You can’t improve what you can’t measure, right? You need the right video metrics not just to motivate you to produce greater videos, but as well as guide you on what to actually do next.

You really don’t want to be caught up tracking video metrics that don’t yield actionable insights, a.k.a vanity metrics. Why? Because those metrics would not only waste resources, they’d also do nothing for your bottom line.

So, which metrics to use in setting your video up for success?

Track-Worthy Actionable Metrics

1. View Count

Originally listed as a vanity metric, or feel good metric, view count tells you if you’re able to deliver the video’s value within a platform-specific time frame. Social video platforms allow 3 seconds to pass, except for YouTube, before registering a view count:

  • Facebook: 3 seconds
  • Youtube: 30 seconds
  • LinkedIn: 3 seconds
  • Twitter: 3 seconds
  • Instagram: 3 seconds
  • Periscope: Immediately on click or after 3 seconds for autoplay
  • Snapchat: Immediately on click

Why does view count matter? 47% of a video campaign’s value comes from the video’s first 3 seconds. The quicker you capture attention and deliver your message, the higher the chances of people remembering it.

How to increase view count? Content-wise, use attractive custom thumbnails and attention-grabbing headlines. Most platforms have an autoplay feature, so it’s not for the beginning of the video, but for the suggested or related video afterwards. Entice people to view the next videos with captivating thumbnails and headlines.

Distribution-wise, promote it on social media (if you can, ask influencers to share your video with their followers) and send it to people via email (Video on emails boosts click-through rates by 200-300%.). You can promote for free or you can utilize the platform ads.

2. Play Rate

Play rate is the number of video plays divided by impressions. It takes into consideration the video’s location on the page or site and the process it takes to play the video (i.e. if it takes the viewer 2 clicks or more to watch).

Why does play rate matter? It gives you insight as to the effectivity of your opening image on your click-to-play video ads, a well as its placement on the site. This is something you can test or experiment on. Would the video work better in the middle, upper right corner? Or maybe it’s better below the fold?

How to increase play rate? Just like with increasing view count, the titles and the thumbnails matter. The more attractive and relevant they are, the more chances of being played. Wistia found out that even customizing the player colour helps, “Videos with a custom player colour have an 18% higher play rate than those that stick with the grey default.”

Distribution-wise, it’s pretty the same with principles in view count, you can promote it for free or through ads, but there’s one more thing you can do to increase play rate via the search engines. Use “video rich snippets” to let people who are searching for a particular topic or something relevant to it know that your content has a video. Remember, people prefer watching than reading and by 2021, video will account for 82% of web traffic.

Take a look at this example. If you type “shootsta video” on Google, this will appear:

Shootsta Video SERP

The first three results are rich video snippets, but the fourth isn’t. Rich video snippets have a title, link, date, author, description and thumbnail. The snippet lets people know that the content is or has a video and it also indicates duration. Check out the duration of Shootsta’s videos from the snippets. Notice that they’re not even 3-minutes long. Why? Well, it encourages people to watch! Admit it, you won’t watch a video that’s more than 3 minutes long…

3. Engagement

Engagement rate is how much of your video content people watched. In general, engagement is indicative of your content’s quality, relevance, and effectiveness, expressed in session or watch time:

  • Average view durationFacebook’s page insights has the Minutes Viewed and Views and 10-Second Views metrics to learn the audience’s preferred format and get unique insights on their viewing behaviour. The questions marketers should ask at this point are where are viewers dropping off and why are they not watching all the way through? Which parts of the video did they like and why?
  • Average completion – If people watch the video all the way through, then it’s the best indication that the video was done right. If they press replay, then all the better! Facebook prioritizes videos with high completion rates in their news feed.

Why does engagement matter? Engagement is probably the most important metric that should be monitored in every funnel. If a video has a high-engagement rate, it tells you where to focus your efforts to get leads, it signals the publishers to give you more exposure, and it guides advertisers to invest in you, and so on.

How to increase engagement? Video length matters. According to Wistia, it’s the 30-seconds to 2-minute long videos that get tons of engagement and that there’s a significant drop-off between the 2 and 3-minute mark. Does this say never make a long video? Not really, as Facebook Watch pages can attest to. Videos in Watch run for 4 to 20 minutes, much like a TV episode, but people go there knowing that they’ll watch longer than they do in their Feed.

Improving engagement is a tricky thing, so try experimenting and testing. Your data will guide you as to which works and which doesn’t. But for best practices:

  • Keep your videos short and creative but clear.
  • Put emphasis on quality and context. Sure, lively videos get a lot of engagement, but if it’s talking about sensitive issues like the holocaust, for example, the mood can’t be festive.
  • Make sure your communication is targeted and on-point. That you’re talking to the right set of people at the correct point in their customer journey. That the headline, description, thumbnail, and message are aligned. If those are about laser beams, for example, make sure the content fulfils the expectations otherwise, your viewers will feel deceived and stop watching.
  • Optimize for mobile as 98% or almost all millennials watch on their phones.

4. Social Share 

This metric is directly related to engagement. It counts the number of times your video has been shared across platforms and acts as a powerful personal endorsement from an individual or group to another.

Why does social share matter? The more people share your video, the longer the reach and the higher the engagement. Facebook says that 48% of video watch time is via shares.

