YouTube Click Through Rates (CTR) Guide : Good CTR, Bad CTR, High CTR, Low CTR !

Learn YouTube Click Through Rates (CTR) : Good CTR, Bad CTR, High CTR &Low CTR !

If you’ve ever been confused by your click-through rate (CTR), or you don’t know how to interpret what it is, or you don’t know what’s good CTR, what’s bad CTR, or what to even think about your click-through rate, this article is going to demystify all of that for you.

Today, you’re going to have a very good understanding of your YouTube click-through rate and how to look at it when you’re looking in your YouTube analytics, engaging that against the performance of your videos.

This was the question we are frequently asked about in our emails and comments. This exact question comes from one of our blog reader, Sam Smith.

Sam says, 

I have a question about click-through rates and the algorithm. I’ve always thought that I have a bad click-through rate because I average about three to five percent. However, my most recent videos also have an average of 5.7%, not that much higher, and have brought in over 1,000 views in the first two days.

He further adds, 

My other videos averaged 40 to 100 views in that period. So is it not really the click-through rate that matters as much? My question is, should I pay more attention to the click-through rate and try to improve my thumbnails, or should I just keep making my videos and wait for YouTube to find the right audience for my other videos as well?

When it comes to the answer of this question, instead of just telling the answer to you from my experience, I’m actually going to show you what YouTube has to say about the questions that you have, so that way you’re getting your answer from their official documentation.

In the YouTube help pages, they have the question, “How do I know if my impression click-through rate is high or low?”

What YouTube says is, 

Impressions click-through rate measures how often viewers watch the video after seeing a registered impression on YouTube.” If you’re new to YouTube, an impression is when they show your video to somebody on the platform.

It likely represents a subset of your channel’s total view since not all impressions are counted in this metric, such as those on external websites or end screens. Impressions click-through rate will vary based on the type of content, audience, and where the impression was shown on YouTube. Keep in mind that your video thumbnails are always competing against other videos, whether on the homepage, “Up Next,” or on the watch page in search results, and even in subscription feeds.”

So what they’re saying right there is, when you publish your videos, you are competing with pretty much everything that YouTube thinks is a good fit for your viewers. So, when you are looking at your click-through rate, it varies just based on the other videos that you’re competing against there as well.

Understanding YouTube Click Through Rates (CTR)

So, if a bunch of other videos are kind of taking the traffic, then in that particular case, even though you could be getting impressions there, you could just be getting beaten out by all the other videos. You may not get enough views or traffic in your videos on your videos that you’re competing with at that point in time, even if your click-through rate is a little bit higher.

What’s a good CTR on YouTube?

Now, if you want to know what’s good when it comes to your click-through rate, here’s what YouTube has to say about that: Half of all the channels and videos on YouTube have an impression CTR that can range between 2% and 10%.”

The thing that is most important to remember here is that your click-through rate needs to be compared to the impressions that you’re getting. So for example, if you get 100 impressions on a video and you have a high click-through rate on that, well, in that particular case, it’s only been sampled to 100 people, and based on how YouTube works, out of those 100 people, those are the most likely people to enjoy your content. That’s why YouTube is showing it to them first.

That’s also why, when you are publishing your content, you’ll see a higher click-through rate when you first publish your video, and then it can start falling down from there—not always, but that’s extremely common.

Now, the next thing I want to bring to your attention to one interesting thing. YouTube also says that “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 if it appears on the homepage, it’s natural for the CTR to be lower.

Videos where most of the impressions are from sources like your channel page may have a higher click-through rate. Ultimately, it’s best to compare CTRs between videos over the long term and keep in mind how their traffic sources will affect click-through rates.

Now, if you’re new to YouTube, this might sound like a bunch of gibberish because they’re talking about traffic sources, click-through rates, impressions, and all these things, but what your traffic sources are on YouTube is that they have a handful of different pages where you’re going to pull most of your traffic from. That’s going to be homepages, it’s going to be suggested videos, and it’s going to be YouTube search.

