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DEEP DIVE ARTICLE TIPS & TRICKS YOUTUBE

Can YouTubers See Who Viewed Their Video?

It’s only natural in today’s data-saturated world to assume that content creators have access to a vast wealth of information about their viewers. And that assumption would be correct; YouTubers can see a great deal of information about the people who watch their content.

YouTubers cannot see who is watching their videos. Most YouTubers would LOVE to see who watched their videos, but this is not possible.

There are many data points for YouTubers to explore, but those data points stop short of telling you things like who is watching, liking, and sharing your content.

Can YouTubers See Who Viewed Their Video?

Of course, when we say YouTubers can’t see who has viewed their video, we just mean that there is no stat or dashboard panel that will show you your recent views, nor is there a link you can click on for a given video that will take you to a list of viewers. There are ways to infer some of your viewers, however.

For example, it is safe to assume that anyone who has commented on a video (and is not obviously spamming) has watched it. It’s not exactly of practical use from a data analysis point of view, but it may be useful in some cases.

What Can YouTubers See?

In terms of names, there are only two significant situations in which a YouTuber can see the who, and those are comments and subscribers.

Comments are a given, as every comment has a username attached to it. Not only that, you can click on them to head of to that user’s YouTube page. If they are also a YouTuber, this is a nice, easy way of getting to their channel if you want to check something out. It’s also sometimes abused by people posting all manner of attention grabbing comments in the sole hope that you will click on their name.

Subscribers are a little more complicated. YouTubers can see who has subscribed to their channel if the user in question has that feature enabled. Users can choose to keep their subscriptions private, which prevents them from showing up in the YouTuber’s subscriber list. They still count towards the total subscribers figure, of course, there’s just no way of knowing who they are.

Can YouTubers See Who Viewed Their Video?

Analytics

If there is one thing that Google is known for… after search… and AdSense… and a veritable graveyard of projects… it’s analytics. Google collects an immense amount of data about the people using its various platforms, and for the people who make Google money, Google likes to make life as easy as possible for them by giving them access to as much of that vast treasure trove of data as possible.

Can YouTubers see who viewed their video? No. But can they see what percentage of their viewers were white men in their mid-thirties residing in England? Absolutely.

A big part of Google’s data collection is anonymisation. Google themselves might not have opted to do things this way if they’d had the choice… but they didn’t have the choice.

So YouTubers can see a great deal of information that gives them insight into the type of person that is watching their video. Essentially, they can see demographics. They can see if the majority of their viewers are male or female, or if they are in the United States, even what device they are watching the videos on.

What the YouTubers do with that information is their own business, but if you are a viewer worrying about what your favourite YouTuber might be able to see about you; don’t worry, there’s no way for them to link any of the data they can see to you.

Why Would YouTubers Need to See Who is Viewing Their Videos?

The truth is; they don’t. This may go a long way to explaining why YouTube don’t let YouTubers see who is viewing their videos, but there really isn’t much benefit, and some of the ways YouTubers might use this information are even negative.

For example, if a YouTuber has been targeting another YouTuber with less-than-friendly behaviour, and finds that their victim has been watching their videos, it could add more fuel to their unsavoury fire.

On the flip side, there is no added value to being able to put usernames and accounts to the analytical data YouTube provides. Knowing that a specific person is watching your content doesn’t give you any significant insight into your channel’s performance, so why bother?

What is YouTube Content ID? 2

What Else Does YouTube Hide?

The names of viewers isn’t the only thing YouTube keeps from its content creators. YouTubers also can’t see the names of people who have liked or disliked their videos. In fact, the only time YouTube is explicit about a like is when the YouTuber themselves clicks the little heart on a comment for their video.

It is also not possible to directly tell who has shared your videos, though this particular metric is quite easy to find through other means, as it involves essentially just searching for links to your video.

Final Thoughts

In today’s privacy-concerned world, where huge corporations are routinely harvesting and selling our data, it’s understandable to be concerned about what information about you is being passed around behind the scenes.

It’s important to remember that, just because YouTube aren’t making your account name available to the YouTubers you watch, they are still collecting vast amounts of data about you, and you have to be comfortable with that if you want to use the platform as a logged-in user.