How to increase social share? This requires knowledge of individual social video platforms and their analytics tools. But in general:

  • Ask – It doesn’t hurt to ask people to share your video, although it might be challenging to ask influencers to do it. Sharing your video won’t be a big deal to people if they like it. Treat it as a call-to-action at the end of the video.
  • Make your videos searchable and shareable – Employ the best SEO practices for videos, let people easily find you. As for content, produce videos that will make people look cool and feel happy, surprised, satisfied, inspired, etc. Most viral videos evoke that kind of emotional reaction. So, storytelling should be at the heart of your online video strategy.

5. Click-Through Rate (CTR)

This is an online advertising metric measured via call-to-action (CTA) clicks. If people got to the CTA part of your video, it means they’ve actually watched it through and that’s great! But what’s even greater is if you can get viewers to act on your call. Examples of CTAs are those that encourage viewers to subscribe to the channel, visit the site, and rate and share the video.

Why does click-through matter? Of all digital formats, video ads have the highest CTR. It’s probably the most important conversion metric. When your video receives a lot of impressions, but no clicks, you’ll register a low CTR, which will pull your quality score and ad placement down. What’s the average CTR? It varies per industry.

How to increase click-through rates? First, improve your play and engagement rates. Get people to the part of the video where the CTA appears (it could be pre, mid, or post-roll CTA). Then deliver a compelling CTA. Here are some quick tips on how to encourage CTA clicks:

  • Keep the video length to under  30 seconds.
  • Use power words for your CTA like “you”, “free”, “now”, etc.  A little sidenote: If you’re using YouTube, take advantage of CTA overlay and end card features for text-image or spoken CTA.

6. Conversion 

This metric’s definition depends on the action you want the viewer to take after watching the video and it differs for B2B and B2C. The most common conversion for B2B includes form submissions to capture customer information, visit a website, newsletter sign up, etc.

Marketers essentially want to convert leads to actual customers. Conversion usually falls in the middle of the marketing funnel where leads are qualified and become prospects.

Sales-funnelSales Funnel – Image Credit

Why does conversion rate matter? It’s the business metric. Simply put, it will eventually contribute to improving the ROI. It first gives marketers leads to nurture and then convert into customers, and that’s a fact:

  • 96% of viewers say that video influences their online purchasing decisions. – Animoto
  • People who watched demo videos are 1.81x more likely to make a purchase.– Adobe

How to increase conversion rates?  Choose the right kind of video for the middle funnel or conversion stage. Explainer videos are the best for making the perfect pitch. Keeping the video short, clear, and concise are still the working principles with improved conversion, as well as front-loading your most important messages. Never forget to include CTAs in your videos wherever they are placed in your funnel. And when you do, position the conversion elements like live chat, contact information, and conversion forms as close to the video as possible.

7. Feedback

Feedback isn’t a quantitative but a qualitative metric. It’s not expressed in numbers but in comments, suggestions, and even violent reactions. It doesn’t mean that expressions of approval or disapproval can’t be turned into numbers, as in conducting a survey, the process is just tedious and assignment of values can be subjective. Plus, to be able to make a decision about qualitative data, a pattern or trend has to first emerge signalling that it’s not something you should ignore.

If for example, a viewer left a video a comment saying they don’t like it because the background sounds are distracting, you can note it down as a technical aspect of the video. If you get several similar comments on the sounds nature, then you can start asking yourself if removing the sounds all together is the answer or just lowering the volume? Should changing the music be better and if so, to which music?

Why does feedback matter? Audience feedback can be an effective tool for understanding your audience and developing your content. It can make or break a campaign. Just take the Pepsi commercial with Kendall Jenner. That ad was taken down immediately because of? Negative feedback.

How to encourage feedback? Since video feedback is mostly done online, the best way to get people to leave feedback is via forms. Zendesk listed down some helpful tips on how to craft effective customer feedback forms:

  • Leave plenty of white space to make it easy on the eye.
  • Don’t make any fields compulsory, because you’re asking them a favour.
  • Set the tabbing order for ease of navigation.
  • Make it mobile-responsive.

In summary:

The 7 critical video metrics you should be tracking for success are:

View Count. Social video platforms allow 3 seconds to pass, except for YouTube which needs 30 seconds, before registering a view count. It’s important because it tells if you that you were able to capture attention and deliver your message to the viewers.

Play Rate. When prospects go to a site to play a video, it’s premeditated or deliberate. What you want to know is if your opening image or thumbnail is effective and if the video’s position/location on the site is ideal.

Engagement. Engagement rate is how much of your video content people watched. It’s probably the most important metric as it’s a business metric. If your video has a high-engagement rate, you’re clued in as what content to promote to get leads. A high engagement rate also sends a signal to the publishers to give you more exposure and encourages advertisers to invest in you. In short, this is the ROI metric.

Social Share. Social share is the metric directly related to engagement. The more people share your video, the longer its reach and the higher the engagement.

Click-Through Rate. This is an online advertising metric measured via clicks to the CTA. It’s important because it lets you know your number of prospective converts.

Conversion. Or THE business metric. It gives marketers quality leads or prospects to nurture and eventually turn into customers.

Feedback. The all-powerful qualitative metric that’s represented by sentiments or emotions rather than numbers. In an ever increasing connected and sociable world, it’s something marketers can take advantage of to make better content.

Now you’re armed with the best metrics to both evaluate and direct your content to maximise engagement and exposure. If you liked this article, please feel free to share it with your network to help them improve their video content marketing strategy.

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