Worth While Watching: Social Video Success Metrics

Posted on March 27, 2017

So, you’ve posted a series of videos online via various outlets. To date, several of them have received hundreds, maybe even thousands of views. Great, right? Sure, it is! But now that you’ve got their attention, how do you duplicate that success?

Measuring video performance success (and opportunities) in depth helps to improve video content and determine appropriate pathways to success. By leveraging the learnings that video metrics provide, you can not only duplicate your success, you can go one step further by precisely enhancing relevancy and producing higher quality content that deeply informs, engages and entertains a wide variety of audiences.

Quick Start Tip: First and foremost, establish a clearly defined goal for your campaign and/or page/channel and accurately identify KPIs.

Reach Metrics

How many viewers are your videos reaching?

By knowing how many viewers you are touching per video, you can determine the best placement for both time and platform. Reach metrics can also be a vanity metrics. A large reach really doesn’t mean much if the set goals are not achieved.

"We've driven 250 million plus views and we've done millions of shares and thousands of press features, so we know all about vanity metrics and what they can get you. What we've come to realize is that they're not really good data for measuring the success of a campaign, at least in the short-term perspective. For some larger brands, all they're looking for is exposure and millions and millions of views is all they need. Nike is a perfect example. They're selling products no matter what they spit out, so it's just a matter of driving views and engagement on their content, but for the rest of the world that's not the case."
Stefan van de Graaff, Digital Marketing Director, Chamber Media

How many times is your video reaching viewers?

When a video is in front of the same person more than once, impressions can rise above reach. High impressions are also a good indication that SEO and hashtag use are on point, i.e. the right keywords are helping to drive people to your videos via search.

How many times is your video being viewed?

This one’s a biggie, so it’s important to note that the way views are counted is platform dependent. Of course, it goes without saying, (but we’re saying it anyway) that more than reach and impressions, views reveal reach based precisely on how many people have watched your video.

What’s the lifespan of your video?

With platforms like Facebook and Instagram, videos will receive an instant, rapid influx of views upon posting, then slowly die off. Transversely on YouTube, the second largest search engine after Google, views are collected over time and can be up one day, then quiet for a bit, then have second, third, etc. surges. When it comes to YouTube, with solid, quality content and optimized SEO, a video can enjoy a long, highly visible life.

Engagement Metrics

How is your audience is responding?

Play Rate
Views / Impressions = Play Rate.

Q: Large reach with low engagement?
A: Your content is not resonating with your audience.

Play rate indicates the percentage of times a viewer clicked "Play". This metric helps to determine the relevance of your video’s related content like thumbnail, title and description.

Watch Time
How long is each viewer watching?

Sure views are important, but watch time goes beyond view count to reveal the quality of views, including type of content that interests your audience most as well as ideal length.

Uncover key successes (long watch time) along with opportunities for improvement (drop-off points) and act accordingly. For instance, on platforms without length limits, try playing with different lengths to determine what’s optimal for your audience. At the same time, it’s also important to keep user behavior by platform in mind when determining length. Facebook/Instagram users passively scroll while YouTubers actively seek and watch video, so videos carefully curated for each behavior type perform best.

Tip: Optimize watch time. High watch time percentage on YouTube = increased search ranking. In short, your video is providing value if viewers are sticking around to watch it in its entirety.

How is your audience responding?

This one is a bit more complicated than it appears on first click. First need to know is that the depth of info revealed by "Likes" depends on platform. Platforms that feature likes only, simply indicate how much people are enjoying your video. Thumbs Up and Down on YouTube, goes one step further by indicating if viewers like or dislike your video. Enter Facebook Reactions. In addition to likes (which can prove to be more of a vanity metric – you like my video = I like yours), Facebook Reactions offer deeper insights into the emotions your videos conjure, like laughter, happiness, sadness, anger etc.

To really understand the psychology behind it all, it's important to understand your audience behavior. In addition, Likes can also serve as social proof. i.e. Watching something because a friend liked it or watching a video because it had thousands of likes = it must to be good. See we told you it was a bit more complicated than it seems…. More on the psychology of social proof, here.

How many times is your video being shared?

The coveted Share. This single reaction can increase reach exponentially. Second Wave Influencers (recipients of the shared content) is where most engagement happens -- Influencers share, then their fans (Second Wave) share, and so on...

Fact: A key indicator of an inspired audience, stats show that up to 92% of mobile video consumers share videos regularly.

While it’s natural to get excited about passive Likes, a share is like an endorsement and carries much more benefit, because stats also show that up to 92% of consumers place a higher value on recommendations from family and friends than any other form of advertising. That’s HUGE.

