Many believe data and creative can’t be used in harmony. What do data nerds know about eliciting an emotional response from viewers? What do artists know about numbers? When it comes to video ads for YouTube, data and creative can be used in concert to improve your video ad creative performance. Boost Media shares how.


What can data do for my YouTube video ad creative?

Before we can answer this question, we need to drill-down into which types of metrics we’re referring to when we say “data.” There are a lot of YouTube Ads metrics, which you can read about here. But to get you started, here are three key metrics and ideas for using data to improve your YouTube video ad creative.


VTR (View-through rate)

  • What is VTR? This refers to the number of people who engaged with, or viewed your ad for at least 30 seconds, divided by the number of people who saw your ad. For example: (300 views + 50 website clicks)/30,000 impressions = 1.16% VTR.
  • How can you use VTR to optimize video ad creative? To improve VTR, you can  test different video titles and opening frames to entice users to watch.




  • What are “engagements?” This refers to the number of people who interact with your ad. An engagement could be a click to your website, a like or share, or a click on an element of a video card, such as submitting a response to a poll that you’ve overlayed on your video.
  • How can you use engagements to optimize video ad creative? Try editing your call-to-action (CTA). For example, you might try placing the CTA toward the beginning of the video before your drop-off point. You could also test interactive elements within your ads such as a call-to-action overlay to drive website clicks or edits to the CTA on your video card teasers.


Audience retention (aka, viewership quartiles):

  • What is “audience retention?” Audience retention shows you what percentage of your video people are watching. For example, 50% of viewers may only be watching the first 5 seconds, while 25% of viewers might be watching half of your video. In AdWords, you can only see this data broken down by quartile. To identify your exact drop-off points, log into YouTube Analytics.
  • How can you use audience retention to optimize video ad creative? Audience retention data is pure-gold when it comes to optimizing video creative. This data tells you exactly at which frame you are losing eyeballs, indicating where to edit your video. Test different video variants in which the content has been edited at the key drop-off point.


Where can I find data on my video ad creative?


There are two places to see YouTube ads data: in YouTube Analytics, and in AdWords. The YouTube Analytics data is more detailed when it comes to analyzing creative, but it’s worth looking in both places.



To find data in AdWords, drill into a campaign where you know you have a video ad and then click the “Videos” tab. From there, click the drop-down menu next to the specific video and select “Analytics.”
Video Analytics In AdWords

This will take you to another page with more detailed data on views by demographic, as well as audience retention quartiles similar to those pictured.

Audience retention by youtube video ad

YouTube Analytics


You can see an even more granular view of audience retention and other data within YouTube Analytics. Go to or log into your Creator Studio account and find “Analytics” on the left rail.


Where to go from here


Optimizing and testing video ad creative requires a lot of iterations and video editing. If you and your team don’t have the bandwidth to play around with video edits, consider reaching out to Boost got help. It’s what we do!