how many total views they are getting or looking at metrics like watch time. Both of these are important in getting awareness about your channel out there. However, what’s more important is getting viewers to engage with your videos and then from there, analyzing what category of fan they fall into. Whether that be a top fan, new fan, trending fan, or a re-engaged fan. Once you see what category your viewers fall in, you will be better positioned to handle each group, with the goal of leading them to become top fans.

By engaging with your viewers in ways that will appeal to them, you are able to make them feel comfortable talking about your channel with their friends, sharing your content to their following, and getting them to purchase merchandise or other additional purchases from you. Once all of this occurs, your viewers are much more likely to become loyal, life-long followers, who will support not only your videos, but additional content you put out as well.

Now this is the true meaning of “audience retention”! With YouTube being as competitive as it is, standing out from other creators can be more difficult than just making different kinds of videos than them. By utilizing the analytics talked about in this blog and figuring out how to retain your loyal fans will be the difference in the growth your channel sees.

How can you do this?

As great as YouTube analytics is at providing a variety of insights, it doesn’t give creators a deeper look into their audience and understand how individual fans are engaging with their content. The only platform that not only categorizes content creator’s fans, but also provides key insights into your engagement rate and how that affects fans loyalty, is Backr. Backr also combines all your comments across all social media platforms in one easy to use inbox, which allows content creators to save time by not having to reply to comments across Instagram, Twitter and YouTube separately.

The analytics talked about throughout this blog post are the core of Backr. If increasing your audience retention seems like a good idea for your channel’s growth, then sign up for a free demo here!


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