That being said, the typically unpopular part of this kind of data collection is less about personal safety—after all, your data is anonymised—and more about the fact that the company—YouTube in this case—is profiting from your data. The counter to this, of course, is that you agree to YouTube’s terms of service when you use their platform, and all of this is covered in those terms.

Regardless of the reason for your interest in this topic, we can say confidently that YouTubers cannot see who has viewed their videos.

Top 5 Tools To Get You Started on YouTube

Very quickly before you go here are 5 amazing tools I have used every day to grow my YouTube channel from 0 to 30K subscribers in the last 12 months that I could not live without.

1. VidIQ helps boost my views and get found in search

I almost exclusively switched to VidIQ from a rival in 2020.

Within 12 months I tripled the size of my channel and very quickly learnt the power of thumbnails, click through rate and proper search optimization. Best of all, they are FREE!

2. Adobe Creative Suite helps me craft amazing looking thumbnails and eye-catching videos

I have been making youtube videos on and off since 2013.

When I first started I threw things together in Window Movie Maker, cringed at how it looked but thought “that’s the best I can do so it’ll have to do”.

Big mistake!

I soon realized the move time you put into your editing and the more engaging your thumbnails are the more views you will get and the more people will trust you enough to subscribe.

That is why I took the plunge and invested in my editing and design process with Adobe Creative Suite. They offer a WIDE range of tools to help make amazing videos, simple to use tools for overlays, graphics, one click tools to fix your audio and the very powerful Photoshop graphics program to make eye-catching thumbnails.

Best of all you can get a free trial for 30 days on their website, a discount if you are a student and if you are a regular human being it starts from as little as £9 per month if you want to commit to a plan.

3. Rev.com helps people read my videos

You can’t always listen to a video.

Maybe you’re on a bus, a train or sat in a living room with a 5 year old singing baby shark on loop… for HOURS. Or, you are trying to make as little noise as possible while your new born is FINALLY sleeping.

This is where Rev can help you or your audience consume your content on the go, in silence or in a language not native to the video.

Rev.com can help you translate your videos, transcribe your videos, add subtitles and even convert those subtitles into other languages – all from just $1.50 per minute.

A GREAT way to find an audience and keep them hooked no matter where they are watching your content.

4. PlaceIT can help you STAND OUT on YouTube

I SUCK at making anything flashy or arty.

I have every intention in the world to make something that looks cool but im about as artistic as a dropped ice-cream cone on the web windy day.

That is why I could not live on YouTube without someone like PlaceIT. They offer custom YouTube Banners, Avatars, YouTube Video Intros and YouTube End Screen Templates that are easy to edit with simple click, upload wizard to help you make amazing professional graphics in minutes.

Best of all, some of their templates are FREE! or you can pay a small fee if you want to go for their slightly more premium designs (pst – I always used the free ones).

5. StoryBlocks helps me add amazing video b-roll cutaways

I mainly make tutorials and talking head videos.

And in this modern world this can be a little boring if you don’t see something funky every once in a while.

I try with overlays, jump cuts and being funny but my secret weapon is b-roll overlay content.

I can talk about skydiving, food, money, kids, cats – ANYTHING I WANT – with a quick search on the StoryBlocks website I can find a great looking clip to overlay on my videos, keeping them entertained and watching for longer.

They have a wide library of videos, graphics, images and even a video maker tool and it wont break the bank with plans starting from as little as £8.25 ($9) per month.

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YouTube Analytics Explained And How to Use Them for Channel Growth

There are over five billion videos on YouTube. So, if you’ve been creating videos with clickbait titles in the hope of going viral, you may as well buy a lottery ticket – it’s no plan for channel growth.

Growing a YouTube channel is a long-term venture. Best achieved by regularly uploading quality videos that give your audience more of what they are looking for.

When you are trying to grow, it’s natural to want to compare yourself to other channels, but resist the temptation! YouTube channels exist in viewer bubbles – it’s your unique combination of content, presentation and production values that keeps your viewers watching.

But you don’t nail it every time. So how do you figure out what it is your audience likes most about your channel?  Sure you can keep an eye on your likes, dislikes, and comments, but these don’t give you the full picture.

