Steffan Aquarone

Steff is a film producer and technology entrepreneur who speaks internationally on innovation, entrepreneurship and digital marketing

How to Measure Your Video

In spite of the proliferation of online analytics packages available, most marketers don‘t realise how much rich, detailed information about their online video can be fed in. Actual data is the only way brands can understand what content their consumers find appealing and even this short article should be able to reveal some of the faculties of online video measurement that are often obscured – or withheld completely.

YouTube has shown us how great video can look on the web, but it’s not shown us the full breadth of fantastic information that can be gleaned about viewers‘ behaviour. Similarly, self-hosted content (i.e. where it‘s put on your web server and pointed to from your site with a free Flash player) will only tell you how many times each video file has been accessed, if you‘re lucky.

Even the most basic of online video platforms should be able to offer you the following data about how your videos are being consumed:

  • View counts by day
  • View counts by hour of the day
  • Views per host site (the different places where the video is available)
  • Duration monitoring for every view on every video (how far through the video people watch and which parts were re-watched the most)
  • Comments and when they were made
  • Social media sharing per video and day
  • Interactivity performance (appearance of ads or clickable regions, click through rate, close rate and crucially, when the ads were clicked)

These basic insights should be the very minimum set of data you look at to make simple assessments about the return on investment of your online video or the  effectiveness of a particular piece of content as an awareness builder.

However it‘s all very well sitting down at your review meeting and remarking at how great it is that 4,362 people watched your video yesterday – but what are you really trying to measure? Video is interactive, and when a viewer or customer does something around a video, it‘s likely to be a choice from several options rather than a simple ‘response‘ that we‘re used to from traditional media measurement. A click is incredibly useful of course, but on its own doesn‘t reveal the extent to which an ad is involving the customer with the brand. Rather than focusing on simplistic measurements like click through rates or video views, you need to look at aspects like engagement rates and duration monitoring too.

If you‘re using online video for retail, look at which products viewers are interested in, not just the raw number of click throughs. Compare people’s browsing behaviour to their buying behaviour by plotting video views throughout the day against purchase volumes – you might find people prefer to browse video in the evenings, but make their actual purchase decisions during lunch breaks the following day. These insights could fundamentally affect the way you organise your website during different times of the day, and when you dispatch outbound marketing messages.

Ensuring you have visibility of your video metrics in the same system as your overall analytics reporting will help you do everything from attribute individual commercial values to each piece of content, to see where video fits into visitors’ overall engagement with your site. A/B testing will help you determine the impact a video is having when inserted at a particular point in the user journey – meaning you can use actual information to improve where in the site customers are presented with video, and what type of content has the biggest impact on conversion.

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