Mar 21, 2017

How to measure the performance of your YouTube campaign with Google Analytics & Google Ads

By Supermetrics

Google AdsGoogle AnalyticsPerformance Marketing AnalyticsWeb AnalyticsYouTube

[ Updated Mar 21, 2017 ]

10-MINUTE READ · By Tina Arnoldi on March 21 2017.

If you already have business videos or the capability to create video content, YouTube can bring you a lot of traffic for very little money. But keep in mind this audience will be different than those coming from other marketing channels and you may discover short attention spans with the content you publish. So how do you know if your YouTube campaigns bring a positive ROI?

There are multiple ways to view the performance of your YouTube Campaign and I covered some of these basic metrics in an earlier post: Measuring the performance of your YouTube Campaign. In this continuation, I’ll provide additional ways to measure your campaign performance in Google AdWords and Google Analytics.

The goals of your campaign will determine which metrics to monitor in YouTube, AdWords, or Analytics and suggested metrics for each goal type are provided below.

YouTube campaign goals

Google AdWords video metrics

View performance

In your Google AdWords account, you will see raw numbers of views in addition to the view rate which advertisers are already familiar with. View rate is similar to the CTR for clicks and impressions on your other ad types. This will also show the average amount you pay when viewers watch your videos or engage with your ad. You can see the maximum costs for views, similar to the maximums you see for clicks with your search ads. These metrics indicate how many people are becoming aware of your brand.

YouTube view performance

Once viewers are aware of you, you want them to take the next step beyond viewing by clicking on your ad. Engagement includes clicking on cards on your video or your call-to-action overlay. Earned views also measure YouTube engagement because it indicates people watched other videos on your channel after seeing this initial video ad. Even better, some may choose to subscribe so you know they want to hear and see more from you. And of course likes are nice, but shares are even better.


Reach is how many people viewed your ad and how often your ad was shown to each person (as determined by cookies). You can also see how many times it was viewed for each viewer.

Video playtime (watch rate)

This measures how much of your video was viewed in quartiles: 25%, 50%, 75%, and 100%. If viewers rarely make it past that first quartile, it does not mean completing scrapping the video. You may be able to edit what you have into a shorter run time.

Segments – network

On which network are your videos being displayed? Video Discovery ads (formerly known as In-Display ads) are shown next to related videos or in a YouTube search results page. In-stream ads are shown on YouTube as well as the Google Display Network. Since these are very different networks, you want to know if one format is better than the other both in terms of cost as well as views.

YouTube segments

Segments – mobile users

What about device type? Is there a difference in cost and views depending on whether the video was viewed on a computer, mobile device or a tablet? If most users view your video ads on a mobile device, you want sharp images that will stand out on a smaller screen.

YouTube segments: mobile users

Review the video targeting tab

If you are new to YouTube advertising or perhaps a little uncertain about your exact audience, you will want to target a broader group initially. As you gather campaign performance data, you may want to add or exclude demographics. Similarly, you may discover interesst, placements, or affinity groups to add or exclude. These metrics are all available in the Video targeting tab of your AdWords campaign.

video targeting tab on YouTube

That’s a lot of data available to you as an advertiser. We have data in YouTube. We have data in AdWords. Do we also need yet another place for data in Google Analytics? Yes. Because nothing we do in marketing happens in a vacuum. We use multiple channels and strategies to reach our prospects and we want to understand how our marketing channels may work in conjunction with each other.

Google Analytics video metrics

YouTube visitors

This is a simple metric in Google Analytics and a good starting place available under Acquisition. Who learned of your web site from YouTube (New visitors) compared to your other channels? You can drill into Video Campaigns specifically or compare it in the context of all your existing AdWords Campaigns.

Google Analytics video metrics

YouTube referrals

Remember that YouTube is a social channel. So while you will want to review this in the context of your AdWords campaign in Google Analytics, also compare it to the other social channels you use to drive traffic – both paid and unpaid – as well as other referral sources. From here, you can view basic engagement metrics as well as also conversions. For example, do your YouTube visitors complete the goal of signing up for your email newsletter?

Multi-channel funnels

You may not see direct conversions with your YouTube visitors, such as immediate email newsletter sign-ups. Visitors may come to your site but not complete a desired action during the first visit. With Multi-Channel Funnels, you can see the visitor’s journey through your website and the influence of video. By understanding the impact of each marketing channel compared to the others, you can make better decisions about how to budget moving forward.

multi-channel funnels


Determining the purpose of your paid YouTube campaign will guide your decisions about what to measure. And these metrics are available in multiple places: YouTube Analytics, AdWords, and Google Analytics. Start with YouTube Analytics to see how your videos perform on their own, not compared against your other channels. Next spend some time in AdWords to view how paid campaigns are contributing to your goals and bringing a positive ROI.

Finally, explore YouTube performance in Google Analytics to determine how your marketing channels work together, keeping in mind that a YouTube campaign will likely bring different results than your other marketing channels and explore that data with the goal of brand awareness. Of course, brand awareness does not immediately translate into revenue, but website visitors do need to first hear about you before doing business with you so brand awareness is a worthy pursuit.

About Tina Arnoldi

Tina Arnoldi is Analytics and AdWords Qualified and one of the few people in the United States recognized as a Google Developer Expert(GDE) for marketing. Her agency, 360 Internet Strategy, is also a Google Partner. You can learn more about her on LinkedIn

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