Watch time in YouTube Analytics

Watch time helps creators understand the quality of their videos and how well different videos keep viewers engaged. You can learn more about how watch time is a more meaningful metric than counting just views on the YouTube Creator Blog.

YouTube Analytics now displays watch time more prominently in reports. This makes it easier for you to check your key metrics and understand what's driving success on your channel. All YouTube algorithms are also focused on watch time.

Key metrics include not only watch time but also related metrics such as average view duration, average percentage viewed and audience retention. You can use these metrics to learn how engaged your viewers are and get insights into how to get them interested in watching more.

Get help boosting your watch time through collaborations and promotions.

Changes to YouTube Analytics reports

With the shift in focus to watch time, no actual data has been added or removed from YouTube Analytics, but reports are now based on watch time by default.

Changes to reports on desktop
  • Estimated time watched is now Watch time (minutes) or Watch time (hours) because we can better track it now.
  • The graphs and tables on the Overview page are now mostly based on watch time (with the exception of demographics data).
  • The Views report is now called the Watch time report and Views reports are Watch time reports.
  • Audience retention is now higher up in the navigation as many creators let us know how important audience retention is.
Tip: You can still display the content in the reports by views if you select Views above the graph and also order by views in the table.
Changes to reports on mobile (Creator Studio app)
  • Estimated minutes watched is now Watch time (minutes).
  • Watch time information is displayed first when visiting YouTube Analytics on mobile.
  • Most Analytics cards show data by Watch time (minutes).
Tip: Learn how to change your default time unit for reporting in your settings.
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