Fortunately, YouTube provides you with a sharper view, with lots of in-depth analytics about your channel.

This post looks at how you can use your analytics to better understand your audience and how you then use that knowledge to grow your channel.  First, though,  it’s crucial to know how YouTube ranks videos and why clickbait doesn’t work.

Can YouTubers Control Which Ads Are Shown? 5

How YouTube Ranks Videos

Before 2012, YouTube ranked videos based solely on view count.  It didn’t matter if a viewer watched one second or five minutes, both counted as a view.

This led to an increase in YouTubers using clickbait titles to try and game the system.  YouTube had to do something – video content frequently wasn’t delivering on the promise of the title.

So after 2012, Youtube added in watch time and session duration to its ranking algorithm, resulting in an improvement of content quality.  Today, YouTube also puts ranking weight on how engaged viewers are with content.  Relying on things like watch time, likes and dislikes, and subscribes, amongst other factors.

YouTube wants to keep users on the platform, consuming content and viewing paid advertisements.

And did you know that 70% of all videos viewed on YouTube are those suggested by the YouTube ranking algorithm? If you want to grow your channel and appear more in the YouTube recommended video lists, then you need to find out what parts of your content users like most, and plan more of it.

But, before you use your analytics to make content decisions, make sure you have uploaded a minimum of 20-30 videos.  Data on only five or six videos will not be helpful enough to draw conclusions from. So if you have only uploaded a few videos so far, first work on recording and uploading more videos.

Where to Find YouTube Analytics

To access your analytics, first, log in to your YouTube account.  Next in the top right of the screen, click on the small circle showing your profile picture or first initial.  Then, from the drop-down menu, select ‘YouTube Studio’.

YouTube Analytics Explained And How to Use Them for Channel Growth 1

When the channel dashboard loads, on the left-hand menu, select ‘Analytics’.

YouTube Analytics Explained And How to Use Them for Channel Growth 2

The main Analytics screen then loads.

YouTube Analytics Explained And How to Use Them for Channel Growth 3

How to Use YouTube Video Views Analytics.

You may think you know what your audience wants. But, until you see how viewers actually interact with your channel, you can’t be totally sure. To start the process on the main analytics screen, make sure you have the ‘Views’ tab selected and click ‘see more’.

YouTube Analytics Explained And How to Use Them for Channel Growth 4

This loads up a more detailed list of your videos and some headline analytics.  First, make sure that you have all the ‘lifetime’ data of your channel showing by selecting the data function in the top right corner of the screen.

YouTube Analytics Explained And How to Use Them for Channel Growth 5

Then from the drop-down list, select the ‘Lifetime’ option, which will show all the analytics data from the time your channel started.

YouTube Analytics Explained And How to Use Them for Channel Growth 6

Next sort your videos in descending order of views so that your most-watched videos are at the top.

YouTube Analytics Explained And How to Use Them for Channel Growth 7

Use this list to gauge what your audience likes about your channel. Figure out why your popular videos are doing better than ones that fell flat. See if there’s a pattern. Are your most popular videos a hot topic? Maybe useful tutorials or when you live streams.

Whatever the reason, the content of those videos is the kind that your channel viewers find most compelling.  Look for these trends then aim to make more videos like them.

For example, I made a video about how to make a playlist on YouTube which was well received.  When my analytics showed me how popular it was, I created another one, this time showing three ways to make a playlist.

YouTube Impressions and Click-Through Rates Explained.

In the same analytics section as Video Views, further along there are two other columns titled ‘impressions’ and ‘impressions click-through rates’.

YouTube Analytics Explained And How to Use Them for Channel Growth 8

These data in those columns indicate:

Impressions. The number of times a video thumbnail has been seen, either from a search or by YouTube suggestion.

Impressions click-through rate.  The percentage of times a viewer saw your thumbnail and clicked on it to watch your video.

Now, say that your click-through rate is 2%, if you can get that up to 4% then you will double your video viewers.  So the impressions and impressions click-throughs measure how good your thumbnail and titles are.

