In the first installment of 10 Key Measurement Metrics for Video Marketers, we looked at earned media views, content sharing and subscriber and sign-up conversions. In this week’s post we’re going to explore three more key video analytics data points for marketers and advertisers: (A) click-through rates (CTRs) and referral traffic, (B) audience retention (view-to-completion), and (C) social conversation. Let’s dive in.
Marketers we talk to seem to be split about 50-50 on whether to track CTRs and referral traffic from videos as a campaign metric. On one hand, it’s worth asking the question of any digital marketer – “why wouldn’t you want to track clicks?” – considering how focused many are on email, call-to-action button and social media post CTRs. The flip side however, is that measuring referral traffic and CTRs from video tends to be challenging: primary social video hubs like YouTube and Vimeo offer very limited native click-tracking support. In the full-service version of our video A/B testing tool ZoomTilt Analytics, video experiments can be customized to track video click-through-rates for videos where YouTube annotation links have been added. ZoomTilt Analytics can also estimate and compare CTRs for any type of video by capturing closed-loop audience data, but doing so currently requires additional custom client integration.
If you’re not using ZoomTilt Analytics, there are still a few options to track CTRs on your video. One option is using trackable links (like bit.ly) within YouTube annotations then calculating your CTR manually with bit.ly’s analytics data. For enterprise customers using Brightcove or Wistia for video hosting, both platforms also offer click and conversion tracking insights on individual video call-to-actions within their respective analytics reporting.
Overall it’s helpful to monitor and A/B test video-specific CTRs, as well as track video referral traffic from YouTube and other content hosting destinations.
5. Audience Retention (View-to-Completion)
One of the best video measurement metrics is, of course, audience retention or the video’s view-to-completion percentage. The higher the average, absolute percentage, the more engaging, relevant and/or enjoyable the content is to audiences.
What’s a good baseline view-to-completion benchmark for branded video? One data set from Tubemogul indicates that, on average, only 15-25% of skippable online video ads are viewed to completion. In most cases, when viewers are allowed to skip pre-roll, they’ll jump ahead to the content they want to watch. When video viewers are forced to watch ads, additional data indicates 85-95% view-to-completion rates for long-form videos and 65-70% completion rates for short-form (<5 minute) videos.
Since social video and branded entertainment is clearly the right content strategy in digital video, our view is advertisers should be sure to open their content to choice-based viewership and evaluate content traction with people who can freely skip or share it. Audience retention rates won’t be as high as forced pre-roll or mid-roll ads, but that’s exactly the point: content marketing should be pull-based because of its value, not push advertising that’s forced into audiences viewing sessions.
When it comes to measuring view-to-completion, we see a new layer of valuable data emerging in demographic and audience-profile-specific retention data, a key feature within ZoomTilt Analytics. For example, a branded entertainment spot aimed at working mothers might have 100,000 views and an overall view-to-completion rate of 30%. That’s directionally helpful to a marketer, but it would be great to know what % of those views came from working mothers and what their subsegment-specific audience retention rate was. Was it higher than the mean? Lower versus the mean? That’s a critical campaign insight that deserves to be tracked.
6. Social Conversation
Another metric we recommend video marketers track is the volume of social conversation around their video (where, at the risk of repetition, it helps to develop content worth talking about). Generally, the best places to track conversation is in comments sections (YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook, blogs where the video has been embedded) and on Twitter. Generally, our baseline recommendation is to measure three conversation dimensions:
- Total number of comments, responses or social mentions for your video or campaign
- General sentiment of comments (positive, negative or neutral)
- Distribution of comments across owned media properties and other channels (is your content most discussed on your YouTube channel? more popular on Facebook? Why might that be?)
By understanding (and participating) in the dialogue around your video, as a marketer you have another great feedback tool to measure what works or doesn’t work with different audiences. Moreover, by encouraging your viewers to take a follow-up action by including a call-to-action that incentivizes user-generated content responses or conversation, you can help amplify your message and brand experience well beyond your own content.
In next week’s Part 3 we’ll continue our discussion of key measurement metrics for video marketers, looking at viewer sentiment, redemptions and the viewership distribution curve, so stay tuned!