Paddy Galloway

Paddy Galloway



''YouTube is rigged, I got 10% CTR and great retention...but my video is flopping'' Read this to understand YouTube metrics, once and for all ?

First let’s start with two statements…. 1. You need to hit 10% CTR and 70% retention 2. CTR and retention literally don’t matter Which one of these is a good statement?

Answer: Neither. Let me explain:

CTR (Click-through rate) and AVD (Average view duration) are two of the most important ''performance metrics'' that the YouTube algorithm considers...but

Metrics on YouTube are relative to a number of factors. It's not as simple as saying 10% CTR is better than 8% CTR. Here are some of the main factors that influence these metrics:

So the number you see in YouTube studio has a huge amount of nuance behind it. Let's breakdown an example of each of these factors and how they (often) affect metrics:

1. Increasing impressions/view count Scenario: A video goes super viral, CTR and AVD plummets as the video is pushed to a ''colder audience'' who are less likely to engage. See this graph from a real video, on the days where impressions were highest, CTR fell to it's lowest.

2. Returning vs new viewers Scenario: A video on my channel attracted a lot of returning viewers in the first day, but then went viral with a new audience who hadn't seen my channel before. This graph shows the retention curves for the first day vs the most viewed day:

3. Traffic sources Scenario: One of my clients posted a great video, but the AVD was way lower than usual in the first day. We went to traffic sources and noticed we were getting 30% of our views from external.

4. Video properties Scenario: You make a much longer than average video. This video will of course likely have a longer than average AVD. Longer videos (often) have a lower CTR too, see graph for an example.

So...if these numbers are so influenced by other factors, should we just ignore them? No. I've worked (directly) on over 3 billion views this year, across multiple niches, I look at CTR and retention for every video. They are still a great predictor of success.

Instead, here are some ways to make these metrics useful:

1. Look at views first I've always said views are the?metric (some will argue this) - first thing I do when analyzing a video is look at the view performance, and use this as context for the metrics. (1/2)

Views are comprehensive. They are a function of all the most important things YouTube considers (including CTR and AVD). So start here, then work your way down. (2/2)

2. Always apply critical thinking Use CTR and AVD as information, but not gospel. It's silly to ignore them, but also silly to obsess over them. Think critically when you see X% or Y% - consider the factors we discussed above.

3. Try to apply controls when comparing metrics It's difficult to apply perfect controls with YouTube data, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't try. Examples of some controls I have used in the past:

4. Consider other factors outside of performance metrics A videos' performance is also affected by: - Viewer satisfaction - Seasonality - Supply/demand dynamics - Competition Everyone focuses on their channel, without considering the bigger state of play.

5. Setting goals (without context) can be problematic I like setting goals, but we need to be careful. A while ago my mate @RaptorDaRaptor tweeted that he sees aiming for a higher % (of retention) as a mindset, but not a measurement of success. I like this a lot.

So, in a sentence: ''CTR and AVD are the main performance metrics that the YouTube algorithm considers, they are helpful, but we need to apply context and not just take the number at face value''

There's a lot more detail I could go into, but I need to keep this thread digestible! Want to say thanks to me for sharing this free game? Retweet the top tweet! I'll send one person who does $250 as a Christmas present ?

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