Make Sense of the Noise: 7 Key Video Metrics to Measure Success

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You know what my favourite feeling in the world is?

It's a job well done, when you can sit back, relax and be confident in the knowledge that you've achieved something great (if it's past 11am you can even pour yourself a well-deserved drink).

make-sense-of-the-noise-7-key-video-metrics-to-measure-success-1Things are not quite so simple when your task is to create some effective video content. Oh, the rush when you put your carefully-crafted video live and kick-start its distribution strategy is still just as good. But you can't stop there and crack open a bottle of wine — you've still got half a job left to do.

Next comes arguably the most important part of the whole process. After all, without it you'll never know if your video content was successful. Yes, it's time to dive into your video metrics!

What do all these numbers mean?

Once your video is live (and if you've used a good video host like Wistia), you'll probably have an influx of metrics to consider. You'll be able to find out who watched your video, for how long and how many times. But it can be a little overwhelming at first with this level of information at hand.

Start with the basics. To measure the success of your video content, you first need to consider the objective(s) of that video or series of videos. What are you looking to achieve? From there you can tie specific metrics to your goals and start tracking success.

(It goes without saying that the more initial planning you do for your video content, the easier reporting on metrics will be. Setting your video goals should be your first step — not only will your content itself benefit from greater direction, but you'll have more time to ensure access to all the data you need.)

We recommend measuring and reporting on a few different metrics. You'll want to focus on more than one to ensure you're getting an overall view of the success of your video, but if you're tracking everything then you probably haven't narrowed down your objectives enough.

And don't just measure the success of your videos for better reporting. Use your findings to foster continuous improvement, to help direct your future video projects towards greater successes.

7 important video metrics

Below are 7 key metrics that will help you to track how successful your video content has been against your video objectives. Just click the links to jump to those you're interested in, or keep reading to learn about them all.

1. View count

2. Play rate

3. Engagement 

4. Social sharing

5. Click-through rate

6. Conversion rate   

7. Feedback



1. View count

7-key-video-metrics-to-measure-success-viewsThe simplest but most deceptive metric of all, view count tells you the raw number of how many times your video has been viewed (as you might expect).

Basically your views indicate the reach of your video content. If you want your video to be seen by millions of people in your target audience, then you'll want to track views. However, be aware that views are counted differently across the web — for example, on YouTube a view is counted once 30 seconds of a video have been watched, whereas on Facebook it's only 3 seconds. So if you've placed your video on various channels, keep this in mind when aggregating data.

If you're looking to boost your video view count, consider these tips:

  • Share your video with your audience, through email and social media.
  • Share your video with relevant influencers.
  • Pay to promote your video on channels where your audience can be found.

Don't take views as the be-all and end-all of your video content. It's nice to know how great your video reach is, but unless your only aim for your video was to spread awareness, it's really just the first step in measuring its success.

2. Play rate

7-key-video-metrics-to-measure-success-playsPlay rate is the percentage of page visitors who actually clicked play and began watching your video.

This metric is a good measure of how relevant your video content is to the location where it's placed, and how successful it is at enticing visitors to watch. If you want a certain percentage of your target audience to click play on your video (whether it's a video on your homepage explaining your service or a training video for your employees), play rate is the number to keep an eye on.

If you want to increase your play rate, try the following:

  • Increase the size of your video embed or move its position on the page.
  • Pick a more engaging, vibrant, eye-catching and relevant thumbnail.
  • Change the copy around the video to make sure it accurately communicates its content.
  • Move your video to a different page — maybe it would be more appreciated elsewhere.

Not all videos will have equal play rates. It doesn't just depend on the attractiveness of the video, but also its content. A video that appeals broadly to everyone in your target audience will likely have a higher play rate than a supplemental, specialised video.

3. Engagement

7-key-video-metrics-to-measure-success-engageHere's when we get to the real meat of how effective your video is.

Engagement for each viewer shows you how much of your video they watched, and is expressed as a percentage. Average engagement, also a percentage, tells you how much of your video all viewers watched on average.

This metric is incredibly useful, especially if you see it expressed as an engagement graph which shows how your audience as a whole watched, re-watched and stopped watching your video (learn more about enagagement graphs here). With this data you can start to gauge the quality and usefulness of your videos.

Are viewers watching all the way to the end (as they might do with a story-driven narrative), or jumping around to view specific parts (as they might do with a Q&A video)? If you have a Call-to-Action (CTA) at the end of your video you'll want your audience to reach it, but with an engagement graph you may realise that lots of your audience are dropping off before that point.

To improve your video engagement, here are some of our recommendations:

  • Keep your video content short, concise and clear. If something is unnecessary, cut it.
  • Fulfil your audience's expectations — this ties into accurate communication on the page around the video. If a viewer expects an explanation of how to use your product but is greeted by an advert about why they should buy it, they'll probably stop watching.
  • Pay attention to your average engagement, and especially engagement graphs. If viewers are stopping watching at certain points, work out why and change your video.

