View Counts Don’t Count! Using Video Analytics To Understand What’s Working And What’s Not

Don’t get caught up in the all-too-common impulse to chase view counts. Columnist Michael Litt explains why you need to first figure out your goals and then determine how to measure video marketing success.

ss-video-movie-clapboardAh, the viral video. It’s become both a blessing and a curse for modern marketers. On the one hand, who wouldn’t love to see their company’s latest brand video rival GoPro’s amazing YouTube content? On the other, it’s a safe bet that you created the video to generate leads and increase sales — not to displace GoPro.

If you’re a media company that monetizes every video view, going for more views makes sense. But for B2B marketers, the video marketing goals should be about quality vs. quantity. It’s a matter of strategy, not popularity.

The rise of YouTube, Vimeo and other video distribution channels has created the temptation to chase view counts. It’s a dangerous trap because if you’re focusing on vanity metrics, you are missing opportunities to use your videos to drive business.

Instead of starting with the idea that you’re going to create a video that goes viral, start with goals that will actually help the business. Think about what you want to achieve and track, and report metrics that actually measure against those goals.

Common goals for video marketing include driving more traffic to your website, generating more leads, building contact lists, qualifying prospects and converting leads into sales.

There are very real metrics to measure whether you were successful:

  • Attention Span And Drop-off Rates: How much of your video content are people watching? What percentage of your audience makes it to the end of each video?
  • Click-through Rates: To what extent are your videos driving traffic to your site?
  • The Total Amount Of Your Video Content Leads Consume: How many videos do individual leads watch in a day? A month? A week?
  • Which Specific Videos (Or Combinations Of Videos) Did Converted Leads Watch? Discover which video campaigns are driving conversion. Are there any trends?
  • Click-through Rates On Select Video Thumbnails: Split-test thumbnail images, and identify which are best at getting your audience to click and watch.
  • Device Type: What types of devices are your viewers using to consume your video content? Watching video on mobile is quite a bit different from watching on a desktop, and that can affect how you package content.
  • Geography: Is your content relevant to the location where most of your viewers are watching?

On their own, each of those metrics can help steer your video marketing strategy. There is even more power when you combine them to measure against your bigger goals.

Here are some calculations for a few of the most common metrics I see people using for video.

Driving More Traffic

If you’re looking to drive more prospects to a link included in your video, then you’ll need to measure click-through rates to find out the percentage of people who viewed your video who also clicked through to the site.

CTR =  # Clicks to Website
# Total Video Viewers

If your click-through rate is low, you likely have other issues to solve. Try split-testing other thumbnail images and ensuring your videos are easily seen. Double down on what works, and learn from what doesn’t.

Dig deeper into your viewers’ attention span to identify the parts of your video they’re watching and when they drop off. Maybe you need to move the call to action up earlier in the video. Maybe the video gets boring after 30 seconds, and people just turn it off.

Building Contact Lists

Video is a great tool to grow contact lists so you can communicate with prospects in the future. Building your contact list typically includes getting people to subscribe to email updates or your blog or accepting an invitation for a sales demo.

Video offers a simple, effective way to get new contacts. Add an email gate to request that viewers provide their email address before viewing the video.

And you can offer an opt-out so you don’t lose viewers who aren’t ready to provide their information.

To know whether you’re successful, the best metric here is subscription rate: What percentage of total viewers provided contact information?

Subscription Rate =  # Subscribed from Video
# Views

Then compare the metric to historic numbers on the same video, other videos or other marketing techniques for building contact lists.

Qualifying Leads

It’s fine to build a list of contacts, but the real value comes in identifying the ones who are most likely to convert from prospects to customers.

This is where video data is far superior to text-based content. You can drill down on the data to the individual viewer to learn who watched what, for how long and what they did afterward.

With a written white paper or case study, you can see who downloaded the material, but there’s no way to know whether they actually read it. With video, you know exactly what they consumed.

That’s powerful information for a sales rep looking to initiate a conversation or follow up on a previous contact.

There are a lot of metrics for qualifying leads, but engagement data provides the most telling insight into a prospect’s level of interest.

Engagement involves any action that your audience takes related to your content. It categorizes those who are interested enough in you and your video to act on it.

For qualifying leads, this can include actions such as:

  • Playing a video sent to them in an email. Not only are they interested enough to open the email, but they engaged by pushing play.
  • Sharing your video after watching it. The message has resonated enough that the prospect wants to share it with others.
  • Future action on your site. Viewers who continued to browse your site are particularly interested in your product.

This information used to be extremely difficult to collect, but thanks to video marketing platforms and CRM integrations, you can now easily qualify leads in your system based on their engagement with your videos.

Converting Leads

In a Demand Metric survey sponsored by Vidyard (my employer) last year, more than 70 percent of marketers said that video performs better than other content for producing conversions.

This is where I like to recommend our beloved ROI metric. Return on investment is particularly helpful here because this goal is so closely linked to sales and, ideally, money.

The question for every video, as with any content you produce, is whether it helps you make more money than you spent producing and sharing it.

ROI =   $ Sales from Video Conversions
                                $ Spent to Create Video

If you operate at a deficit, then your videos are not going to be a priority for additional investment. That’s when it becomes important to analyze your viewers’ attention spans to figure out exactly where you lost them.

Maybe you got into your sales pitch too soon and turned the audience off. Maybe a well-intentioned joke missed the mark.

The beauty of video and its rich engagement metrics is that you can pinpoint exactly what worked and what didn’t.

My hope is that these basic tools help you discover how successful your video marketing program is.

Remember, though: You won’t be successful if you don’t start by figuring out what the goal of your video is. Then determine how you’re going to measure success and how you’ll improve performance as needed.

Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.

(Some images used under license from


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