Improving YouTube CTR


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improving Youtube CTR

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YouTube has over 2.6 billion monthly active users, making it one of the biggest social media networks today. With this much reach, it’s an almost unlimited source of potential customers and buyers, right?

Well, not quite  

This network of highly engaged users has access to more than 800 million YouTube videos. In other words, it’s a very competitive platform and a tough nut to crack for marketers and business owners.

The good thing is that there are certain metrics that you can track to stack the odds in your favour, and one of them is YouTube CTR.

In this article, we’ll talk about CTR and how you can improve it with simple but effective strategies.

What is CTR on Youtube?

First things first — what is CTR?

The term CTR means click-through rate. It’s a measure of how many people watched a certain video after being counted as an impression or (as per YouTube) after seeing its thumbnail. 

Here’s how to compute a video’s CTR:

CTR = (number of clicks/number of impressions) ✕ 100

So if 100 people saw your video’s thumbnail and ten of them eventually clicked on the video, your CTR would be 10%.

Note that with CTR, you only see a fragment of your total views. That’s because it doesn’t capture external website and screen impressions. In short, it can be a bit misleading.

More importantly, if a video has a higher CTR than another, it doesn’t automatically mean it has more views.   

Here’s another example:

A YouTube video with 100 impressions and 50 clicks has a CTR of 50%. On the other hand, a different video with 1000 impressions and 400 clicks would have a CTR of 40%.

As you can see, while the second video has a lower CTR (40% vs. 50%), it clearly has more views (400 vs. 50).

That said, while CTR doesn’t always tell you what you think it would, it’s still one of the most important metrics you should pay attention to. That’s because YouTube’s algorithm uses it as a reference when deciding which pieces of content to promote to its users.

Different kinds of CTR metrics on YouTube

There are two different kinds of CTR metrics on YouTube. One is the average CTR for all videos, which gives you a glimpse of your channel’s overall performance. 

This metric helps identify winning strategies, like determining which thumbnail templates or titling format to use.

The other is the CTR for each video. Having this information at hand for all your videos helps you decide which types of content to invest in and focus on and which ones to avoid.

What are Impressions on YouTube?

We’ve mentioned in passing that an impression is when a YouTube user sees the thumbnail of a video. In essence, it counts the number of times your video reached a potential viewer.

While this definition is correct, it’s not complete.

Certain parameters have to be met for an event to be considered an impression. You must understand all of them because impressions are part of the computation process for YouTube CTR. 

First, let’s talk about the conditions that have to be met for something to be counted as a YouTube impression:

  • A thumbnail is shown on the screen for more than one second
  • At least half of the thumbnail is visible on the screen 
  • A viewer clicks on the thumbnail
  • A thumbnail is shown again to the same user, even if the user has already watched it

Next, let’s discuss the locations where impressions are counted on:

  • The YouTube platform on computers, TVs, gaming consoles, and mobile devices like Android, iPhone, and iPad
  • YouTube search
  • YouTube homepage, including the Autoplay feature
  • YouTube feeds, including subscriptions, trending, history, and watch later
  • The “Up Next” recommendation that’s located on the video player’s right-hand side, including Autoplay
  • YouTube playlists

Finally, let’s look at the places where an impression is not counted:

  • External websites and apps, including links and embeds that are outside of the YouTube website
  • The YouTube mobile version with the web address
  • YouTube Kids application
  • YouTube Music application
  • Content within the video player, such as end screens and cards
  • Notifications or emails
  • Content that is playing in the background and has no visible impression
  • Ads in the TrueView video discovery format

Now that you have a better idea of what impressions are (and aren’t), the next question is, why should you care about them?

Remember that CTR describes the percentage of your video’s impressions that turned into views. So while CTR is a bit misleading as a metric, one thing is clear: the more impressions you have, the better.

A video’s number of impressions also has an indirect impact on its ability to generate income. 

To illustrate, YouTube has strict guidelines that help ensure the suitability of its content to a broader audience. If a video fails to meet these requirements, the impressions that it gets will be limited. 

