Thanks in part to live streaming, video is increasing in popularity. And marketers who want the best video strategy should look to YouTube because it offers solid analytics to assess the value of campaigns.

Google has developed YouTube video metrics that are comparable to TV metrics. The platform’s analytics have evolved to the point where they can provide a strong link between programming impressions, customer interest and online sales.

YouTube's Watch Time

Specifically, Google has adjusted YouTube Analytics reports to focus on a metric it is calling watch time, defined as the aggregate amount of time that people spend watching videos in your channel. The watch time report monitors various related metrics — impressions, click-through rate, views and viewer watch time — for any given piece of content. Watch time plays a big part in the YouTube algorithm that decides which videos to recommend in response to search queries.

Watch time is similar to the well-known advertising metric dwell time — the amount of time a customer remains in a venue, or in a specific area within a venue. Dwell time has been associated to a number of activity metrics related to digital signage. Because YouTube access has spread to multiple channels — from embedded links in websites to mobile apps — Google’s decision to create a metric with characteristics similar to metrics used for display ads is a natural move.

Marketers who have dealt with digital signage are accustomed to looking for ways to increase dwell time, which ultimately relates to the ROI of a message. Finding ways to increase watch time to benefit business objectives will require a similar effort. The appealing part of that challenge is the bevy of mobile and demographic opportunities that await a YouTube campaign.

Related Article: How We Topped YouTube Search Results

More Popular Than TV

That bevy of opportunities is no small thing. YouTube is reaching a number of key demographics that marketers have craved since the inception of television programming. For example, according to Google, on mobile alone, YouTube reaches more 18-to-49-year-olds than any broadcast or cable TV network. Mobile devices provide access to a coveted demographic made up of people who are on the go. This means marketers have an opportunity to craft meaningful messages targeting that age group in ads that appear on YouTube.

Ultimately, marketers will be able to better plan for “micro-moments” — a phrase Google coined to refer those instances when people interacting with their mobile devices pause to consider what they really need or want before launching searches for products or services. (I discussed micro-moments in a previous CMSWire post.)

Learning Opportunities

Marketers can access watch time metrics in the analytics section of YouTube Studio. The analytics provide a timeline of average watch time, comparing the percentage change from the previous period. Like other metrics, the date ranges can be changed, with default periods or user-selected ranges.

Related Article: 12 Enterprise Brands Doing YouTube Marketing Right

Reaching People on the Go

YouTube has become a network that can capture people’s attention at their convenience and retain their attention while they are on the go. Given the current fragmented state of customer attention, a platform that holds a mobile audience is extremely attractive to marketers.

Marketers should make YouTube central component of their social media strategies, especially if live video is included. Because of its appeal as a go-to platform, video is reaching a generation of people who will be a long play for consumer branding, in much the same way television reached young people during the 1950s, ’60s and beyond.

Making YouTube a central component in a social media strategy gives marketers an analytics-based means of measuring consumer attention and the amount of consideration they give a product, service or brand message. With attention online in short supply, marketers need all the advantages they can get.