90 Days of Cold Hard Facts

Since the Ides of March, our congregation has uploaded all worship material to YouTube, about 220 videos in all. For 18 Sundays now, we have not worshipped together in person. We are no longer complete newbies to YouTube, yet we are still far away from the sophistication of having thousands of subscribers. I thought that data from the last 90 days would be useful to study. Data from the past 90 days excludes any initial ignorance or exuberance about this new reality. The past 90 days also excludes any spike associated with Easter. This data set is a good, early, reliable snap-shot of how people are engaging with us online. Having said that, I am admittedly a rank amateur at interpreting these analytics. I would welcome any wisdom from out there.

In the past 90 days our congregation’s channel has had 10,217 views by 2,100 unique visitors who have watched a total of 573.8 hours of video. The most highly viewed video had 343 views. The tenth most watched video had 140 views. The fiftieth most popular video was viewed 64 times. Not surprisingly, mobile phones were used more than computers (42.4% to 31.2%), but computers logged slightly more watch time than mobile phones (208.7 hours to 200.2 hours).

The average view duration was 3 minutes and 22 seconds. The average percentage viewed was right at 50%. That percentage means that if a video is 10 minutes long, the average person will hang in there for 5 minutes of it. YouTube did not register any viewer under the age of 55. Those aged 55-64 were 23.3% of our viewers. Those 65 and older were 76.7% of our viewers. Females were the overwhelming majority of viewers at 71%.

The viewership curve of our videos starts out high, then most of the viewers who leave do so in the first minute. We settle down to a faithful 50% of viewers in about 3 minutes, and they tend to see the video through to the end.

My head is spinning with ideas about what these numbers might mean and what they don’t mean. I’ll write more later on this. I’m hoping that looking at these analytics can provide a clue to a better future, or at least a more honest one. I’m interested in YouTube analytics from other congregations. If you have some that you’re willing to share, please let me know.

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