10 Key Measurement Metrics for Video Marketers (Part 2)

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.

4. CTRs

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.

Video A/B Testing Software

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)

Video Audience 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:

  1. Total number of comments, responses or social mentions for your video or campaign
  2. General sentiment of comments (positive, negative or neutral)
  3. 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.

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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!

Instagram Video or Vine: Why Not Both?

Vine vs Instagram Video

Image credit: Matt Nazaro

In the biggest user divide since Apple and PC, the showdown between Twitter’s Vine
and Facebook’s Instagram Video has prompted heated conversations about which
service reigns supreme for branded entertainment. However, as a marketer, you don’t necessarily need to get caught up in the debate, since both platforms offer unique benefits for content marketers and advertisers looking to start conversations with customers and prospects around engaging, sharable video.

Overall, online video engagement is booming as users rush to view, create, and share “viral” videos and clever branded content with friends and family. It’s no surprise, then, that social video sharing has seen massive growth across all devices.  For marketers, both Instagram Video and Vine present an opportunity to distribute branded entertainment in a short-form, packaged format most consumers are actively participating in and seeking out.

Already, brands have begun to take advantage of Vine and Instagram Video, two of the
most popular social video sharing apps. Though technically these services are
competitors, you don’t have to choose a side: both platforms have their advantages and short-comings, and both can be leveraged in order to connect with consumers cross-platform in interactive and authentic ways.

Vine

Key features:

  • 6 seconds
  • Loops
  • Embeddable for easy sharing
  • 13 million+ iOS users & ~1 million Android users

Consumer attention spans have never been shorter – particularly when it comes to intrusive and uninteresting content.  When use properly, six seconds can be more than enough time for a company to create unique, sharable messages for its fans and social media followers. With Vine, sending a clear, creative and succinct message is imperative. But remember, less is more.  Keep the video simple and avoid bombarding
fans with too much information in the short clip.  Moreover, Vine’s intrinsic loop function makes the app particularly suited for repetition-friendly content like animated GIFs, memes and recurring sequences.  There are also great opportunities for brands and agencies to incorporate Vines into contests, product launches, sneak-peeks and helpful tips, hints and informational content.  At the end of the day, if your brand has a large presence on Twitter, Vine is a must.

Instagram Video

Key features:

  • 15 seconds
  • 13 filters
  • Editable
  • 130 million current Instagram users

Yes, you have a few more seconds of story-telling time with Instagram Video.  Nonetheless, make sure your clip captures viewers’ attention early on so viewers don’t drop out early. Filters and editing ability allows more creative freedom, but don’t abuse it. Again, simplicity and creativity are key. If your company already has a large fan base on Instagram, use video features to broaden brand awareness, improve your messaging to mobile users and engage your social media followers with richer content.

Ultimately, Vine and Instagram Video both share benefits video marketers shouldn’t ignore. In particular, both services are optimized for search engine indexing with the ability to use hashtags and tag individual users. Brands can search for user-generated content and monitor the ways fans share or respond to specific branded content campaigns, messages and hashtags.

Since Vine and Instagram Video have natural distribution channels through their respective parents Twitter and Facebook, distributing content is relatively cheap across both platforms.  Moreover, with branded Vines are shared four times as often as branded online videos, and branded content making up four percent of the top 100 tracked Vines, there’s evidence to suggest short-form video users are receptive (or, at least, more agnostic) to creative branded messaging.

As a marketer, if you aren’t already using Vine or Instagram Video, it’s time to
start.  Keep it simple; send a clear, effective message; don’t be afraid to experiment; and amplify the consumer-brand conversation through innovative social video.

10 Key Measurement Metrics for Video Marketers (Part 1)

Digital Marketing Measurement

Campaign measurement and metrics tracking is a must for digital content marketers. But, unlike other brand communication and advertising channels like PPC/SEM and blogging, where success is typically dictated by clicks and follow-on signup or purchase conversions, a common core objective in video marketing – particularly social video marketing – is to create content that encourages a strong enough emotional connection or response from a viewer that leads them to (1) share the video, (2) display a more positive affinity toward the brand, (3) explore additional brand properties (potentially further down the conversion funnel at a destination like a landing page or e-commerce store), or, even better, (4) perform some combination of all three. In other words, social video typically reaches people outside or at the very beginning of the typical inbound marketing funnel, a place where identification and attribution analysis can be most challenging.

