Video Metrics Every Marketer Should Be Watching
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- April 24th, 2015
Roughly half of companies currently use video in their marketing strategies, and two-thirds of marketers expect to do so in the near future. But how do they actually measure the success of these videos? For many marketers, the key focus is view count. But if you look under the hood of what really drives a video strategy, it becomes clear that view count is primarily a vanity metric. You have no guarantee that these views are driving your business forward.
Even if your goal for the video is simply nebulous “branding” or “exposure,” there are better ways to measure ROI.
The Shortcomings of View Count
Why is video view count inadequate? The argument has echoes of the debate over how we value pageviews on websites. First, video view count tells you nothing about your audience. Who is watching is just as important as the number of people watching. If the audience is made up of people who don’t fit your target customer profile, those views are fairly worthless. You’d benefit more from a smaller view count by people who align with your target customer. Companies need data on who their viewers really are.
Second, view count sheds no light on whether your videos are actually resonating. If most of your viewers are watching your video all the way to the end, that’s a pretty telling sign. It indicates that you’ve chosen a good topic and created content others find valuable. If, instead, people opt out of your video after three seconds, you might need to take a different approach. Looking at metrics like these can help determine whether you chose the wrong topic, used the wrong delivery, or simply put the video in the wrong place.
Video Metrics that Actually Tell You Something
- Who is watching: Ideally, you’re using a professional player that matches IP addresses of viewers with the email addresses in your system. In this case, if your site visitors have volunteered their email address, (through a gated piece of content, for example,) you’ll be able to see which videos they watch across your website and landing pages. This benefits your business in a few respects. First, you can nurture these prospects in a segmented way. Have they watched your product overview? If so, send them a link to the pricing video. Have they watched just the pricing video? If so, share the product video. Second, it lets your sales team have more targeted conversations. Because a salesperson can see exactly which videos (and which parts of the video) a prospect has watched, they can focus on the topics that are most relevant to that customer. Finally, you can further gauge whether the right people are viewing your content if you cross-reference video viewing activity with other user behavior in your CRM.
- Play rate is the percentage of people who click on the video divided by the total number who access the page where it’s embedded. While play count is an absolute number, play rate indicates how appealing your video is, in the context of those who visited the page. A high play rate means that you’ve done a good job creating the right context for your video. For instance, it suggests whether the description adequately reflects the topic, whether the thumbnail image is appealing, and whether your video is prominent enough to attract attention. Ideally, we like to see play rates above 50%, especially if the video is the “main event” on the page. Focusing on play rate helps you optimize the context in which people view your video. As a sidenote, there are ways to drive up the playrate, such as autoplaying your video. We generally dissuade people from autoplaying, given that it can make site visitors feel tricked or blindsided. But there are certain contexts and applications that go over better than others, such as a silent looping autoplay.
- Average engagement: On average, what proportion of your video do viewers watch? Clearly, more is better; you want most people to watch your video all the way to the end. If many people click “play” only to exit the video immediately, you’re not meeting viewer expectations and your message isn’t having much impact. A high average engagement means that you’re sharing valuable information in a clear and interesting way. Ideally, you can also see where people are rewatching your video. For instance, take a look at the graph below, which shows user engagement for a video we made about our upcoming conference. The graph below shows average engagement over time, (indicated in blue). The red area indicates where people chose to re-watch this video. The red blip around 32 seconds shows that something attracted a lot of people’s attention there. In this case, it was a particularly cool camera trick. The blip tells us that perhaps we should use more camera tricks, or even make some videos about how to do the camera trick we used.
- Action completions: Focus on the number of people who complete your calls to action and whether using video helps drive this number up. Does having a customer testimonial on a product page result in more sales than a page without the video? Test it. You can also test different types of video: maybe an explainer video that showed how to use the product would result in even more sales than a testimonial. You should also pay attention to whether having video on the page increases call-to-action completion rates for actions not located within the video itself — such as testing a newsletter sign-up immediately below the video, or as post-roll on the video itself.
- Comments and social shares: if someone cares enough to comment on your video (or share it with their own audience), this means you’re making the right content. Not only does this get you in front of new audience members, but the credibility of the “sharer” rubs off on you. Furthermore, you can start creating a community via comments. Ideally, a rich discussion springs up around your video, with the video itself as the centerpiece. This fosters a sense of ownership by those who choose to actively participate by commenting or sharing the content. For example, this video prompted the creation of an ad hoc community, with participants sharing valuable information that empowers one another. These participants are adding real value to our website at no cost to us.
Non-Video Metrics to Watch
There are other metrics that can indicate whether you’ve made a successful video but that aren’t “video metrics” per se. Still, your videos can have a direct impact on their outcomes:
- Keep an eye out for increased time on page (how long someone stays on your webpage). Having a video on your page should increase the time people spend interacting with your business. Take a look at the average time on page before and after you launch a video, in order to gauge the impact of that content.
- Also look for decreased bounce rate. Ideally, your video prompts people to look for other great content you’ve made, rather than just leaving your site after viewing one page. You can facilitate this process by using mid-roll links (or other calls to action) at the end of a video or surrounding the video on the page.
The metrics you choose to watch can have a tremendous impact internally. Get others on the same page about the metrics that matter, so that everyone is working towards the same goals at the same time.
Watching the right metrics allows you to use video strategically. They indicate whether a video is accomplishing the business goal you want it to. Rather than focusing on quantity — how many people watched a video — focus on the metrics that indicate perceived quality. This will help your business focus energy on creating content that not only delights your customers, but also increases revenue.