There’s a good chance that this limitation would lead to fewer views, making the video less attractive to advertisers, which means it would generate less revenue.

What is a good CTR for YouTube?

Whether you’re a marketer, business owner, or content creator, one of your main goals is to maximise your CTR. That said, how high is high enough? What is a good click-through rate on YouTube?

Answering these questions can get a bit tricky because CTR tends to vary significantly. Many factors can influence it in one way or another, including the following:

  • The number of your subscribers
  • What your niche market is
  • How many views the video has
  • How long the video has been on YouTube

Say you just uploaded a new video to your channel, and you have a significant following. Likely, this content will initially have a high CTR because your subscribers will watch it.

If you play your cards right, the video will eventually be included in curated lists, like YouTube’s “What’s next?” feature, which is a good thing because your number of impressions will increase significantly. 

Since the new users who will see your video are not as invested as your subscribers, you can expect your CTR to decrease. Nevertheless, you will get more views than before.

In any case, YouTube says that half of all its content gets a CTR between 2% and 10%. While this statement narrows things down a bit, it still doesn’t tell you exactly what number you should aim for.

The good thing is that we can use real-life cases as a reference in identifying a good YouTube CTR. Here’s the assessment of one YouTuber based on his channel:

  • Outstanding — the top 10% of the best-performing videos have a CTR of more than 6%
  • Very Good — the top 20% of his videos have a CTR that ranges between 5.5% and 5.9%
  • Good — these are the top 30% of videos with a CTR that ranges between 4.5% and 5.4%
  • OK — these videos belong to the top 40% and have a CTR that ranges between 4% and 4.4%
  • Bad — these are the bottom 60% of videos that have a CTR of less than 3.9%

This estimate is not too far from that of other YouTubers who say that a CTR of 2-4% is relatively normal and 4-10% is quite high.

Again, note that a high CTR doesn’t necessarily mean that a lot of people are watching your videos. It just says that many of your impressions are converted into clicks or views. 

Where to see your CTR in YouTube Studio?

If you want to view the CTR metrics of your videos, you need to go to YouTube Studio. 

To do this, log in to your YouTube account and click on your profile image. Then, scroll down to YouTube Studio and then click on it. 

Next, look at the navigation menu on the left side of the screen and click on Analytics. Once you’re inside the Channel analytics interface, click on the Content tab, which is to the right of the Overview tab.

Doing this will show you charts and other information for the following metrics:

  • Views
  • Impressions
  • Impressions Click–Through Rate
  • Average View Duration

If you click on the Impressions Click-Through Rate option, you will see the overall CTR for each day over the defined time period. You can adjust this window to one week, four weeks, three months, or the entire lifetime of your channel using the period selector.

Note that YouTube Analytics contains a treasure trove of data on other useful metrics. You can generate custom reports on How viewers found your videos, Top videos, and Impressions and how they led to watch time.

If you want to access these metrics, start by exploring the left-hand menu and clicking on the Content option. Doing this will show you a list of all the content on your channel.

Next, click on the video you want to look up to display another menu, click Analytics, and then select Reach.

Look for the Impressions click-through rate option and then click on it to see the CTR metrics for the chosen video over the defined time period. 

Youtube CTR best practices

If you’re serious about your growth on YouTube, you need to pay attention to your CTR. Of course, it doesn’t tell you everything you need to know, but enough to understand that it’s one of the most important metrics on this platform.

So here are some of the current best practices that you should follow to get more clicks and views and eventually drive more revenue through your channel and its content. 

1. Present engaging, attractive thumbnails

At first glance, the thumbnail may seem insignificant. It’s a small content frame that some don’t bother too much with and even just choose at random. 

This is a mistake that you shouldn’t make. 

Most YouTube users will decide whether to watch your videos based on their thumbnails. In short, they’re like small billboards that have the unenviable job of convincing people to stop scrolling and start watching.

When creating your thumbnail, use visuals that immediately attract attention. Also, use only three to seven words for your overlay text, but make them count. Asking a question usually works well here.

