When YouTube brought online video to the mainstream in 2005, we were all convinced that view count was the most accurate way to measure success. As online video matured and evolved, however, we realized that some metrics are more important than others. While view count is certainly a barometer for success, it’s just one factor to consider. In fact, some advertisers were shocked to learn that the 30 percent drop in views across YouTube was intentional. The video-sharing giant is committed to providing more original content that engages consumers and drives up the metrics that matter. So what exactly are these metrics?
- View time. The problem with paying attention to view count is that you don’t get an accurate picture of the impact of the video. For instance, someone who only watched two seconds of the video still registers the same view count as someone who watched the entire thing. Not every view is created equal. It’s better to have 100 viewers that are highly engaged than to have thousands of views that don’t make it past the 30-second mark.
- Sharing metrics. One of the primary goals of video marketing is to create content that’s shareable. A high number of shares indicates an engaged audience that is actively interacting with your brand. Sharing also boosts the popularity of the video beyond its initial audience, creating a snowball effect that increases ROI.
- Conversion rates. If you’re able to keep viewers engaged for the duration of your video, the next important metric to consider is the video’s impact on lead generation and sales numbers. This can be tricky, as consumers won’t necessarily convert after watching a video. In fact, it can take up to 60 days for a viewer to go through the sales cycle and decide to make a purchase.
- View-through rate. This is the number of people who were exposed to your video and decided to take the time to watch it. A low view-through rate is likely the result of a poorly optimized video thumbnail or channel. This metric is important because you want your video to be exposed to as many people as possible – but that would do any good if people don’t click on it and watch.
- Lifetime value. Most videos get the bulk of their views within the first month of being uploaded. With an optimized strategy, however, videos can continue to earn views long after their upload date. Producing an evergreen piece of video content provides good ROI and is great for your long-term video strategy. With proper planning, you can determine your video’s trajectory over time.
This isn’t to say that view count doesn’t matter. It certainly does! But the most important metrics are those that revolve around engagement and impact. When it comes to video marketing, consumers respond better to personalities than they do to brands. For example, Anderson Cooper drives more video traffic than CNN. This means that brands must focus on their business personality and allow that to shine in their video content.
How is your brand measuring success?