As a result, video marketing success must be measured both quantitatively and qualitatively (with a heavy emotional component to the latter). Because of this, and with a goal of clarifying some common video marketing misconceptions, we’ve put together a practical guide to help digital marketers get started measuring the results of their video efforts.

1. Earned Media Views

Although a simple view count is the typical conversation starter when it comes to video performance, outside of directionally indicating content quality an impression count, total views are primarily a vanity metric that convey more symbolic significance than bottom-line results. In fact, probably the single most important thing a video view count establishes is social proof (or lack thereof) that the video might be worth looking at. All other things equal, from a consumer psychology standpoint, a video with 1,000,000 views will get a viewer’s click over a video with 10 views simply because of the perceived “potential interestingness” the higher view count conveys.

Why? For starters, views can be paid for. While there’s nothing wrong with this practice (in fact, quite the contrary, we actually encourage reasonable video distribution spending to help effectively seed marketing videos and help quality content get discovered online), the simple fact is that anyone can get a million views on their video with a large enough budget backing it. Second, a high number of views can still translate to low engagement from a minutes viewed and viewer retention standpoint if the video has a high, steep drop-off rate during watch sessions.

Our recommendation: Track your video’s absolute earned media (e.g., non-paid) video views from social media and search engine referral views.

Earned Media = Total Views – Owned Media (views from your website, Facebook page, etc.) – Paid Media (CPV or other promoted views)

If 20% or more of your video’s total views aren’t coming from earned media from social and search, you aren’t reaching audiences beyond your existing follower base, and it’s likely you should explore improving both the quality and the discoverability of your video content. Videos that are shared are 3 times more likely to be watched and are watched 3 times longer than a video that a user finds himself.

2. Shares

Over half a million branded videos are shared every 24 hours. What kind of share rates is your brand getting?

Based on ZoomTilt research and branded content performance data we’ve observed, a quality baseline share rate for social video is approximately 0.25%-0.50% direct shares (from the player or player-embedded page, excluding re-shares from social networks) as a percentage of total content views. In most cases, even smash hit digital video ad campaigns only see circa 2.5% direct share rates.

Be sure to track how your content is being shared. And, just as importantly, consider and try to benchmark why your content will be shared during the creation.

Why do people share things online according to the New York Times?

Psychology of Social Sharing

3. Subscriber Conversions

As marketers, we all recognize the importance of subscriber lists. In many cases, email lists are the backbone of web commerce companies like Fab, Karmaloop, Birchbox and Rue La La. Video marketing is no difference: there’s much less value in a one-time view or share than a subscriber who sticks around for more.

In fact, if you’re using a hosting provider like Wistia, you can even capture email conversions within your video player:

Wistia conversion

However, with the bulk of social video activity happening on YouTube (and driven by shares of YouTube embeds on blogs and social networks), YouTube channel subscribers is a critical metric for the ongoing success of your video content marketing efforts.

An interesting case study example is “The Beauty Inside” video campaign by Intel & Toshiba. Released as an interactive web series, “The Beauty Inside” reached close to 7 million YouTube views and 14 million Facebook page interactions, according to Intel. At a high level, clearly a success, particularly in light of the fact that a concurrent Toshiba laptop campaign running through Best Buy saw sales increase from 200 units a week to 900 units a week during the campaign’s early release.

But one place the “The Beauty Inside” campaign seems to fall short is cultivating YouTube subscribers. As most social media marketers know, a Facebook page like just isn’t what it used to be (more specifically, it’s about 10% of what it used to be), so getting high Facebook engagement from a social video campaign is nice, but less impactful than adding new YouTube subscribers. Moreover, because Intel and Toshiba released “The Beauty Inside” on a special branded channel titled TheBeautyInsideFilm, the 16,000 subscribers they collected don’t subscribe to Intel or Toshiba’s YouTube pages, which TheBeautyInsideFilm doesn’t even bother to link to. In some way, while insulating the artistic integrity of “The Beauty Inside” from overt branding, both brands sacrificed their opportunity to build their YouTube subscriber base – a mis-step in our view.

Our recommendation: pay attention to and encourage subscriptions (channel, email) within your social video campaigns. Building a robust subscriber list on YouTube is one of the best ways to drive recurring brand engagement with your video content.

