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May 10, 2016

Why Don’t My YouTube Playlist Metrics Match My Video Metrics?

By Tony Hart, Champions Specialist

You’ve added up all of the individual views for all of your videos and then saw that this number is way larger than the number given to you by YouTube for the views of your playlist (that includes all of these videos). Why?

There are three reasons why:

  1. Playlist stats only show the stats for videos being viewed from within the playlist viewer.
  2. Playlist stats include plays from external websites, so long as the PLAYLIST was embedded and not just the one video.
  3. Individual video stats show stats for the video, no matter where it was viewed or embedded (this INCLUDES views of the video within a playlist).

Let me show you.

This video is being viewed WITHIN the playlist viewer. Noted by the dark gray playlist to the right of the video and in the URL when it says &list=xxxxxxx. When viewed this way it will count the actions (view, clicks, etc.) for that playlist:
YT Metrics Playlist view

The playlist metrics do NOT however, count views of videos that are played from the video view like below. Noted by the “up next” or related videos view to the right of the video and the absence of the &list=xxxx in the URL. The video below would add a view for the individual video stats but NOT the playlist:
YT Metrics Video View

So how do we fix this? It depends on what information you want. Most people when they ask for “playlist” views, what they REALLY want are the metrics for all videos within a playlist (no matter where they were viewed), not how many times videos were viewed within the playlist viewer. Going with that assumption, below is a step by step walkthrough on how to do it since YouTube doesn’t have a built in way to do so.

*Tip: If there are only a handful of videos in a playlist, just grab the video ID of each of them and skip Part 1, it’ll save you time. A video ID is the random alphanumeric code that comes after the watch?v= in the URL. In the above example (the one with the male presenter) the video ID would be Elir9jU8iA8. Video IDs are case sensitive.

Pulling Metrics for All Videos Within A Playlist: No Matter Where They were Played
Now that we know why the issue arises, we'll tackle how to pull the metrics for all videos within a playlist (whether they were played within that playlist or anywhere).

Part 1:
We first need to collect all Video IDs from a Playlist. To find your playlist, go to then

  • Select “Analytics” on the left-hand menu.
  • Select “Lifetime” for the date filter.
  • Filter by “playlist”.

You will have to search to find the playlist you are looking for. When you select the playlist, it will only give you the stats for the videos when they were played within the playlist viewer. This is fine at this point because we are only interested in the video IDs. To pull a report to easily gather the video IDs,

  • Click “watch time” in the left-hand menu.
  • Select the “export report” button in the top right (as an excel spreadsheet).

This will give you a stat report for all of the videos within that playlist, but only the stats for when the video was played within the playlist. Next you’ll want to get all of the Video IDs. To do this you should,

  • Open the excel spreadsheet.
  • Copy the full 2nd column (“Video IDs”) except for the header.

Part 2:
Now that we have our Video IDs for all of the videos from our Playlist, we want to create a Group. A Group is a way to collate stats from multiple videos on YouTube. To do this you’ll want to,

  • Select “Analytics” on the left-hand menu.
  • Select “Lifetime” for the date filter.
  • Select “group”.
  • Select “create (video) group.”

Our next step in creating a group is populating that group with the videos from our playlist. First,

  • Click the “Add video by ID” button.
  • Paste video IDs in box (be sure they are separated by line breaks or commas).
  • Add name to group, I suggest using the Playlist name and current date.
  • Click “save” button.

It may take a few minutes to load but this will give you stats for all of the videos within that playlist, no matter where that video was played. You can view and navigate this information within YouTube’s analytics just like any other video. If you want to pull a physical report, click “Watch time” in the left-hand menu and then select the “Export report” button in the top right. You can also delete the first report (part 1) as we only needed the video IDs from it.

A few things to note about your stats:

  • There may be an issue when you export the first report (part 1) that it misses any videos added to that playlist in the last day or two. This is because YouTube is often a day behind on their metrics, so it wouldn’t have included the video ID of the newly added video because it hasn’t registered yet. You may have to wait a few days if you want those included or if you know what videos were newly added, you can add the video ID manually to your group.
  • 200 may be the limit for number videos in a group. You can still do part 1 normally, but you will only be able to copy 200 video IDs from the list to run the group report. So you will have to run part 2 twice and then copy paste them into the same document if you want a complete report.

Editor's Note: Tony Hart was formerly a member of our Mayo Clinic Social and Digital Innovation team, and was our in-house expert on YouTube. He's now a Marketing Specialist in Mayo's Division of Marketing.

Tags: Analytics, Platforms, Software, & Tools, Playlists, Video, YouTube

Liked by Raj Garcha, Dan Hinmon, MCSMN Director


Raj Garcha

Posts: 2
Joined: May 26, 2015
Posted by @rajgarcha, May 18, 2016

Hi Tony –

Hope the MCSMN Residency is going well. To think this time last year I was there..

The information above is so useful- thanks.. I am sure I will be bugging you with other YouTube related questions.

Best wishes


Posted by @TonyHart87, May 18, 2016

Hey @rajgarcha, #MCSMN is going great. You’ll have to join us again soon. Bring on the YouTube questions 🙂 I’m ready for them. Is there anything interesting that you’ve run into lately on YouTube?

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