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4 YouTube Traffic Sources Offer Insights About Increasing Views

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YouTube metrics

YouTube analytics has a report on traffic sources that reveals where a publisher can increase video views.

In YouTube Studio, click on Analytics in the left column. At the bottom and in the middle, click on See More. On the popup page, click on Traffic Source and scroll down.

More than likely, the four most important YouTube traffic sources will appear somewhat like this order with the most views at the top and the least views at the bottom:

  1. YouTube Search
  2. Suggested Videos
  3. External
  4. Browse Features

The exact order depends on what the publisher does with the channel on a regular basis. For example, if he or she posts videos elsewhere, such as on social media accounts, the External total may be higher. Another external source is the publisher’s own website.

The exact number of views and the impression click-through rates are important YouTube metrics that a publisher can influence.

Growing YouTube Views by Source

Search Views

A good starting point for publishers is a comparison of the number of search views during the most recent period — a full month is ideal — compared the same month of the previous year.

If the number is higher, it means either the publisher has published more videos or the publisher has done a better job of optimizing the videos for search. If the growth in search views isn’t as fast as the growth in the number of videos, the publisher has work to do on YouTube search optimization.

It’s worth nothing that some factors that go into search results are uncontrollable, such as YouTube’s search algorithms. But publishers can influence the results.

Regardless of why search is lagging, the numbers tell publishers to take three steps:

  1. Improve the thumbnail images.
  2. Writer better search-optimized titles.
  3. Write better descriptions, especially the first paragraph that appears in search results.

The critical metric is the impression click-through rate. Ideally, the click-through rate for search should equal or exceed the suggested video rate.

Suggested Videos

YouTube suggested videosA highly optimized video that appears at the top of search results of course will get a high click rate. That same video may not get a high click rate when it is jammed into a long list of other videos.

For that reason, publishers should focus on optimizing for search because they have more control over the results. Likewise, what they do for search will benefit their results for Suggested Videos. The quality of the video also matters because it translates into higher retention rates, more likes, more comments and other factors that boost results.

External Views

Quite a bit of anecdotal evidence from other publishers indicates that embedding videos elsewhere will help more with views than with gaining subscribers.

In this case, publishers may want to place the videos elsewhere and forget about them. Unfortunately, YouTube Analytics can’t track the impression click-through rate because the videos exist on other sites. So publishers can’t judge how well they do.

But high-quality embedded videos still send important signals to YouTube, such as the retention rate. And for publishers who want as many views as possible, embedding offers great opportunities for boosting them.

Browse Features

YouTube defines browse features as “Traffic from the homepage/home screen, the subscription feed, and other browsing features”.

It means that a viewer with an interest in dogs is more likely to see dog videos on the YouTube homepage. But another important browsing feature is commenting.

Publishers who comment on other channels and videos will have their linked username appear with the comment. The link goes back to their channel homepage.

An informative or funny comment increases the odds of an impression click-through rate. Like search, publishers have potential for driving more clicks to their channels.

Unlike search, commenting is a time-consuming and ongoing process that doesn’t have the same impact on views and clicks as search.

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