How do you define success in the field of video content marketing? Read our two cents on key metrics and measurement structures to see where you fit.
It’s said that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. That saying can be applied to a realm as far-reaching as video content marketing - a channel where success comes in many different shapes and sizes.
Views have retained a long-standing dominance in the subject of video measurement. However, given the countless ways that the format can be used, added to the specific needs of their creators, there is often a need for something a bit more granular to define success.
Unfortunately, video lacks a standard method of proving its effectiveness, so you’ll have to make one yourself. Your best bet is to look into the type of metrics available and consider how each can deliver a positive impact for your video marketing project.
Even the most ROI-driven marketers will be looking for a point to build off. This is often represented by...
- Views/view count: How many times your video has been viewed.
- Play rate: The number of people clicking play on your video (if applicable).
- Watch time: Used by YouTube as a ranking factor, this is the total amount of time that people have watched your video for.
- Average view duration: The average amount of time people spend with your video.
All of these figures are very self-explanatory and you’ll probably see them being considered in the early stages of measurement. Think of them as a starting point; we produced a video, so how many people viewed it?
What video specialists tend to do is look into basic metrics before moving onto the more granular and specific areas. Let’s call these…
- Comments: Whether they’re tagging their friends or airing their opinions, people have to make a conscious decision to comment on your video.
- Shares: Every single share or retweet opens your video up to a whole new audience.
- Click-through rate: If you’re including links within your content, what portion of viewers followed that journey?
- Audience retention: Available on most social platforms (Facebook, YouTube etc), we’re referring to the percentage of people who viewed your video from start to finish.
- Reactions: Whether it’s through likes, dislikes or emojis, your platform should have a way for users to submit a quick piece of feedback.
Each of these metrics implies engagement by the user. If you think about the tens of videos you watch on a daily basis, how many do you actually comment on?
There is a third tier of video metrics which start to take the form of actual business goals. Some specialists will prefer to establish their clients’ third tier at the start of their initial discussions. Video can drive a high return on investment (ROI), but what does that mean? Is it sales, awareness or another goal? These could be interpreted as...
The end goals
- Sales: Studies reveal that 64% of users are more likely to buy a product after watching a video around it. Away from tracking sales driven by viewers of a certain clip, retailers will even look at their online revenue before and after an investment in video marketing to gauge an overall impact.
- Subscribers: Followers, page likes and subscribers are like gold dust to anyone that has plans to maintain a regular video output. If you have a content channel, you should try to build the number of people consistently accessing it.
- SEO: If your video is looking to solve a problem, you could find it ranking well on YouTube and Google. From there, you can use basic analytics to view the effect of SEO on sales, traffic and anything else.
Sometimes it can be difficult to present the business impact of a video content marketing plan when there are lots of different metrics on the table. With an eye on simplifying the equation, a great deal of video content marketers will look to summarize the third tier through one metric: the conversion rate. This could be linked to sales, subscribers, downloads on a resource, or even users of a “Contact us” page.
In any case, it’s wise to come up with a few different metrics to measure. Not only does this give you a big enough picture to work off, but it will also help you drill down into the performance and identify where improvements need to be made. For instance, if your video is attracting thousands of views, comments and shares, but your subscribers are low, maybe you have an issue with directing people to your channel.
Every metric provides a small clue as to whether your videos are hitting the mark. On their own, these clues are valuable. Though if you’re really looking to go deep into the measurement of your video content marketing plan, why not develop a framework of different metrics? Here is what a tiered structure might look like according to the most common goals for video content marketers:
Tier one: Views and play rate are the obvious places to start if you’re looking to assess whether people were made aware of your content or brand.
Tier two: The next set of metrics should be informed by the subject of your awareness-building mission. For example, if you have a mention of a product or service at the end of your clip, you can use the average view duration to see how many people are getting to this point.
Pro tip: Your tier three can be represented by anything you want. However, do not underestimate the power of views for judging a basic level of awareness.
Tier one: If you’re looking for video as a method of building a highly engaged audience, look no further than watch time or audience retention - the natural step up from basic views and play rates.
Tier two: Proof of engagement derives from evidence of the viewer going out of their way to react to your content. We’re talking shares, comments, likes, or anything else that can highlight a reaction.
Tier three: The most engaged viewers will end wherever you want them. It’s common for marketers to link to their website and let the click-through rate speak for itself. For others, it’s best to focus on engagement as a way of growing a community through page followers and subscribers.
Pro tip: In the same way that you shouldn’t disregard basic awareness, it’s important to place value in engagement, regardless of how many views you attracted. Quality over quantity is sometimes the best way to look at the situation.
Tier one: This could be anything you want, although views are generally preferred over metrics like watch time. If your audience only sees 10 seconds of your two-minute video but goes on to convert, it has served its purpose.
Tier two: As click-through rates are usually the facilitator of a sale or a lead, it almost goes without saying that you should be looking into these.
Tier three: The conversion rate is the most important part of any sales-driven activity. Out of all the people that viewed the video, how many converted on the desired outcome?
Pro tip: Your content should be influenced by the end goal. For example, if you’re a broadcaster looking to gain new sign-ups for your paid content, your free clips should give people a taste of what they can expect from the service.
Unless you hadn’t guessed it by now, your best chance of developing a measurable, effective and refined video content strategy is by using a framework of metrics to assess its performance.
You should avoid the temptation of chasing “vanity metrics” if you’re after ROI and look at things from a stage-by-stage perspective. That way, if you’re able to pinpoint exactly where the overall journey isn’t being completed, you can start to tie up some of those loose ends.