Re-order your click-through rate column, again by descending order, and take a look at your best performing titles and thumbnails. What makes the top ones stand out from other titles and thumbnails?  Perhaps a thumbnail was well composed, or it could be the title was snappy.

Use this feedback to improve your existing thumbnails and titles, then use what you’ve learned when you create them for your new content too.

If you need help getting started with Thumbnails, why not check out my Thumbnail Pack where I give you 75+ easy to edit psd template files to help you level up your thumbnail game and get more views!

Use Your YouTube Subscribers Analytics to Plan Content

Now let’s take a look at subscriber analytics and how you can use them to grow your channel.  In the same ‘see more’ section you used for the video view count locate the column headed ‘Subscribers’.

Make sure the time period is showing the lifetime data again and order the data in descending order.

YouTube Analytics Explained And How to Use Them for Channel Growth 9

Follow the same process as before and examine the top videos to see what the common factors were. Did they have a certain length, content topic, or presenting style?  Maybe you made a request or showed an extended caption asking viewers to subscribe in a different way to your other videos.

Whatever the factor, plan new content that replicates it.  Whether it’s similar, updated, or complimentary, the analytics are telling you that certain content you make turns a section of your viewers into subscribers. Do it again.

If you make a successful video about knitting a jumper, make one for knitting a hoodie.  If you made one showing how to find a weapon in a game, make one for how to use it.

YouTube Watch Time – The Most Important Metric?

Of course, views and subscribers are essential to understand.  But an arguably more important metric for YouTube is watch time. Watch time is an estimation of total hours spent by viewers watching your videos.

On the main analytics screen, select the tab showing ‘Watch time (hours) then select ‘see more’ at the bottom.

YouTube Analytics Explained And How to Use Them for Channel Growth 10

As I mentioned earlier, YouTube ranks videos, in part, by how long viewers watch videos. Why do they do this? Because it demonstrates how engaging and useful your videos are to your viewers.

It makes sense when you understand that YouTube’s entire business model is to keep people viewing content and adverts on their platform.  It follows then, that channels which get good overall watch time are more likely to show up for searches, or in a selection of videos that YouTube recommends.

So, if you are getting click-throughs and good view counts, but people aren’t watching many hours of your videos then (there is no way to sugar coat this) you need to make better videos.

Fortunately, YouTube offers data you can use to see precisely when viewers stopped watching your video; audience retention.

YouTube Audience Retention Metric Explained

The audience retention metric is shown as a percentage figure.  If you upload a ten-minute video and your audience, on average, watches five minutes, then you’ll have an audience retention measure of 50%.

Select one of your videos to view the analytics screen shown below, then click ‘see more’ in the audience retention section.

YouTube Analytics Explained And How to Use Them for Channel Growth 11

As you can see, in the graph below, audience retention starts at 100% and over time gradually drops off as viewers stop watching the video. In the example below the overall retention rate is 30.4%

YouTube Analytics Explained And How to Use Them for Channel Growth 12

You can play your video and watch as it tracks along the graph so you can see what you were doing at the time when viewers stopped watching.

Did you lose a lot of viewers when your content got a bit dry or technical? Maybe you had a section you felt was amusing but turned your viewers off?

This is a powerful tool.  It gives you feedback on what works and doesn’t work.  You can use it to help you plan future content and give your audience more of what they want.

Also, did you notice the bump in the graph?

YouTube Analytics Explained And How to Use Them for Channel Growth 13

How can audience retention go up if viewers have gone away?  This bump tells you that viewers are coming back to rewatch a portion of your video. Whatever you were doing at that part of the video is clearly of value to your audience, so it’s a good idea to do more similar content.

Conclusion

Getting to grips with your analytics shouldn’t be as scary as it sounds.  Once you understand what they represent and how you can use them to understand your viewers, you’ll probably find yourself hooked on them.

And we’ve only scratched the surface here. There are lots of other metrics in your analytics that help you make better videos.  There are also analytics for things like audience demographics and YouTube features like cards.

Explore the entire analytics section to see what other metrics you can use to fuel YouTube channel growth.

If you need more help to stand out, optimise and brand your videos better – check out my resources page where I list everything I use to grow my channel.