When the word “analytics” comes up, most content owners immediately gravitate toward viewership counts. However, though views are important, they’re only part of the larger picture. Truly comprehensive analytics help content creators ensure the videos they produce are providing real ROI.
Without proper analytics, businesses have no way of knowing whether their videos are just popular or are actually converting viewers into buyers. A video that has lots of views but doesn’t lead to sales is little more than a money pit.
With a well-built analytics tracking system, companies can see exactly where their leads come from, how they convert through the funnel, and where their marketing dollars have the greatest impact.
Real Data and Deceptive Views
Most companies recognize how important good data is to their revenue streams. New marketing technologies allow even the smallest companies to get a firm understanding of how their programs are performing across various demographics.
In the recent past, view counts were king. Businesses understood that more viewers equaled more brand recognition and more sales. Views are helpful, true, but they’re one of the easiest metrics to acquire and interpret. Anyone can go to YouTube and see how many views a video has, but that number only reveals how many people started the video — nothing more.
Views don’t tell you whether users left five seconds in, bailed halfway through, or made it to the bitter end. View count could be double or triple the actual engagement figures, but without other indicators, companies have no way of knowing. Engagement is difficult to measure on the whole, but if one video has 10 percent of viewers watching to the end and another has 90, that’s an excellent place to start.
Additionally, view counts don’t say who is watching a video. A video geared toward Baby Boomers in Texas with an actual audience made up almost exclusively of Millennials in New York probably isn’t accomplishing what the content creator intended. Fewer views within the right audience are worth much more than tons of views in the wrong one.
What You Should Measure
If view count isn’t the end-all of video analytics, what is? Predictably, no single statistic is the answer. A comprehensive analytics strategy should include:
Measure engagement with both average and time-based metrics. These numbers will show you what percentage of your video viewers are watching and where in your video they’re leaving. You can tell whether people rewatch a specific part several times or whether one particular lame joke or long-winded section is leading people to lose interest and close the tab.
Play rate refers to the percentage of users who encountered your video on a landing page or website and clicked the play button. In short, it tells you how much appeal your video has before engagement begins. More than a simple view count, this ratio can help you identify ways to optimize your video splash screen and where you locate your player.
Call-to-action response rate
If your video includes a call to action — such as “Click here for more information!” — your analytics should tell you how many viewers answer that call. This number is the most closely tied to ROI because it directly correlates with lead conversions.
Look at where in the world your viewers are located. Are you hitting the markets you want? Are there opportunities arising in markets you didn’t consider before? The more specific your demographic information is, the better prepared your marketing and sales teams will be to develop targeted programs and campaigns for different groups.
Yes, views is still one of the metrics that, when taken as part of a larger whole, can help you form a better strategy regarding the content and placement of your videos. If you have 100 percent of your target demographic fully engaged and completing your call to action but there are only three of them, you might want to figure out a way to get your video in front of more people.
Used properly, analytics will quickly tell you things about your business that would take years to learn without them. A comprehensive analytics strategy will allow you to make better data-based decisions, save time using automatic forecasting models, view and analyze real-time trends, and save money, as all the wasted man-hours you used before can now be spent boosting your ROI.
Start Measuring the Right Way
You know what works, what doesn’t, and what to measure. Now what? Follow these five steps to kick-start your analytics strategy and get better results from your videos:
Choose the right platform to host and track your videos
You have several great options available. YouTube and Vimeo provide the most cost-effective solutions and work well for most businesses, but they don’t provide some of the more advanced analytics that other platforms do. Vidyard and Wistia cost a bit more, but they’re worth the investment thanks to their great analytical tools and integration capabilities with most CRMs and marketing automation platforms, tracking viewers from first click to conversion.
Set monthly and quarterly tasks to analyze your analytics reports
Compare the results with previous numbers to see what changed to determine whether you need to alter your strategy, placement, or content.
Spend time reviewing engagement, total views, and play rate
Many views with little follow-through could indicate that your call to action is weak, while strong results on low numbers could mean your placement isn’t optimal. If your play rate is low, the placement of your video on the page could be poor or your chosen splash screen might not be attracting an ideal amount of attention.
ABC: Always be creating
Marketing is about consistency, and video marketing is no different. Produce high-quality video content on a regular basis to keep people engaged and your message fresh. Analytics allow you to fine-tune your approach with each passing month to maximize your impact by seeing what worked well and what fell flat. Every new video — success or failure — is an opportunity to gather data and learn how to do better next time.
Too many companies mistake sparse analytics for good data or neglect the analytical approach entirely, leading to millions of dollars in lost potential revenue every year.
Don’t leave money and customers on the table. Use analytics to gather and act upon the information you need to boost your ROI, broaden your brand appeal, and grow your company.
About the Author: Brandon Houston is the CEO of Switch Video, a video animation company that produces simple videos that “explain what you do” in an engaging and compelling format. Switch Video has produced more than 800 videos for clients, including LinkedIn, IBM, HP, Bayer, and American Express. Reach out to Brandon on Twitter.