Content Creation

CTR On YouTube - Basics, Averages & How To Improve It

Vukasin Ilic 10 min read
Table of Contents

YouTube’s metrics are great indicators of how well your videos are doing on the platform and how you can improve different aspects of your content. One of the more important metrics is CTR - click-through rate.

As you read on, you’ll discover the basics of the click-through rate, how it’s calculated, and where you can find it for your videos. You will get a better understanding of the CTR values that you should aim for and how to improve your CTR.

Once you’ve implemented these tips, you should notice an increase in your CTR and very likely - all the other metrics.

Understanding CTR

To understand what CTR is, you’ll first need to know what an impression is.

An impression is when one of your video’s thumbnails is at least 50% visible for at least one second on a user’s screen.

The click-through rate of a video is the percentage of clicks that a video has when compared to its number of impressions.

So, if a YouTube user has your thumbnail on their homepage for over one second, you get an impression. When they click on the video and start watching it, your CTR goes up.

To get a better idea of how CTR works in terms of percentage, imagine that 100 users see your thumbnail on YouTube but only 10 click on it. The CTR for that video will be 10%.

But what does this value really tell you?

If your video has a high CTR, then your thumbnails and titles are captivating enough that users want to know what it’s like.

But, if your CTR is low, then your thumbnails and titles probably aren’t engaging enough and need improvement.

When Do Impressions Count?

Before moving on, it’s important to understand that not all views of a thumbnail count toward impressions. You might think that the value is lower than it should be, so consulting this table can help.

Count toward impressions

Don’t count toward impressions

YouTube on the app, computers, games consoles, and TVs

Embedded links on other websites


YouTube mobile website

Search results on YouTube

App for YouTube Music or YouTube Kids

Feeds (history, Watch Later, subscriptions, trending)

Notifications or emails

Up Next recommendations, including auto-play

Cards and end screens


Videos that play in the background on another tab (thumbnails aren’t visible to user)

Thumbnails that are less than 50% visible or not visible for more than a second

TrueView video discovery ads

Why CTR Matters

Studying your click-through rate can help you understand how engaging your titles and thumbnails are. You can then improve them to get higher values.

But why aim for better content and higher stats?

If your goal on YouTube is to monetize your channel, these metrics are hugely important.

The platform’s algorithm boosts content with higher click-through rates, average view durations, and more because these stats prove that the video is engaging and worth being shared with other users.

As these stats increase, the chances for monetization also increase.

Where To Find Your Click-Through Rate

Before you start making changes to your channel, take a look at your metrics. You can check your channel’s overall CTR by:

  • Signing into YouTube Studio.
  • Selecting Analytics from the left menu.
  • Open Content. You will see Views, Impressions, Impression click-through rate, and Average view duration.
  • Click on the Impression click-through rate to see the graph.

If you want to see the CTR for a specific video, follow these instructions:

  • Sign in to YouTube Studio.
  • Select Content from the left menu.
  • Select the video you want to know more about.
  • Click on Analytics on the left menu.
  • Select Reach.

You can filter by date ranges to have different perspectives on how your channel or video is doing.

How To Compare CTR To Other Metrics

Having a high CTR doesn’t necessarily mean that your video is doing well. You can have a more complete idea of how users interact with your content and if YouTube is recommending it by comparing the click-through rate with other metrics. For example:

  • Impressions
  • Average View Duration
  • Views

CTR and Impressions

The click-through rate of your videos is measured by dividing clicks by impressions.

Despite being directly linked, the CTR won’t necessarily increase at the same rate as the impressions.

If your video is competing against similar content, users might click through on other videos.

This will raise your impressions but not your CTR.

The source of the impression matters a lot.

If it’s from a user’s home page, it can be tough to stick out when so much is on offer. The same goes for search results. Your video might be in a more specific group, but it might not stick out against similar content.

These will give you lower click-through rates as the impressions will be higher, but the clicks won’t.

A way that your rate can be quite high is when traffic comes through your channel.

Users that specifically open your collection of videos are likely to select one because that’s what they’re there for.

Keep these factors in mind when figuring out how your video is doing.

