How to Better Understand Watch Time Performance on Your Channel

Hello Insiders! Today we’re talking about steps you can take to better understand a drop in watch time performance on your channel.

Check it out and leave us your comments and questions below!


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— Hello, Insiders.

Today we’re gonna talk about one

of the most important
questions of all-time,

how to understand and how to analyze

your video and channel performance.

Over the past few years,

we’ve been adding a lot
of tools and insights

and YouTube analytics,

but we also heard
feedback that you want us

to walk you through steps

for diagnosing your video
and channel performance

on your own.

So today we’re gonna talk
about watch time decline

and how to understand what’s
happening with your channel.

Let’s get into it.

First, you need to understand
whether it’s a single video

that’s causing the drop or
it’s a group of popular videos.

For example, it might be the
case that one popular video

is experiencing decline in watch time

and is dragging total
channel watch time down.

If one specific video has
suddenly dropped in watch time

while others are performing well,

you can look at other factors.

For example, if it was a recent upload

and after a spike in performance,

the video’s experiencing
a drop-off, it’s normal.

It is typical to get most of watch time

in the first few days.

Make sure the video is
still set to public.

Sometimes, an accidental flip
will obviously cause a drop.

And third, you probably want to check

if the video was recently claimed.

Because a claim might block
your video in all countries

or in several countries.

If your channel watch time has
been gradually dropping off,

you might want to answer
the following questions.

Question number one,

did anything change?

Did you change thumbnails,
titles, content?

Changes in content strategy can lead

to dramatic changes in your performance.

For example, I saw a
channel where creators

changed thumbnails for
the most popular playlists

and it almost killed the watch time.

Viewers didn’t recognize their content

and didn’t watch their
content as a result.

Question number two,

during what time did you
notice a performance drop?

So for example, you always
need to expand your date range

to get a better understanding
of your typical performance.

It’s a typical mistake
to analyze performance

at a micro level.

It’s best to look at
performance over time,

as channels are highly volatile,

and during the day,

your performance might
experience volatility

up to 40 to 60%.

How can you check this?

Go to Creator Studio
analytics overview tab,

expand main graph,

keep selected for watch
time, select date range,

last 365 days or last
year in the drop-down.

What should you look for?

Think of this as a sanity check.

Is performance truly dropping dramatically

or has it already hit
lows like this previously?

Did you recently have
a spike in watch time

and now your video performance
is just normalizing?

Question number three,

is there any seasonality involved?

Each channel has unique audience

and seasonality can
have significant impact

on how much time people
are spending on YouTube.

Know this can be challenging to measure

if you’re a new channel, but don’t worry.

In some time, you also will be able

to compare to make this
period-over-period comparisons.

How can you do this?

Go to watch time reports, watch time,

date range this year,

add comparison, date range last year,

or simply use quick
period-over-period comparison option.

Question number four, how
frequently do you upload?

Change in video uploads can
directly impact watch time,

and audiences can grow accustomed

to consuming content regularly.

If you change your upload schedule,

it’s normal that you can see a decline

in watch time over time.

So how can you check this.

Go to your YT Deep Dive and
select videos published.

There, you can see how
many videos you published

in the past 30 days, in the past year,

and you can compare if something
changed over that period.

Question number four,

how do you perform among your subscribers?

So how to check this data?

Go to audience tab in YouTube analytics

and select watch time
from subscribers card.

Or go to YT Deep Dive, traffic sources,

select browse features, subscriptions,

and view single line graph.

Ask yourself, "Is there a decline

in subscribers’ watch time?"

If so, probably your new
content isn’t as engaging

as your previous videos.

And lastly, review Google Trends.

So our recommendation
system follow the audience

and reflect action of viewers.

If viewers lose interest
in a channel or a topic,

the content is less
likely to be recommended

in tabs like home or suggested.

So use Google Trends for that.

First of all, go to your
YouTube analytics report,

traffic sources, select search
for a selection of keywords

to use in Google Trends,

and then to go Google

Search keywords and expand
date range to last five years

and filter for YouTube search.

Ask yourself, are your
brand terms or channel name

declining in popularity or maybe the topic

that you are reviewing is
declining in popularity?

This is quite a frequent
case for gaming channels

when popularity of some games can go down,

and therefore, popularity of
the channel also goes down.

These are a few ways you
can better understand

what’s happening with your channel,

what’s causing a drop
in channel performance.

And let us know if it was helpful

and if you have any specific
questions in the comments.

Keep it real.


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