Tips for using impressions & CTR data
Half of all channels and videos on YouTube have an impressions CTR that can range between 2% and 10%.
However, new videos or channels (e.g., less than a week old), or videos with fewer than 100 views can see an even wider range. Furthermore, if a video gets a lot of impressions (e.g. if it gets promoted on the Home Page or Watch Next), it's natural for the CTR to be lower than for videos where most of the impressions are from sources like your channel page.
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 interpret the data?
- Look at impressions click-through rate and your average view duration to get an idea of how long viewers are sticking around after clicking on an impression.
- Higher click-through rate with low average view duration: This may mean your thumbnails are "click-baity" or that your content doesn’t meet viewers’ expectations.
- Lower click-through rate and high average view duration: This may mean that your thumbnails or titles aren't getting viewers to click. However, it may also suggest that your content is being recommended to a wide audience beyond your core followers (less targeted viewers are less likely to click on thumbnails, leading to a lower click-through rate). Take a look at your traffic sources for impressions data to see where impressions are happening.
- Look at your traffic sources to understand where views and watch time are coming from. Traffic sources, like "YouTube search," typically have higher click-through rate than sources like "Home" because they're places where viewers have a greater intent to watch.
To interpret the data, keep an eye out for particularly low or high numbers — that’s where your main learnings will be. In general, as your content gets distributed more widely and impressions increase, the potential audience is likely to be outside your core audience and, therefore, less targeted, which may lead to a lower click-through rate. This is normal.
What should I avoid doing with my CTR data?
Here are some important things to avoid when using CTR data.
- Making decisions without enough data. It’s important to analyze your CTR only after receiving a substantial number of impressions. Avoid analyzing your CTR immediately after uploading.
- Optimizing for small changes in CTR. It’s normal to have small variations in CTR, and isn’t cause for immediate action. Improvements might only be helpful if a change in CTR is statistically significant.
- Testing multiple thumbnails or titles on the same video. It’s difficult to make sure each video is seen by the same audience. Differences in CTR might be due to traffic sources, rather than the title or thumbnail.
- Using clickbait in your titles or thumbnails. Learn more about our clickbait policies.
- Trends: Look for videos that have the lowest or highest impressions and click-through rate to see if there are common themes across the topic or format.
- Views data: Look at impressions click-through rate and the average view duration to get an idea of how long viewers are sticking around after clicking on an impression. See the "How do I know if my impressions click-through rate is high or low" section for more details.
- Timeframes: Filter your search for the same timeframe when comparing impressions and click-through rate for videos. Try looking at the first day after upload, first 7 days, and the first 30 days to see trends over time.
- Traffic sources: Look at your traffic sources to fully understand where views and watch time are coming from. Take a look at your traffic sources for impressions data to see where impressions are happening.
Why are my impressions & CTR really low?
- Not every instance where a viewer sees a video thumbnail will count as an impression and that not all views come from thumbnail impressions. Learn what counts as a registered impression.
- Older videos may have more impressions since they'll continue to be surfaced to audiences as long as they're on YouTube. To get a more defined view of how your videos are currently doing, look at the first 7 days after upload to compare impressions data for different videos.
- As your videos become more popular, they may be shown to a wider audience beyond your core viewers. This can result in a lower click-through rate (even if you see an increase in overall views and watch time).
- Use the traffic sources report to see click-through rate by traffic source. This can give you an indication of how your thumbnails and titles are doing in converting impressions to views in different contexts.