CTR and Average View Duration

A good indicator of the quality of your content, titles, and thumbnails is the relationship between your click-through rate and the average view duration for each of your videos.

A high rate and long average view durations mean that you’re creating great content that viewers are captivated by at the impression stage and engaged with as they watch.

However, a high CTR and low average view duration mean that your titles and thumbnails are more interesting than your content. You will need to work on keeping viewers hooked right from the start.

Another reason for these kinds of values is that the video has a clickbait-style title or thumbnail and the content doesn’t match the expectations of the user.

When this happens, YouTube will stop recommending the video as the system can tell it’s not what it claims to be or is irrelevant to the user.

CTR and Views

As your CTR increases, the number of views should also increase.

If they are both quite high, then it shows that YouTube’s algorithm is recommending your video to other users.

On the other hand, if your CTR is low but the views are high, it can mean that your video isn’t being recommended as often.

Your traffic is probably coming from other places, like embedded links or shared posts on other platforms like Facebook and Instagram.

What Is a Good Click-Through Rate On YouTube?

YouTube doesn't reveal much about the click-through rates over the whole platform, including a complete average.

What is known though is that the CTR range for half of the channels and videos on YouTube is 2-10%.

While it may not be a complete figure, it still gives a good reference for creators. 2% might seem like a low level, but you need to know how visible the video is on the platform. Two people out of 100 isn’t great, but 20,000 out of one million is a lot of views.

You can aim to increase your CTR, but having a video with 20,000 views is still an achievement.

It also shows that your content has potential as YouTube is recommending it to a million users.

No matter what rate your channel has, you can always seek to improve it by making small adjustments.

However, be careful not to react too quickly. Your click-through rate will always be changing slightly, so there’s no cause for alarm as soon as you see a lower value.

Here are some quick tips from YouTube:

  • Don’t be too hasty with making changes. CTR needs to be studied over long periods of time.
  • Don’t worry about small variations. They’re normal. If there is a significant drop, then find the reason and make improvements.
  • Don’t change the title and thumbnail of your video too often as a testing process. Not all audiences are the same.
  • Take traffic sources into consideration. As mentioned above, not all views of a video’s thumbnail count toward impressions.

How to Improve CTR

Now that you have a clearer idea of what CTR is, how it relates to other metrics, and what kind of values you can aim for, here are some tips on increasing it. You’re going to want to focus on:

  • Choosing your niche
  • Being consistent
  • Creating captivating thumbnails
  • Optimizing for SEO (search engine optimization)

By using this framework, you can get included in YouTube’s algorithm for recommending videos, which will lead to higher click-through rates.

Choosing Your Niche

Before implementing any technical changes, try figuring out what your niche is.

Knowing what you want to share is the most important part of any brand. Channels that post videos on random themes have fewer chances of succeeding.

Would you follow a YouTuber who posts a 10-minute soccer compilation one day, a music video the next, and a video essay on current politics the next?

So focus on your style and make content that is unique and fresh. Having your own voice is what will get you noticed.

Being Consistent

Once you know your niche and style, you should focus on consistency.

This will help you get into the workflow necessary to have a successful channel and also increase your chances of being recommended by YouTube.

The two most important ways to be consistent are:

  • Have a consistent posting schedule
  • Maintain a consistent level of quality

Figure out a posting schedule ahead of time. Sharing original content every day works well, but isn’t strictly necessary.

In fact, if you can’t keep to this schedule because of other commitments, don’t even start.

If you have time for posting on two days of the week, go for that. Just make sure that you stick to that schedule.

It’s better to post less often yet consistently than to try to post all the time and then fail.

In terms of quality, you also need to be consistent.

Your subscribers won’t trust your style if you post content that is highly stylized with great, high-quality shots one day and then poorly shot videos that lack substance the next.

As you become more consistent, YouTube’s system will notice and start recommending you to other users.

Your impressions are going to increase and so will your CTR.

Creating Captivating Thumbnails

As you’ve seen so far, a good click-through rate comes from getting impressions from other users and then having them click on your video.

And the first thing these users are going to notice about your video is the thumbnail.