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In next week’s Part 2 we’ll continue our discussion of key measurement metrics for video marketers, looking at click-through-rates (CTRs), view-to-completion, and more, so don’t miss out!

Introducing ZoomTilt Analytics

Today, we’re pleased to announce the beta release of ZoomTilt Analytics – a self-service software tool for A/B testing videos to help users identify and optimize their top-performing video content. The goal of ZoomTilt Analytics is to help businesses and video creators:

  1. Make better, more audience-targeted videos by compiling feedback and data from real, relevant viewers;
  2. Make smarter decisions about what videos to create, how to edit them and how to release them; and
  3. Increase video marketing return on investment.

The trial version of ZoomTilt Analytics, which allows experimenters to easily set up and run video A/B tests from YouTube, is now available as a free service on ZoomTilt.com. In addition, our ZoomTilt Analytics Premium service now gives brands, agencies and media companies the ability to create and customize video A/B tests around specific target audience profiles and marketing metrics.

We’re very excited to share ZoomTilt Analytics with you, we have plans to introduce lots of new features and capabilities, and we welcome any feedback or questions you’d like to share with us. Interested in learning more about the benefits of ZoomTilt Analytics Premium for your business? Contact us today to get started.

Check out the video below for a demo of ZoomTilt Analytics in action:

Online Video Advertising Market to Double in Four Years

This morning, a new report fresh off the presses from e-marketer indicates blistering growth in online video advertising over the next 5 years. Driven by a proliferation of ad networks, demand-side-platforms and scalable, social video production solution-providers, e-marketer sees online video ad spending nearly doubling in only four years from $4.14 billion dollars in 2013 to $8.04 billion by 2016, a 25% compound annual growth rate (CAGR). With the online video advertising industry’s market size and revenue pool set to double over the next five years, the digital video space is also expected to mature to achieve more standardization in video ad format, a larger shift to cost-per-action ad pricing and a rise in native branding on publisher sites.

Digital Video Advertising Growth Chart

Meanwhile, TV and digital video advertising revenue pools continue to blur and converge, as multi-platform and multi-screen video advertising is increasingly become an integrated norm. “We’re pretty much approaching all of our major broadcast partnerships in concert with our digital programs,” says David Matathia, director of marketing communications at Hyundai Motor America. “When we’re working with network partners, it’s now rare to see a standalone TV or a standalone digital deal. It’s almost become standard practice to package digital and broadcast together.”

With digital marketers more than ever looking to social video as a key tool to convey rich, sharable brand experiences, e-marketers projections hardly come as a surprise. However, according to e-marketer and Credit Suisse, this growth will be accompanied by stable-to-rising CPMs for marketers (as well as higher RPMs to content creators) on networks like YouTube and mid-tier blog and media placement sites.

US Online Video CPM, by Inventory Tier, 2010-2017

Digital Video Ad CPMs

Source: Credit Suisse, e-marketer. Excludes mobile display ad impressions.

Although the report doesn’t touch on social video and branded entertainment advertising, growth in that sub-class is also expected to be strong, driven by the reality that consumers increasingly have (1) more freedom over how, when and where they consume video (and by extension, to skip or ignore ads), (2) more devices to navigate between, (3) more social media activity informing their online identity and (4) less patience for content that isn’t contextually relevant, entertaining and/or informative.

Overall, with marketers, agencies and media companies set to double spending on online video in only a few short years, the future certainly looks bright for standardization, consolidation, innovation and maturity in the digital video advertising space. Let’s hope the quality of the ad content keeps up (or, better yet, improves) with the big expected boost in spending.

Can You Predict a Viral Marketing Video?

Volkswagen Star Wars Super Bowl Advertisement

As a first order of business, the thunder-stealing, lead-in answer is still “probably not.” That said, this week we’re pleased to announce the launch of a new video analytics tool for ad agencies and video content marketers that brings this predictive digital marketing dream one step closer.

