YouTube Studio: How to Use It to Grow Your Channel

Grow Your Channel

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YouTube Studio

The new YouTube Studio is clearly a big step up from the old Creator Studio.

The question is: How do you use the new YouTube studio?

Or even better: how do you get the most out of all the new features?

Instead of listing out every single feature one-by-one, you’re going to see how to use the YouTube Studio to get more views and subscribers, create better videos, improve your Audience Retention, and more.

Best Practices

Get More Views

Improve Your Impression Click Through Rate

This is a new report that shows you how many people see and click on your video around YouTube.

Impression CTR report

And this piece of data is an absolute goldmine. Why? Because for the first time, you can see how compelling your video’s title, description and thumbnail is. Before, if a video wasn’t getting lots of views, you had no idea whether it was due to your title… or just that people weren’t seeing your video around YouTube.

Today, you can see whether visibility or click-through-rate is holding your video back from getting more views.

For example, this video from the Backlinko YouTube channel generates 359k impressions with a 3.8% CTR:

Backlinko video CTR

While there’s no “good” or “bad” CTR, this report does tell me that this video has the potential to get lots more views.

For example, if I used a new thumbnail that improved my CTR from 3.8% to 4.8%, I’d get an extra 3,590 views per month. Not bad!

Traffic Sources

The Traffic Sources report tells you where your views (and Watch Time) are coming from:

Views and watch time

What can you do with this information?

  • Double Down: If you find that one source of traffic is doing really well (like SEO), put more effort behind it.
  • Find Fluctuations: Did traffic from Facebook or Twitter drop? It might be time to change your approach to promoting your videos on those platforms.
  • Discover Untapped Channels: Is a big potential traffic source (like Suggested Video) only bringing in 10% of your views? Then it’s probably time to start optimizing (or even creating videos) to rank in the Suggested Video sidebar.

Find Untapped Keywords

YouTube shows you the exact keywords that people use to find your videos in YouTube Search:

YouTube Search – Exact keywords

If you already optimize your videos, you’ll recognize most of these keywords. But if you dig deeper, you can sometimes find keywords that your videos “accidentally” rank for.

Accidental ranking

And if you’re getting views from these keywords without even trying, imagine how many views you can get when you create a video optimized around that keyword.

Get More Subscribers

Find Videos That Bring In the Most Subscribers

Note: You still have to use the old YouTube Creator Studio to access this report. But it should be rolled into the new Creator Studio soon).

This report shows you which videos turn viewers into subs:

Viewers into subscribers

You’ll probably notice that a handful of videos produce a large chunk of your monthly subscribers.

These are high-performing videos that you want to get in front of more people. After all, they’re already proven to generate subscribers.

You can promote your high-performing video by:

  • Using It as Your Channel Trailer: Lots of YouTubers use a high-performing video as their channel trailer. This makes sense. After all, the main goal of your trailer is to convince people to subscribe to your channel. So why not do that with a video that’s proven to do just that? In fact, Evan Carmichael uses one of his high-performing videos as his trailer:
    Evan Carmichael trailer
  • Promote In Other Videos: You can use cards and end screens to send more people to videos that generate lots of subs.
  • Include at Top of Playlists: Push you high-performing videos to the top of your playlists. That way, when someone watches that playlist, that’s the first video they’ll see.

Average Views Per Viewer

This is another cool metric that’s only found in the new Creator Studio.

Average views per viewer

Why is this important?

Well, the more videos from your channel someone watches, the more likely they are to subscribe. So if you can increase this number, you’ll likely get significantly more subscribers.

Here are some tips for doing just that:

  • Improve Playlists: Because videos in a playlist play automatically, they’re an easy way to get a higher number of average views per viewer. However, people need to actually watch your playlists for this to work. So make sure your playlist titles are compelling and optimized around keywords that people search for.
  • “Next Videos”: Include a “Next Video” or “Watch Next” in your end screen. For example, Marie Forleo includes a “Watch This Next” video on her End Screen.
    Watch next
  • Create a Series: Make a series of closely related videos that people will binge watch. For example Brackeys has a series of tutorials that show people how to code a 2D video game using the Unity programming language.

Improve Audience Retention and Watch Time

You probably already know that Audience Retention and Watch Time are two massively important YouTube ranking factors.

Fortunately, YouTube Studio gives you insights that you can use to improve these two numbers.

Audience Retention Report

This report gives you an average percentage of your video that people watch:

Audience retention report

This is interesting… but not that helpful.

Depending on the length of your video and niche, an Audience Retention of 20% would be terrible… or amazing.

Instead, focus on the specific parts of your video where users stop watching.

For example, there are a handful of places in this video where lots of viewers drop off:


If this was your video, you’d want to watch those specific sections and analyze what’s driving people away. Is it a jarring change? A confusing graphic? Or maybe a section that’s informative… but not that interesting.

These little insights help you avoid these pitfalls in future videos, which can give your Audience Retention a serious boost.

Top Playlists

It’s no secret that playlists tend to lead to more watch time compared to an individual video.

That said, just like with videos, certain playlists tend to perform better than others.

And you can easily see which playlists are working best for you (in terms of generating Watch Time) in the YouTube Studio:

Top playlists

Then, see what the best (and worst) playlists from your channel have in common. You can look at factors that impact playlist performance like:

  • Titles and description
  • Number of videos
  • Topics
  • Order of videos
  • Where playlists appear on your channel

Finally, optimize your playlists based on what you learn.

Make Better Videos

One of the hardest parts of growing a channel is knowing what type of videos to make. You have almost infinite options in terms of format, lighting, cameras, content, editing, graphics and more.

Fortunately, once you have a few videos under your belt, you can learn what works best for your channel. And the YouTube Studio makes this process a cinch.

For example, you can easily see surface-level stats, like views:

Views stats

But you can also dig deeper to see which videos generate the most Watch Time.

Watch time

Or, you can see which videos bring in the most comments…


…or have the best ratio of likes to dislikes:

Likes / Dislikes ratio

This isn’t to say that you should obsess over these metrics.

The goal here is to simply find the ideal video format, length, style and type that works best for you. Then, make more of those types of videos.

For example, if you look at the recent videos from the Backlinko YouTube Channel, one video stands out as a clear winner in terms of views and user engagement.

Clear winner

If you analyze that video, you’ll notice that it has a few features that are easy to replicate in future videos. In this case: the video is over 15 minutes long, it’s on the topic of YouTube marketing, it’s a list of strategies, there’s some humor thrown in, etc.

Learn More

YouTube Studio: Better Insights, New Metrics & Faster Access to News: A blog post from YouTube that highlights some of the differences between the new YouTube Studio and the old Creator Studio.

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