YouTube Ads: Metrics & KPIs

Last Updated: Apr 16, 2024

YouTube can help brands achieve a range of marketing goals, but ensuring that you are measuring those goals correctly is the key to success. To analyze the performance of YouTube Ad campaigns, there are a handful of metrics and KPIs (key performance indicators) to determine success and opportunities for improvement. These measurements can help marketers make informed decisions regarding video content, bidding decisions, audiences to include, and the general strategy of their YouTube ad campaigns. Below are some standard metrics and what they can tell us.


This metric is the number of times an ad has been displayed to a user. Impressions are counted when at least 50% of an ad thumbnail is visible to a user for 1 second or more. If the campaign goal is to reach many users as possible, impression volume is significant.


Views are measured when users view an ad for a minimum of 30 seconds (if the video is shorter than 30 seconds, the entirety of the ad). Views are different than impressions because they account for more than the 1-second impressions count.

Click-through rate (CTR)

Click-through rate measures the percent of users who clicked on a website or landing page during or after viewing an ad. If a campaign aims to drive traffic to a defined landing page, tracking CTR can measure how effective a specific ad is at accomplishing that goal.

Average Impression Frequency per User

This metric tracks how often an individual has viewed an ad on average during a defined period (7 or 30 days). If a business’s average impression frequency is set to be high, some users may experience ad fatigue and become annoyed by viewing the same ad repeatedly. To avoid this, marketers should be thinking about ad frequency when setting up campaigns. 

Conversion Rate

This is the percentage of users who view an ad and complete a desired conversion action, whether a purchase or a lead form. If the goal of a campaign is to drive conversions and the conversion rate is low, it can be a sign that targeting, the ad creative, or the landing page might need to be adjusted. 

Cost per Click (CPC)

This is the average cost for each time a user clicks on an ad’s landing page. CPC is calculated by dividing the total campaign cost by the number of clicks received. 

Cost per View (CPV)

CPV is the amount paid for each view (30 seconds or more, or watching the entire video if less than 30 seconds). CPV is calculated by dividing the total campaign cost by the total number of views received, so lower cost tends to equal efficient performance. At Search Nurture, we generally use this metric to measure the success of YouTube Discovery and In-Feed ads.

Cost per Thousand Impressions (CPM)

CPM measures the price at which 1,000 impressions are received. This metric can be helpful when measuring Bumper and In-Stream campaigns. It is calculated by dividing the total campaign cost by the number of impressions. Therefore, a lower CPM tends to be preferred as it indicates efficiency as well. 

Average Watch Time

This calculates the average amount of time people spend watching an ad. 

Engagement Rate

Calculates the rate at which users who viewed and took an action, such as liking, following, sharing, or commenting. High engagement indicates that users are interested in what a brand has to offer. 

Unique Users

This is the number of individuals you could reach within a given monthly period. Impressions include multiple views per user, but Unique Users excludes multiple views by the same account. 

Using these measurements helps marketers ensure that they are taking steps to reach their desired goals for YouTube ad campaigns. Tracking a combination of metrics allows marketers to dive deeper to evaluate video performance and how well videos resonate with an audience. This gives marketers the ability to make recommendations when it comes to overall strategy (and even the ad creatives themselves) to make ad dollars work as hard as possible. 


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