Video Analytics Screenshot

Our solution is a first-of-its-kind tool capable of performing targeted, simultaneous algorithm and audience-based testing of a single video, multiple videos or even multiple edits of the same branded content spot. By enabling digital advertisers, video marketers and content creators to specify audience goals such as age, gender, income level, zip-code and/or video “share rate,” then quickly test their videos against those goals and audience profile, our scoring tool brings scalable marketing automation, big data analytics and a rapid-prototyping feedback loop to video production, video audience measurement and video performance forecasting. Beneficial ways to use our new video analytics tool include:

  • A/B testing different video concepts or video edits to determine which performs best for a given campaign/activation goal or audience profile.
  • Test and compare your videos against public videos from competitors on key metrics like audience retention and viewer click-through rate (CTR).
  • Pre-release testing one or multiple pre-roll or TV ad spots earlier to proactively reduce the risk of negative brand exposure, campaign under-performance, mis-targeting and/or distribution over-spend.
  • Evaluating branded entertainment and web series pilots with richer tools, deeper insights and a faster feedback loop (so you don’t have to play the Netflix game and order seasons up front at $4.5 million an episode).

Best of all, by connecting your YouTube or Wistia video hosting account (plus more hosting platforms on the way), users will also be able to compare and back-test predicted video virality versus actual, real-world earned media rates, social media mentions and referral shares, and easily generate reports.

The tool is currently in private beta, with a broader, public release planned in May. To apply for early access, contact ZoomTilt via email or visit our video analytics signup page .

10 Reasons No One Watches Your Brand’s Videos

Business Man Game of Thrones Meme

Content-loving customers had better take note, because you just leap-frogged blogging and slide deck-styling all the way making a video for your brand. “Video? Isn’t that the future of marketing and like 60% of all internet traffic?” You’re damn right it is, and now your content marketing prowess is on full display to all your customers and social media followers, not to mention a billion monthly YouTube users. WIN. That’s right internet – we’re uploaded, we’re discoverable and we’re in the game with a titanic 88 views in week one. And people, 88 views is just the beginning, because by week two we’ll be making waves with triple digit viewership, am I right?

It saddens me to say that in ZoomTilt’s line of work, I seem to have this exact same conversation on a weekly basis:

Brand: We want a viral video. None of our videos are getting good viewership and we’re spending a lot of time and money on them.

Me: Well, what kind of videos are you making right now?

Brand: Pretty much all documentary-style testimonial interviews and really slick, artsy, color-corrected videos of beautiful, waif-ish people walking down dim hallways showcasing our product.

Me: Would you consider experimenting and cross-testing different types of video creative? Maybe something more relevant to your target demo that’s funny, or edgy, or surprising? Perhaps with memorable, strongly-defined characters? We can define success metrics and perform deep data-gathering and predictive A/B testing on each one.

Brand: Oh no, no, no. We could never do that. Characters? We’re not GEICO, we don’t have a Gecko… the brand IS the personality. Besides, we can’t be a funny brand or an edgy brand, we’re an elegant, sophisticated, reliable, precision-engineered brand whose experience must translate like a haiku told upon the shore of a placid lake. So what can we do like that that’s going to go pretty viral..?

Stop. Video marketers, 95% of you need to re-think your approach right now, because that one competitor who gets it is smoking your PR and inbound marketing efforts. So let’s cut the small talk and get you started with our field-guide of key video marketing pitfalls to avoid. If you’re making videos for your brand and no one is watching them, here are the ten (10) reasons why:

1. You don’t really know your audience. Knowing who your audience is (say age 35+ working mothers) isn’t the same as knowing their media consumption habits and what content resonates with them – you need to understand both.

Let’s start with a typical customer video from a mainstream, mom-oriented consumer brand:

Ok, darling and highly likable Mom? Check. Solid brand that knows how to do fun video creative? Check (*ahem* Old Spice Guy *ahem*). Video that will inspire anyone to share your message or watch more? Complete miss. Don’t get us wrong, there are great opportunities out there in user-generated content, but why would a mom watch dozens of nearly identical informational testimonials for the same product? And why does Pampers, a globally-recognized diaper brand, feel the need to flood its YouTube channel and crowd out its more premium content with so many different iterations of the same bland, product credibility-builder video that doesn’t create informational or emotional value for their customers? Why would a diaper-buyer watch multiple minutes of this type of video content rather than simply executing a 15 second Google search to quickly skim a credible blog review on the same product? Your customers’ time, convenience and content consumption autonomy are highly relevant to your digital content strategy – respect them.

Now let’s take a look at some of their professional creative:

Strong start here too – who doesn’t love cute, happy babies with bed-head? But ouch, only 6 likes and 3 dislike? What gives?