Engagement is relevant to almost every type of video in every type of industry. After all, at the end of the day you want your video to be watched. Just keep in mind the purpose of your video and be aware that a low average engagement isn't always a terrible thing.

4. Social sharing

7-key-video-metrics-to-measure-success-shareThis is a metric you'll no doubt be familiar with. Social sharing shows how much people are sharing your video content, usually measured by numbers of shares across social channels.

Although it might not appear to mean much by itself, social sharing leads to more views for your video which generally leads to more sharing. It's also a good measure of how appealing your video is to your target audience (and others), and how willing they are to spread the word about it. This all leads to greater awareness of your business or brand as well as an opportunity to tap into a larger portion of your target audience.

If your video objective is to reach the largest audience possible, you'll probably focus on this metric along with view count. With that in mind, you can increase social sharing by following these tips:

  • Ask your viewers to share your content — just asking can go a long way.
  • Specifically create content to be shared. That means it should probably be educational, entertaining or emotional, and it has to be able to stand alone.
  • Kick-start the sharing of your video by passing it onto influencers relevant to your target audience.

But don't just pay attention to the number of retweets you get. Also keep track of the comments you receive about your video, and whether people are saying positive or negative things.

5. Click-through rate

7-key-video-metrics-to-measure-success-clickAnother metric that isn't unique to video, click-through rate (CTR) is the percentage of viewers that click on whatever CTA you include in your video content.

Your CTR will give you an indication of how successful your video is at encouraging viewers to take action. Of course, nobody will click on your CTA if they don't watch enough of the video to see it, so keep an eye on engagement too. The click-through rate metric is most important if you're looking to drive your audience on after watching your video.

To improve the CTR in your video, we suggest you:

  • Alter your CTA. Try placing it at a different point in your video, or make it more visually appealing.
  • Improve your average engagement first, especially if viewers are dropping off before reaching your CTA. The more of your video viewers watch, the more likely they are to click through.
  • Make your CTA highly relevant to the content of your video.

Always make sure your CTA matches the video it's placed in. It should not only be relevant to the video topic, but should also fit the tone and look of the video.

6. Conversion rate

7-key-video-metrics-to-measure-success-convertConversion is the number of leads or customers that you have gained thanks to a piece of video content. Depending on the conversion opportunities on your site, they might have filled in a form, subscribed, made a purchase, or otherwise converted. This number can also be expressed as a percentage of all viewers that convert (your conversion rate).

This metric is a little trickier to track, and will probably involve some setting up through a separate analytics software to your video host, such as Google Analytics. You'll also have to work out your attribution model. Basically, how much will watching your video count towards the eventual conversion of that viewer? Does it only count if watching the video was the last thing they did before converting? Or does video get some percentage of attribution, along with every other step that viewer took before converting?

Conversion is a vital metric to measure if you're producing product videos or other types of video with a goal to increasing your conversion rate, and therefore gaining more leads or customers. You can improve conversion with these tips:

  • Make your video relevant to what your target audience wants to know at that stage of the funnel.
  • Always provide valuable information; answer your audience's questions or allay their fears.
  • Place your video in the right area of your site to help drive conversions.

Video can be a great tool to help boost your conversion rate, whether that's getting more visitors to sign up to your newsletter or encouraging repeat customers to buy from you again.

7. Feedback

7-key-video-metrics-to-measure-success-feedbackThe final key metric is feedback on your video, which we touched briefly on in social sharing. This isn't a number but rather the qualitative data you can gain by tracking how viewers react to and comment on your video content.

To get a true feel for the reception of your video, you'll need to listen to your target audience and the communities they engage with. Keep a note of both the digital and in-person comments you hear. Try to judge the tone of these comments, and thereby the overall reaction to your video. Positive is generally better than negative, but human emotions are complex and you may not always be looking for that kind of feedback. For example, many charity videos are built upon expressing a negative emotion to their audience, like sadness or pity.

Because of the qualitative nature of feedback, it's hard to suggest ways to "improve" this metric. However, don't forget this more human side of the data and don't be afraid to use it as evidence to create video content more tailored to your target audience in the future.

These are probably the 7 most important metrics when it comes to measuring the success of your video content, but they aren't the only ones. You may want to track more specific metrics depending on your video objectives — for example, when creating a Q&A video to address common concerns, you may want to monitor if the number of calls your support staff receive are reduced.

Pay attention to the data but don't jump to conclusions. Think about why things have changed, whether for better or worse, and what this will mean further down the line. It might seem like boosting your conversion rate is a good thing, but it's not if every new customer you get calls up to complain. Most of all, remember to learn from these metrics to continually improve each new video.

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