"There’s a reason why we think shares and views are worth something; even though it's hard to precisely measure its worth. We definitively know that they're valuable in the sense that the wider audience that you reach, the better your content will be at qualifying leads. So, if you're reaching an audience of a thousand people and you're trying to pull out one, the odds are a lot less likely to find the exact right person than if you're reaching a million people and trying to pull out a thousand. This is simply because a million people will kind of self-qualify -- if they don't like your content they'll click away, if they do like you're content they'll click through. So, all it is increasing your sample size. I don't know the exact benefit of a million views or a thousand shares, but I can tell you they're valuable. They're not entirely wasted and for our agency, the more eyes that get on it, the more likely we are to find the audiences that are interested."
Stefan van de Graaff, Digital Marketing Director, Chamber Media

Comments & Sentiment
Qualitative metric = Gathering your audience.

To be successful, knowing how your content is resonating and whether you're building a community around your brand (and content) is key and, the goal.

While likes, sharing and friend tagging increase reach, comments are where you can build a community via interaction. Creating content that elicits opinion, asks questions and most of all, requires a response from you that results in a direct conversation with your audience, is invaluable. Comments not only provide feedback, help measure opinion, provide insight into what works, what doesn't and how to create video your audience wants, it lends a “human factor” to their experience that enriches brand/content viewer loyalty.

Sound & Captions
Who’s listening?

Monitoring the percentage of people that watch with the sound on or off lets you adjust your content accordingly by platform, to deliver your message successfully. Did you know that 85% of video views on Facebook happen with the sound off? Here as well as on Instagram, you may want to consider captions and text over video as an option. This as opposed to YouTube, where people are there specifically to watch video, sound is on almost always.

Conversion Metrics

How well is your video converting?

Be it fans/followers, leads, customers, etc., whatever your goal is, in the end, it’s your bottom line that counts. One successful video is not enough. You need a well thought out content plan that takes your customers on a journey that they are willing to stick with.

"Maybe it sounds too simple, but what we've come to determine is the most effective way of measuring the success of the campaign is the direct attributable sales. The system Facebook and YouTube had in place were historically not great places to measure those. But today, they've gotten so much better that now, when we place a pixel onto landing pages or checkout carts, we can see all the way from the time that somebody views the video to if they click through on an annotation or button to go to the site. They explore the site and we can track all of those clicks down to when they get to the shopping cart and click, “buy now”. Tying the dollar value back to the views has been enormous for our agency, not only for attracting new clients but in our own success in knowing what works and what doesn't."
Stefan van de Graaff, Digital Marketing Director, Chamber Media

Click Through Rate (CTR)
What percentage of people are clicking your call-to-action?

Plain and simple, every video should include a strong, compelling call-to-action that tells the viewer what to do next – this helps to increase conversion.

"Generally speaking, we've seen between one to two percent click through. If the goal is to click through to your site or some other page, that's usually the first step - there’s usually a click involved that you want them to take. From there, there’s another drop off from people that have clicked through and then convert, which is typically between one to five percent. A lot of that depends on how good your site is, how good your conversion funnels are and how good you are at dispersing information. There’s a lot of variables that go into that, but if you can kind of marry those two that means you're on your way to developing a pretty healthy sales funnel."
Stefan van de Graaff, Digital Marketing Director, Chamber Media

Cost Per Click (CPC)
How much does each click cost?

CPC helps determine the ROI of paid campaigns. CPC should be evaluated in terms of both cost and quality, and whether clicks are generating quality leads. To ensure the lowest CPC and highest audience quality, it’s best to optimize content and target audiences appropriately.

Cost Per Action/Conversion (CPA)
How much does each conversion cost?

CPA also helps determine ROI of paid campaigns. While a low CPA is good, a low number of conversions is a sign of slow ad delivery.

"When comparing video performance on different platforms, it's less complicated than it may be for others because for us, a dollar is a dollar. Wherever we're getting a lower cost per click and lower cost per conversion, then that's the more successful platform for us and we'll typically shift spend to that platform."
Stefan van de Graaff, Digital Marketing Director, Chamber Media

Conversion Rate (CVR)
How many new leads/customers has your video won over?

If conversion rates are low, this signals a disconnect between your audience, your message and/or your CTA. It’s important to determine which or which combo of these elements is the culprit. The fix may be as simple as changing a few words. By using Facebook pixel or UTM parameters in Google Analytics to filter and track visits from specific links included with your video, you can better pinpoint successes and opportunities.

Cost Per Mile (CPM)
Cost per 1,000 impressions.

CPM is a good pricing option (paying for 1,000 impressions regardless of whether viewers engaged with ad or not) for brand awareness campaigns. If a campaign has a high Click Through Rate, CPM may be a more cost-effective option.

How do you measure success when it comes to videos you post? What’s most important when it comes to video metrics for your business? Interesting findings to share?

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