That’s what is there for them to see first. So, just like when meeting someone new, you’ll want to make an amazing first impression.

Thumbnails that get clicked on more often need to be high-quality images that can captivate and intrigue the viewer.

They should feel like the video will offer them something new that they’ve never seen before, while also looking somewhat relatable so they know what they’re going to spend their time on.

Here are some concepts to keep in mind when creating a thumbnail:

  • High-quality images
  • Contrasting colors
  • Striking graphics
  • Distinct themes that show off who you are
  • Text that teases expectations
  • Good thumbnail font

And here’s a fact that many creators overlook: over 70% of content on YouTube is viewed using mobile devices.

So, don’t just create thumbnails that will stick out on a computer. Aim for visuals that work just as well on phones and tablets.

Optimizing for SEO

The last way to boost your impressions and click-through rate is by focusing on search engine optimization (SEO).

You need to study the optimal keywords and phrases that should be included in all aspects of your content. These include:

  • Titles
  • Thumbnails
  • Descriptions
  • Tags
  • Videos


Including keywords in your titles will make your videos easier to find in search results, whether on YouTube or on other search engines like Google.

You also need to focus on making the title intriguing, catchy, or captivating to increase your chances of clicks and higher click-through rates.

Why not try this: open your YouTube homepage and look at all the suggestions.

Which titles stick out most to you?

Which videos would you watch based on their titles?

Take inspiration from your favorite content and develop your own style of creating great titles.

Here’s an example.

If you’re creating content about gaming and want to post a video of your Fortnite play-through, don’t just write “Fortnite Gameplay” or “Watch Me Play Fortnite”.

Be more specific and enthusiastic about what you’re going to present in your video. “Most Intense Fortnite Arena Game Ever!” will get your viewers interested.

Be careful with clickbait-style titles though.

If your game of Fortnite isn’t at all intense, viewers will quickly realize this and move on.

This will lead to low average view duration times and will lower your chances of getting recommended by YouTube to other users.


You’ve already seen how thumbnails can be improved, and that includes adding text that teases expectations.

If you do decide to add text to your thumbnails, make sure it’s search engine optimized.

Create a slogan-style phrase that includes the best keywords for the video’s niche. And don’t just copy the title exactly.

Add something new to the mix.

Video Descriptions

YouTube’s system doesn’t just follow keywords in the video’s title.

The description is also read to see how relevant it can be for other viewers. Write about what the viewer can see and expect from your content and include plenty of keywords.

Look for creators who have content that has high metrics and study their descriptions.

See how they find the perfect balance between user- and algorithm-optimized keywords.


The tags you add to your video are exactly what keywords are: specific and precise words that show what your video is about.

When YouTube users search for new content, they aren’t going to accidentally write the exact title of your video.

They’re going to search for relevant keywords, so adding plenty of them will increase your chances of showing up in their results.

Be careful not to go overboard though. YouTube recognizes keyword stuffing. Videos with more than 60 tags tend to get flagged by the system and aren’t shared.


Lastly, include keywords in your videos.

They can be written out, but should also be spoken, as YouTube can “listen” to your content’s audio.

The system will pick out keywords and register them as relevant.

Aim for including these words in the first 30 seconds.

If you’re making a how-to video, tell viewers what you’re going to show them so that they know what’s coming up.

YouTube will pick up on this and boost your content, leading to a higher CTR.

Bottom Line

The click-through rate is one of the most important metrics for you to study.

It can help you understand why your content is being shared but not viewed, as users might not be engaged with your titles and thumbnails.

To increase CTR, you need to increase impressions too.

Choose a great niche and make your own style, while sticking to a consistent schedule and level of quality. Optimize all your content for SEO, including titles, thumbnails, tags, descriptions, and the videos themselves.

And, most importantly for increasing your CTR, create amazing visuals for your thumbnails that stick out and grab the user’s attention.

As your click-through rate increases, your chances of being boosted by YouTube’s algorithm and getting sponsored with ads will also increase.

Make a few simple changes and start working towards having a successful channel.

Are there any other tricks you use for increasing CTR? Feel free to share them with other readers in the comments section.


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