May 8, 2019

Why Video Views Are A Vanity Metric & What to Focus On Instead

If you have a video with 1 million views, that looks impressive. But are those viewers the right audience for your business? Is your video actually achieving its purpose?

Too often, marketers focus too much on views and not enough on other metrics that better indicate the health of your video campaign. Digging deeper into other metrics can paint a better picture of what your video is accomplishing.

View count can help you understand the reach of a video and can be associated with better understanding your brand awareness. But to get the most insight from your view count, you need to know how it relates to other video metrics.

4 Metrics to Focus on Instead

1. Engagement

Engagement is crucial to get a sense of your video’s effectiveness.

For example, if you share a video on social, are people “liking” it? Are they commenting or sharing?

The goal of sharing a video on social is for it to spread beyond your initial reach. If you can get an intended viewer to share your video, they’ll likely be sharing it with similarly qualified people.

For example, if you create a video targeted to SaaS CEOs on LinkedIn and one of them shares it, they’re sharing it to a network of people who work in similar industries and in similar positions.

2. View length

How long someone is watching your video for can help you better evaluate the meaning of your view count. If you have a million views on a 30-second video, but the average view length is 2 seconds, that video isn’t performing successfully.

According to Vidyard, 59% completion is the benchmark retention rate for videos under 90 seconds with 46% of viewers watching entirely to the end.

3. Conversion rate/follow through on the desired action

Are people taking the desired action you want them to take after watching the video?

Video conversion rate or follow through isn’t always the easiest thing to track. If there’s a CTA or link below the video, you can use that link’s click-through rate to measure this.

With less in-the-moment video goals, you can gain an understanding of effectivity based on the goal of that video.

Are you seeing an increase in quality applicants after creating a recruiting video? Are you gaining leads who better understand your brand and product after a prospecting video?

4. ROI

While return on investment should be at top of mind for any marketing initiative, video often does not directly generate revenue, making it tricky to track. The goal of a marketing video shouldn’t be to directly make you money, rather, consider it a stepping stone to help move the prospect toward becoming a customer.

Videos can contribute to your bottom line in terms of nurturing and converting prospects. Educational videos can help move prospects through the buyer's journey and including videos on landing pages can increase conversions.

Download your copy of Video Strategy: The Complete Marketer's Guide today!

Understanding Which Metrics Are Applicable

Not all the metrics listed above are relevant for every video.

Prior to creating a video, sit down and determine what its purpose will be. This is typically going to be guided by gaps in your existing content strategy. Once you’ve identified the goal of the video, you can begin to suss out which metrics will help you track its success.

For example:

    • The goal of a recruiting video is to drive job applications. View length and social engagement might be applicable on relevant platforms like LinkedIn, but the ultimate thing to look for as a result of recruiting video is an increase in high-quality applicants.
  • The goal of nurture videos is to convert prospects. In addition to looking at conversion rate and ROI, you will want to look at whether you’re seeing more informed prospects. How informed your prospects are isn’t a tangible metric that you can directly link to ROI, but rather an experiential aspect that can contribute to the buyer experience.
  • The goal of internal training videos is to educate your employees. If a department head can record a video that can then be used over and over again and that video enables employees to do their job, that training video is successful regardless of view count.

Analyzing the Effectiveness of Your Videos

You can find insight into video performance through your video hosts. Youtube, Wistia, Vidyard and each social media platform define metrics differently.

There’s not internet-wide standard for what’s defined as a view. Someone just seeing the video in their feed could count as a view. The video autoplaying for five seconds could count as a view. Or, a view could be an intentional click and play.

It’s important to research and understand how each platform defines each metric you’re tracking and account for that differentiation when analyzing your video performance across platforms. Twitter offers significantly fewer insights than Vidyard, but you don’t want to write off a video as performing poorly on Twitter just because you lack data.

The purpose of a video and the channel its distributed through will both impact performance. How videos function when posted through a video host, on social media and in an email changes because prospects’ behavior is not the same on the different channels.

To determine effectivity, you have to look at each video in relation to purpose it’s meant to serve on each platform it’s on.

Additionally, consider where the video is placed to gain further insight. If it’s embedded with a tweet, comments and shares can be factored into video performance metrics and you can use tracking urls to collect data on click-through rates.

The most genuine feedback you can get is verbal feedback. When appropriate, you can also collect direct feedback from people who’ve watched your videos.

After employees at your company watch an internal training video, you can talk to them about how the videos contributed to their understanding of the subjects covered. Ask new hires what they thought of your recruiting video. Add a question about video into NPS surveys or closed-won/closed-lost surveys about sales experience.

When collecting anecdotal feedback, you should still have a formal information collection and documentation strategy in place. Once the feedback is collected, you need to have a process for implementing it to improve your video strategy.

Finally, your video should never go directly from video creator and editor to the public. There should be a quality assurance process first where other internal team members will review the content. It’s easy to put a video out, but if you’re not actually collecting feedback, you won’t be able to improve your strategy over time to better reach your audience.

The Takeaway

Video views are important, but not as important as most people think they are. They are a great indication of reach, but that only matters if you also know the other metrics.

Video metrics are not universally relevant, and to get the best understanding of your video performance, you need to focus on the metrics tied to the goal of each individual video.

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Tag(s): Video Marketing

James Henault

James is a former New Breeder.


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