The reason behind the meteoric rise of digital video has been driven in part by technology; faster mobile internet speeds, the accessibility of editing software, mind bogglingly powerful smartphone cameras have allowed us all to become film producers, as well as avid film consumers.
But the success of digital video is also down to the power of the moving picture to entertain and stir our emotions like no other medium out there.
For digital marketer’s video represents a unique opportunity. Brand films don’t only attract and hold attentions far better than written or image based content, they also encourage a deeper and more meaningful engagement with audiences. With YouTube democratising the playing field, businesses big and small have the opportunity to grow huge audiences online.
When it comes to consumer engagement though, YouTube is only the tip of the iceberg. Social video gains a staggering 1200% more shares than text and image based content combined. Just look at this screenshot from Sprout Social’s Facebook stats to see how video puts other social content types in the shade.
Of course, video can be a tricky thing to pin down when it comes to ROI. Unlike search engine optimisation and paid advertising, video’s effects aren’t as easily trackable online and, along with the continuing misconception that it is prohibitively expensive, it’s perhaps no wonder that so many smaller companies are still resisting video.
Naturally, as a video marketer myself, I’d like to address these concerns, so in this article for the 60 Second Marketer, I’m going to walk you through the most common video marketing metrics to factors into your content strategy when establishing your goals and KPIs.
You might be surprised just how many ways there are to track success once you upload that latest brand film to YouTube.
Ensuring your content is being successfully delivered to the right people is essential. Search engines such are one of the most effective ways of building traffic to your website or other web assets, like YouTube videos.
Creating a keyword strategy and then tracking your rankings for said keywords on all major search engines will help you to understand both how successful your current strategy is and whether there are alterations that can be made to boost the visibility of your videos.
It’s worth remembering when creating video content that YouTube is also a search engine and your videos should be optimised to appear in its search results in much the same way you’d optimise your website to appear in Google.
Although arguably the simplest metric of all to track, views can also be the most deceptive and should only be used as an indicator of success. Viewer count will inform you how wide a reach your video content has secured, but won’t tell you about engagement or how long people are watching for.
It’s worth remembering that different platforms calculate views differently (Facebook counts a view after just 3 seconds, whereas YouTube after 30 seconds), so it’s important to account for these variables when your data is being collated.
Similar to views, play rate tells you how many visitors chose to hit the play button and watch your video on a web page. This will help you determine whether your video content has been placed in the optimal location on a landing page.
Video content with a broad appeal is likely to attract a higher number of plays than more specialized content designed to reach a specific portion of your audience, so while directly comparing play rates of vastly different content is unwise, play rate percentages are important for informing key strategic adjustments.
As opposed to using views which, as we have covered, don’t always reflect the whole picture, YouTube uses watch time as a key ranking indicator when selecting which videos to rank above other similar content.
Understanding how long your viewers are watching for will help you to tailor your content, both in terms of subject, style, and length. Keeping your audience engaged is essential and highly engrossing content rewarded with a high watch time percentage will make a huge impact on the visibility of your content on YouTube and Google.
Your subscriber or social following is a huge indicator of success when it comes to brand exposure as every new follower is potentially increasing your reach. The data generated from your subscriber base will also provide a wealth of information and feedback on your content. This data will help you understand how and why you are gaining or losing subscribers, who your subscribers are, and the type of content they are most engaged with.
It’s no good having a huge subscriber base if they’re not engaging and sharing your content. Social shares are a more solid indicator of how interesting and engaging your audience is finding your video content. As well as keeping track of the number of social shares, it is also important to monitor the conversations those shares inspire, with viewer comments (both positive and negative) being invaluable to your constantly evolving video strategy.
Backlinks are not only an essential component to a solid and successful SEO strategy, but earning them (without asking for them) is a strong indicator that your content is hitting the mark and providing the right information to the right people. Depending on how you promote your content and how engaged you are in reaching out to influencers outside of the typical sharing sphere of social media platforms, backlinks are a useful metric to track.
Click Through Rate (CTR)
Understanding your influence and persuasiveness is important, with your CTR indicating the percentage of your audience choosing to follow through on a specific call-to-action (CTA).
Keep in mind that the placement of your CTA within the video itself is key and monitoring clicks will tell you if your audience watched for long enough to receive these messages. It is also important to note that videos watched through external platforms, such as YouTube, will tend to provide a much lower CTR than content viewed on your own website.
A/B testing is one of the most reliable and powerful techniques for tracking goals and measuring achievements. Comparing the successes one approach to another through A/B testing will quickly illuminate both success and areas that need tweaking or ditching altogether.
You may want to compare two landing pages to find out how or whether video placement affects play rate, or you could just compare to videos that are trying to achieve similar goals, to see what one is the most popular.
Arguably, one of the most important metrics, leads gained via video content campaigns are indisputable figures for the ultimate determination of ROI. Leads and increased enquiries isn’t a difficult metric to track but it can be very hard to tie directly back to a given marketing campaign.
This is why it’s important to clearly correlate success with your video campaigns by asking customers and leads the right information and properly tracking the customer journey using tools like Google Analytics. If accurate, the information gained will be invaluable for the formation of future strategies.
About the Author: Evelyn Timson is the Managing Director of UK video content agency, Aspect Film & Video. She has years of experience working with some of the world’s most recognisable brands like UNICEF, Nationwide, North Face, TaylorMade adidas, Slimming World and Farrow & Ball. You can connect with Aspect on Facebook or Twitter or see a selection of their award winning work on their YouTube Channel.