So, when you go into your traffic sources report in your YouTube analytics, those are three of the options that you’re going to see. But you’re also going to see externals; you’re going to see channel pages and things like that.

YouTube Click Through Rates ctr

When you are looking at your click-through rate, make sure that you’re not looking at this particular part of your analytics for your click-through rate. Instead, what you want to do is click into the video for which you’re looking at the click-through rate and then go into the analytics for the individual video.

From there, you want to go into the advanced mode of the analytics and then into your traffic sources. And once you’re in there, you’re actually going to see how your videos are performing on all of the different pages of YouTube, which gives you a lot better insight on your real click-through rate.

Avoid clickbait for increasing CTR

Here’s another really important thing that YouTube says about your click-through rate and trying to raise your click-through rate: ” Avoid trying to increase your CTR using thumbnails or titles that are clickbait. 

YouTube will recommend a video to viewers if the video is relevant to them and if the video’s average view duration indicates that viewers find it interesting.

Clickbait videos tend to have a low average view duration and are therefore less likely to get recommended by YouTube. 

You can tell if your thumbnail is clickbait if it gets a high CTR but a low average view duration and lower than expected impressions.”

Now, that part is extremely important. They don’t go into the nuance of it here, but here’s what that actually means. 

So, when YouTube is serving your videos to people on their platform, the only thing that the system is wanting, or the only thing that YouTube wants, is that when they present your videos to people, if it’s something they’re interested in, then they click on it, and they come in and have a good experience with your content.

YouTube is trying to keep viewers satisfied and keep them on their platform by showing them the right content at the right time that they’re most likely to engage with and enjoy. 

Because of that, it’s important to make sure that when you’re looking at your click-through rate, you’re not just looking at the click-through rate number itself, but you’re also looking at the watch time that’s being generated from your video.

When you are looking at the effectiveness of your thumbnail, what you actually want to look at is, of course, the number for the click-through rate compared to the impressions that it’s getting, because the impressions part is really important, but you also want to see how those impressions led to watch time. 

For example, if somebody’s interacting with your content and they’re leaving quickly, just like that message that I just showed you, then YouTube’s going to deem it as a non-satisfactory experience.

However, if somebody clicks on your video, and your video matches their expectation, they’re more likely to watch that video for a longer period of time, which then tells YouTube that they’re enjoying your content and that you’re not misleading people, which is giving them what they want, and in return, they’re going to give you what you want as the content creator, which is showing your videos to more people that are also likely to enjoy them and have that great experience.

Another thing that you want to think about when it comes to your click-through rate and how it relates to the watch time that you’re getting on the videos is that when somebody is looking at your thumbnail and your title from the outside, the only information they have about your content is what they’re seeing right there, so that expresses the topic of the video to them and whatever it is that they might experience in the content.

Because of that, you have to make sure that when you’re putting your thumbnails together and your titles, you’re building the right expectation for what it is that they’re going to get inside of the video. When you do that, it’s going to create a much better experience for your viewers, which is going to help YouTube recommend it to more and more people.

Higher CTR is NOT always better

If I have one video with a 5.7% click-through rate after 1,000 impressions on the YouTube homepage, and another video with a 6% click-through rate but only 200 impressions on the same platform, it may seem like the 6% rate is performing better. 

However, the difference in the number of impressions should be considered. The video with 1,000 impressions has been tested with a larger audience, making its 5.7% click-through rate more significant and reliable, as more people have positively responded to it. 

On the other hand, the 6% click-through rate is based on fewer impressions, making it easier to maintain a higher percentage, but it may not be as robust as the other video’s performance.

Final Words

It’s essential for you, Sam Smith, and anyone else dealing with this, to consider not only the click-through rate but also the number of impressions and watch time when comparing videos. The click-through rate alone doesn’t provide the full picture of user engagement and satisfaction. By analyzing the watch time and percentage viewed, you can better understand the overall experience people are having with the videos. This holistic approach will help you gauge which videos are truly resonating with your audience and delivering a satisfactory viewing experience.

Related Article: Mastering Google Ads: A Comprehensive SEO Guide for Effective Advertising Campaigns 2023

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