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YouTube Impression Click-Through Rate

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YouTube metrics

The YouTube impression click-through rate offers useful insights about the effectiveness of a video’s title, thumbnail image and text description.

The click rate is also a measure of how much YouTube visitors value the content of the video.

Video publishers can find the impression click-through rate by going into YouTube Analytics and clicking on Channel Analytics on the right side. Scroll down and click on See More in the middle of the page.

The next page will show each video as well as views, view duration and percentage viewed. The impression click-through rate does not show by default. Scroll back up and click on “Select secondary metric”, “more metrics” and “impression-click through rate” under the Reach heading.

YouTube describes the click rate this way:

“Views per impressions shown. This measures how often viewers watched a video after seeing an impression. Wondering whether your Impressions click-through rate is high or low?”

The default time period for the metrics is 28 days. But a better time period is 90 days to get rid of anomalies from seasonal impacts and other factors.

The resulting data is likely to show some variations from one video to another. For example, the small channel that this company produces has rates ranging from 7 percent to 11 percent over a recent 90-day period with an average of about 9 percent.

What is a good YouTube impression click rate? YouTube gives the answer: “Half of all channels and videos on YouTube have an impressions CTR that can range between 2% and 10%.” The statement suggests that a 6 percent click rate is about average.

How to Improve the YouTube Click Rate

The experience of this company with a small channel offers some useful insights. The channel has 14 travel videos that focus on a similar topic but for different locations.

The titles and descriptions are similar in content. The thumbnails have the same design, although the photos are different.

But their click-through rates vary quite a bit. So what causes the variations?

One obvious answer is the thumbnail photos. Most of the photos have bright colors, but the worst performing video has dull colors. The other video with a low click rate also had a photo with a dull set of colors. They strongly suggest that bright colors help attract attention. It also points out the importance of the thumbnail photoso.

The subject of the thumbnail image isn’t that important because of its small size, especially if a video title is imposed over the image. There are a few exceptions about the importance of image subjects. Babies, animals (especially dogs) and attractive women in bikinis for travel videos are popular photo subjects.

Better Images Increase Click Rates

When I replaced the thumbnails for the two worst performers, their click rates increased by 1.0 percent and 1.6 percent respectively.

It’s important to keep in mind the impact of competition on click rates. A video at the top of search results will have higher click rates than the second-highest video if that second video has similar content, title and other factors. This click behavior by visitors is no different than how they behave with search engines.

The first poor performer above is ranked No. 1 in YouTube search results for its critical keyword phrase. But it has three direct competitors. The No. 2 video has a much brighter color and appears to be attracting a growing number of clicks since it first appeared.

So even when a video gets the top spot, it will have the same impressions on a desktop computer as the second-ranked video. But there are no guarantees the top spot will deliver the highest impression clickthrough rate.

Video publishers who don’t have a video in the top spot should experiment with more enticing headlines and thumbnails.

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