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YouTube Algorithm Demystified For Ads

YouTube Algorithm Demystified For Ads

You create a video, set it up in Youtube Ads, launch into the mysterious algorithm, and then...hope for the best? If that sounds familiar, it’s time to level up on your Youtube Ad strategy.

You create a video, set it up in Youtube Ads, launch into the mysterious algorithm, and then...hope for the best? If that sounds familiar, it’s time to level up on your Youtube Ad strategy.

Recently, Youtube expanded its Analytics tab to include metrics that will help you better understand your video’s performance. Today, we’re going to talk click-through rate (CTR), average viewer duration (AVD), other key factors and how they affect the discovery and performance of your Youtube video ad.

With YouTube Algorithm, CTR rate is not always king

CTR refers to the number of times your video is clicked divided by the number of times your video is seen (impressions). While many consider CTR to be one of the most important metrics, Youtube has noted that it is not always the best indicator of success, and can be affected by a few different factors:

High distribution of your video can actually create a lower CTR. When your video is being seen by more people, they are likely to be less familiar with your brand and topic and therefore less likely to click. Videos with lower distribution are typically shown to smaller, targeted audiences who already know you and your product, and may be more likely to click.

A low CTR can also result from poor thumbnail and title choices in your ad. These are areas in which you can play around and try to improve your ad’s performance. However, before changing up your thumbnail and title, take a look at all of your metrics to see if your ad is simply performing better in views or AVD.

How much time do audiences spend with your videos?

Just like it sounds, a video’s AVD is a measurement of how long a viewer spent watching your video. Youtube has recently clarified some pain points typically associated with this metric, and why they aren’t as much of a problem as one might think.

In the new Analytics dashboard, Youtube has chosen to prioritize AVD over other similar metrics, such as percentage viewed. This choice is largely because the time a viewer spends with your content, regardless of video length, is a great indicator of their overall interest. Additionally, the percentage viewed metric favors short videos because it is much easier to reach a higher percentage when a video is shorter.

While AVD is the main metric digital marketers will see in the dashboard, don’t worry too much if your AVD is low but your video still has a good overall performance. Despite what’s displayed on the dashboard, the algorithm does take into account all sorts of other metrics of your video ad.

If you’re still looking for answers, consider these metrics

Besides the CTR and AVD, there are a few metrics to consider when evaluating your ad’s success.

  • Competition
    • Some spaces are more crowded than others on Youtube. For example, advertising for flower delivery is fairly common and may, therefore, be an area where video creators are already putting out a lot of content. A more crowded space can affect discovery and how much time a user spends with your video.
  • Topic Interest
    • People are interested in different things! Taking a similar example, advertising flower and gardening content is likely to have a higher potential audience than advertising for more niche outdoor hobbies like fly fishing. Discovery can be more difficult in areas that have a smaller potential audience size, but AVD can go up when your video is shown to the right viewer.
  • Seasonality
    • As noted by Youtube product managers, users on the platform fluctuate throughout the year, including during the back-to-school timeframe when viewers move from daily to weekend consumption.

Beyond the metrics above, Youtube is also working on a few new features to help you understand your video’s performance on an even deeper level. The platform is looking at launching A/B testing with title and thumbnails, as well as a way to directly compare your video ads with those of others within your own industry. We can’t wait to dig into these metrics and we hope you’ll join us then, too!

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