Well, to summarize the entire campaign message: “if your baby pees or poops itself and doesn’t get changed, it won’t be happy (or have great, disheveled hair) like these happy babies.” What’s new, insightful or interesting about that message, one that more or less restates the same biological principle mothers have known for decades, if not centuries? Sorry Pampers, we already know your diapers are probably a little bit better (and a little bit more expensive) than some of the other brands sitting next to you on the shelf, your single layer of additional protection isn’t boosting brand lift or getting anyone to retweet this.

Want to know who gets motherhood? Fiat gets motherhood:



2. Your content doesn’t create value.

A lot of marketers think successful branded video content needs to have professional, $10,000-per-minute-and-up production quality. It doesn’t. Nor does it even necessarily have to be funny or shocking, although that usually helps. But one thing your content MUST accomplish is value creation for the viewer, which can be either informational value, emotional value or both, like these:



3. Your content generates a low-valence emotional response.

72 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute, so if you make something average it will get skipped and ignored. If you create something on the far end of the spectrum that generates high viewer emotional arousal, audiences will engage with and share your video.

Right (creative) way to make a marketing video for your pizza business:

Wrong (traditional, uncreative) way to make a marketing video for your pizza business:


4. Your video content doesn’t have hooks early and often.

Again, when you create content, your content is competing for attention against an ocean of entertaining video, great music and informative blog articles. You don’t need to perform an epic jump from space like RedBull, but be sure to hook viewers’ attention early and often to avoid drop-off and defection to other content. Nice job Pepsi:


5. Your content has no story arc.

Both of these videos feature heavy men’s business apparel product placements. Which do you think had the better digital campaign return on investment (ROI) and repeat viewer engagement because viewers wanted to know what happens next?

Story:

No story:


6. No one found your great video.

Unfortunately, successful video content marketing isn’t just creating great content, then putting it up on your YouTube page, blog and facebook feed and moving on to the next thing. Videos live and die by discovery, and you need to get a broad audience (and, for that matter, the right audience) looking at your work. I wrote a pretty comprehensive introductory explainer to getting more views on your video here on Quora. Check it out and feel free to leave comments or feedback if it was helpful or you disagree with any of my core points. Whatever you do, don’t make the same mistakes as Cybergeddon.

7. You didn’t test your video(s).

Traditional video content marketing – particularly branded entertainment – can be high-reward, but also moderate risk. Even with significant investment in seeding and paid media, big branded content efforts can crash and burn because the creators missed their audience or couldn’t quite pull it together on execution. At ZoomTilt, our branded entertainment media buying process is closely-integrated with video A/B-testing, so that not only do advertisers get to compare multiple creative variations based on the same brief or campaign objective, but they can also make data-driven predictions about targeted audience engagement and content virality prior to committing their full production spend. Test your videos, don’t just pull the trigger on a $300,000 media buy because your 24 year old intern down the hall who wears skinny jeans thinks they’re epic.

8. You’re not amplifying or complementing the conversation.

During prime time, up to 60% of the conversation happening on Twitter can be related to TV. Yes, successful TV shows can create global hashtags in real time. While digital isn’t at that scale and more fragmented, it’s also not as ephemeral here-and-gone as a TV ad, and that’s a big opportunity for marketers to capitalize on. Create companion content, connect your videos to product promotions or product launches, integrate hashtags and then measure it all. Entertaining storytelling is a huge catalyst for social media activity and engagement, so don’t silo your videos from your overall social media marketing efforts.

9. You’re missing the long tail.

Just like search engine optimization (SEO), strategically targeting the long tail (and long tail keywords in your video title, text description and metadata) can pay off big, particularly when your video has little relevant competition but really strikes a chord with a spirited niche. Get it right, and next thing you know your content gets picked up on Mashable and your sales go through the roof. Just ask the OraBrush guys:


10. You’re the 1,000th brand to hop on a content-competitive trend.

Don’t go head-to-head on replica content with Fortune 500 marketing giants (unless you yourself are a Fortune 500 marketing giant) if you can’t bring something really new, fresh and novel to the table:

This wins (#JeffGordonisonFire):

This doesn’t (#sorryHubspot):


The difference a little creativity and the scale of your audience reach [a solid celebrity cameo that doesn’t bust your budget usually doesn’t hurt either] collectively make on the success of your content cannot be understated.

Now let’s go out there and make successful branded videos people love.