2. Write catchy video titles

Aside from your overlay text, you need to get your video title right. Come up with something catchy and worthy of a click but not clickbait. You wouldn’t want to leave your viewers frustrated and disappointed by promising them something and not even coming close to delivering.

So when crafting your video’s title, make sure that it tells them about your actual content and addresses one of their pain points at the same time.

3. Write great video descriptions

A video’s title and thumbnail do much of the heavy lifting when it comes to drawing the attention of YouTube viewers. That’s why you must do every little thing to make things a bit easier for them.

One is by writing a description that’s accurate and appeals to your target audience. It can increase your click-through rate, resulting in more views. 

On top of this, you can optimise your description and make it easier for the YouTube algorithm to understand what your content is about and encourage it to recommend your videos to new users, which will give your YouTube stats a much-needed boost.

4. Research the competition

Another strategy that can give you an idea of how to improve your CTR is to look at what your top competitors are doing. 

What do their videos have in common? Are there specific thumbnail elements they all use, whether it’s style, font, logo, face, or colour? Do they have similar topics, titles, or descriptions?

If people keep on clicking on their videos, they must be doing something right. Try to figure out what these are and see if you could use them in your own content.

5. Clearly identify your target audience and their needs

We mentioned above that your title should attempt to address a pain point for your viewers. However, to do this, you need to identify your target audience first and understand their needs.

Who’s your target demographic? What age are they, or where are they from? Do they belong to a certain income bracket?

While it might seem impossible to answer these questions on your own, there are tools that you can use to create custom reports that provide important audience insights, including demographics.

6. Provide plenty of content

A lot of YouTube users develop a pattern when it comes to their viewing habits, and a big part of this is watching new videos. In addition, they tend to stick to a certain schedule once they become familiar with the content in your channel. 

For instance, if they first saw one of your videos on a Wednesday afternoon and watched your other pieces of content that day, there’s a good chance that they’ll come back for more the same day the following week. 

Make sure that you don’t disappoint them by coming up with plenty of new videos. Also, try to be consistent about your posting schedule.

7. Test different video thumbnails and titles

Make a habit of testing different combinations of video thumbnails and titles, even if you have found one that works. You never know when consumer behaviour will change, so it wouldn’t hurt to stay on top of things. 

It might sound like a lot of work, but you’ll find that it’s worth it. Besides, there are tools that you can use to do A/B tests so you can gather valuable data quickly.

8. Drive video engagement

One surefire to boost your CTR is to increase your video engagement rates. You can do this by focusing on the quality of your content and doing all the small things, like making your point clear, highlighting key points, and providing a recap, if possible. 

Also, it would be very helpful if you threw in a bit of humour. 

If you manage to connect with your audience on a meaningful level, they will reward you with more likes, shares, positive comments, and other forms of user interactions.

9. Increase average watch time

The longer people watch your videos, the better. It means that your viewers consume and like your content, but beyond that, it’s one of the key metrics that YouTube uses when ranking videos. 

Obviously, you need to make sure that you produce high-quality content to keep people hooked. That said, you should pay extra attention to the first ten to 20 seconds of your videos. 

That’s because most people would watch the rest of the video if they didn’t like it from the very start. 

10. Use Youtube cards

a chance to share links that viewers can click if they want to see other pieces of related content.

Make sure that you take advantage of this feature and drive traffic to your other videos, playlist, channels, or even websites.

It takes a lot of work to become YouTube famous, and there will even be times when you won’t be sure if you’re doing things right. 

Fortunately, metrics like YouTube CTR can help you track your performance and determine whether your current strategies are working. 

We’ve done much of the legwork by outlining the steps you can take to improve CTR. You could also use third-party tools to generate custom reports and obtain more valuable insights into your channel’s performance.

Reporting Ninja allows you to integrate your data from YouTube and combine it with one of their templates to create reports within minutes.

Sign up now for a free trial and find out how to boost your YouTube growth with Reporting Ninja.

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