How to make great video campaigns, Part 1/3

A guide to viewer metrics for achieving your advertising goals effectively

1 Overview

The challenge

You've uploaded your videos to YouTube, and have been running your YouTube campaign for a while. The challenge is to identify which viewer actions are the most valuable to you?

Your aim

To know the most important viewer actions to measure in order to reach the most relevant audience on YouTube across all screens, and meet — or exceed — your targets.

How to go about it

When you launch a Youtube campaign, the thing you want the most is views, of course. But, what exactly do you want those views to achieve: awareness, consideration, or action?

  • Awareness KPIs are: views, impressions, unique users
  • Consideration KPIs are: view-through rate, watch time
  • Action KPIs are: clicks, calls, sign-ups, sales

To optimise the effectiveness of your video campaign, you first need to know what are the most important viewer actions to measure, and why.

2 Measuring how your video campaigns perform

In Google Ads, you can see your video campaigns under All campaigns alongside any other campaigns you may be running. By selecting Video campaigns from this drop-down menu, you can view a summary of your video campaigns’ performance. In this view, only the columns and features related to video campaign performance will automatically populate with performance data.

Key metrics for your Youtube campaigns include:

Core performance

  • Views show you the number of times people watched or engaged with your video ad. Note: the views of your TrueView video ads will also count towards your video's public YouTube view-count, only if a video is longer than 11 seconds.

  • View rate shows you the number of views or engagements your video ad receives divided by the number of times your ad is shown (video and thumbnail impressions).

  • Avg. Cost-per-view CPV is the average amount you pay when a viewer watches 30 seconds of your video (or the duration if it's shorter than 30 seconds) or engages with your video, whichever comes first. Note that your average CPV may not be the same as your maximum CPV. Your maximum CPV is the most you’re willing to pay for an ad view.

Click performance

  • Clicks show you the number of times people clicked on your video. Clicks can help you understand how well your ad is appealing to people who see it. Engaging ads are more likely to receive clicks.

  • Click-through rate (CTR) is the number of clicks that your ad receives divided by the number of times your ad is shown. It is shown as a percentage.

Engagement performance

  • Engagements show you the number of clicks on interactive elements such as teasers or icons to expand any cards on your video.

  • Engagement rate is the number of engagements your ad receives (for example, clicks on card teasers and icons) divided by the number of times it’s shown, given as a percentage.

Reach and frequency

  • Unique cookies is the number of cookies (which store preferences and other information used on the web pages that users visit) specific to an individual browser on people's computers.

  • Unique viewers by cookie is the number of times your video ad was viewed by a unique cookie over a given period of time.

  • Avg. impr. freq. per cookie is the average number of times your video ad is shown to a unique cookie over a given period of time.

  • Avg. view freq. per cookie is the average number of times that a unique cookie viewed your video over a given period of time.

Video viewership

  • Video played to: 25% shows how often a video is played to 25% of its length.

  • Video played to: 50% shows how often a video is played until the middle of its view length.

  • Video played to: 75% shows how often a video is played to 75% of its length.

  • Video played to: 100% shows how often a video is played to its completion.

YouTube engagement

  • Earned actions happen when a viewer watches a video ad and then takes a related action on YouTube. Following are the types of earned actions Google measures:

  • Earned views increase if a YouTube viewer watches subsequent videos on your YouTube channel or Watch pages. Earned views increase whether or not someone chooses to watch the same video again or any other video on your channel.

  • Earned subscribes happen when a viewer subscribes to your channel. Earned subscribes provide unique value because the content from these YouTube channels may be viewed on the YouTube home page.

  • Earned playlist additions happen when a viewer adds the video to a playlist.

  • Earned likes happen when a viewer likes the video.

  • Earned shares happen when a viewer shares the video

3 Other reporting features

Many of the reporting features available for Search and Display campaigns are also available for video campaigns, such as:

Advanced filtering

Filter your account statistics to search for the data that interests you the most, for example, YouTube earned actions or Max. CPV. You can either filter by label or create your own filter. Once you've created a filter, you can save it for easy access in the future.


Use segments to split your data into rows based on the options that matter most to you, such as format, network, device, etc. You can also segment by view type to split-out your performance by in-stream views versus video discovery views. Your segment choices vary, depending on the tab of the Google Ads account you're viewing.

Automated reporting

You can customise the statistics tables of your Google Ads account using columns, segments, and filters. Once the tables look exactly how you want, you can download them as reports in a variety of formats and save them. You can also set up reports to run at specific intervals, and schedule them to be emailed to you or other people who have access to your account.

My change history

This lists the changes you've made to your account. It shows each change within a timeline, mapped to your account data. You can view all changes for a particular time period, filter the results by the type of change (such as budget adjustments or ad group edits), or see changes for a particular video campaign. By comparing your changes with the timeline of performance data, you can find out which changes may have contributed to improvements in your performance.

Modifying columns

When you're viewing your Google Ads account from the All campaigns view, you can add and remove columns on any tab, by clicking Modify columns on the Columns drop-down menu. Whatever you deselect will be hidden the next time you sign in to your Google Ads account. When you select Video campaigns on the campaign type drop-down menu, you'll see the following predefined types of columns:

  • Views — use these columns to monitor your video views and audience engagement
  • Audience — these metrics help you track the growth of your YouTube audience
  • Branding — see how well your video ads are building brand awareness
  • Conversions — analyse clicks and conversions on your website

4 Key tabs

Key tabs for your Youtube campaigns include:

Ad groups tab

Use the Ad groups tab to see the overall results of your video ad groups within a specific date range for metrics like impressions, clicks, view-through rate (VTR), cost-per-view (CPV). For specific definitions of each metric, click the ? tooltip icon in each column header.


An ad group contains video ads with common targeting criteria and bids.

  • Each ad group can only contain one specific video ad format
  • Run a separate ad group for each specific video ad format you want to use
  • You can also run multiple ad groups

Ads tab

The Ads tab is where you go to create and manage your ads. Within this tab, you can create, edit, and preview your video ads. You can also see and customise your ads' statistics, bids, and more.

Videos tab

By better understanding how well the YouTube videos in your video ads are performing, you’ll know what video content to focus on for your audience, and can improve your video campaigns' performance.

The Videos tab shows your video performance in aggregate across all ads. By selecting from the Views drop-down menu, you can see charts that map the performance of all your video ads based on the metric.

You can also discover performance metrics and audience insights for each of your videos by viewing the Video Analytics page. On the Videos tab, just click the video title or Analytics in the drop-down menu next to the video title.

Video targeting tab

The Video targeting tab has 2 purposes: to show performance metrics for each targeting method you're using, and to allow you to add and exclude targeting methods directly to ad groups and campaigns. Learn more here.

The Targets section within the Video targeting tab also shows your video ad performance by targeting group. Select the Ad segment from this tab to compare the performance of each ad for each targeting group. Add retention and engagement columns to your statistics table to measure the percentage of your video that people watched to understand how your ad is driving traffic to your YouTube channel.

Troubleshooting issues with your data

Helpful links