Measure your video reach on YouTube

Impressions, impressions click-through rate, and unique viewers on YouTube
You can use YouTube Analytics to better understand your channel's reach on YouTube. See how large your active audience is, the number of times your video thumbnails were shown on YouTube, and how these thumbnail impressions turned into views and watch time. See more tips for using impressions and click-through rate data.

Reach information includes the following metrics: 

  • Impressions: How many times your thumbnails were shown to viewers on youtube.com
  • Traffic sources for impressions: Where on YouTube your video thumbnails were shown to potential viewers
  • Impressions click-through rate (CTR): How often viewers watched a video after seeing a thumbnail
  • Unique viewers: Estimated number of people who watched your videos

You can use this information to design your content strategy, see how well your titles and thumbnails work, and even use it to inform your brand deals.

Impressions data does not include instances where viewers find your content through external sources, like embeds on websites, blogs, social media, or in YouTube notifications. Impressions and impressions click-through rate data are available from January 1, 2018.

Note that these metrics are meant to give a general sense of your audience and reach. Make sure to review your other channel and video metrics to get a full understanding of performance. Additionally, to protect viewer privacy, "unique viewers" are derived estimates to give you a sense of the number of people who viewed your videos.

What are impressions & CTR?

What is an impression?
Impressions data shows how many times your video thumbnails are shown on YouTube. Think of each impression as your potential reach on YouTube and an opportunity to earn a view. 
An impression is counted every time a video thumbnail is shown to someone on youtube.com. It's important to understand that not every instance where a viewer sees a video thumbnail will count as an impression and that not all views come from thumbnail impressions.

We count an impression when we can detect your thumbnail was visible to a user (for example, we may count a thumbnail when it was shown for more than one second and at least 50% of the thumbnail is visible on the screen).

Impressions are registered  Impressions are not registered
  • Search results
  • YouTube Home page
  • YouTube feeds (subscriptions, trending, history, Watch later)
  • "Up Next" recommendations on the right side of the video player (includes autoplay)
  • Videos in playlists
  • External websites and apps (i.e., links and embeds outside of youtube.com)
  • YouTube mobile website
  • Videos on YouTube TV,  YouTube Kids, and YouTube Gaming apps
  • Content within the video player (i.e., in cards, or end screens)
  • Videos in email or push notifications
  • Videos that play in the background tab (no visible impression)
  • Videos whose thumbnails are less than 50% visible and/or visible for less than one second
  • TrueView video discovery ads
Note: Impressions can take longer to be calculated than views. You may temporarily see zero or a limited number of impressions when looking at your latest upload.

How can I use this data?

Impressions information can help you understand which videos were surfaced most by YouTube and what made them successful. For example, you may be able to understand if there a specific topic or format that is more successful or that has exceptionally high or low impressions reach. 

What is impressions click-through rate?
Impressions click-through rate, or CTR, shows you what percentage of your impressions on YouTube turned into views. This measures how often viewers watched a video after seeing a registered impression.
Keep in mind that while some of your views come from registered impressions, some views might come from sources that are not counted as impressions, such as views from links shared outside of YouTube.
Impressions click-through rate is based only on views that come from a logged impression according to the chart above. This means that if you calculate the number of total views according to the number of impressions, you may not see the same number as the click-through rate that's displayed in YouTube Analytics.

Half of all channels and videos on YouTube have an impressions CTR that can range between 2% and 10%.

However, new videos or channels (like those less than a week old), or videos with fewer than 100 views can see an even wider range. If a video gets a lot of impressions (such as getting promoted on the Home Page or Watch Next), it's natural for the CTR to be lower. Videos where most of the impressions are from sources like your channel page will usually have a higher rate.

Ultimately, it's best to compare CTRs between videos over the long-term and keep in mind how their traffic sources will affect their CTRs.

How can I use this data?

With watch time, impressions click-through rate can help you understand how compelling viewers find your video thumbnails and titles. You can look at impressions click-through rate in context with average view duration and audience retention to understand if viewers are sticking around after they click. See more tips on using impressions & click-through rate data.
Impressions click-through rate is often highest right after upload as your most passionate fans are notified and your subscribers see the video at the top of their homepage feeds. If this does happen, the click-through rate on these videos will go down as your video thumbnail is displayed to a wider, less targeted audience that is less likely to click to watch. 

See your impressions & CTR data

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To see impressions and click-through rate on YouTube, use the "Watch time" report and the "Traffic sources" report. In each report, there's a table with columns that depict your data for impressions, impressions click-through rate, views, and watch time.
 
Learn more about how YouTube Analytics can now show your potential reach on YouTube.
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