As we’ve detailed previously, video is hot. It’s one of the most engaging ways to communicate with an audience, and digital platforms are doubling down on video. However, one area where video-minded PR professionals fall short is how to measure the success of video communications. How do we know when our video is contributing to meaningful results? Let’s look at the video communications funnel today.
The Old Way
The old way of measuring video success was simple, if ineffective: how many views did our video receive? This harkens back to the old days of web analytics, when we all tracked hits. As Katie Delahayne Paine said, HITS is an acronym: how idiots track success. Video views are no different; certainly, zero views of our video is something we should correct , but our measurement must not stop there. If we only focus on views, we ignore the business impact of our video content.
The Video Communications Measurement Funnel
Views are what start our journey towards video marketing success, but even this number can be misleading. Consider the handful of other metrics services like YouTube give us:
Did anyone watch our video until the end? Did people engage with the video on the hosting service?
Let’s bring some order to these metrics and many others, with an intent to prove business value:
We measure from the very beginning, the video, to the end, the actions we want our audiences to take.
We do care how many video views we obtain, as well as completions, in the sense that if this number is zero, our video was a waste of time and resources. We care about completions as well, especially for long-form videos. Did the audience stick around for the entire show, or did everyone leave after the first act?
We want to know how many people became members of our audience, temporarily and permanently. How many unique human beings watched our video? How many then subscribed to our video content? Depending on the video service, these might be called subscribers (YouTube), followers (Snapchat/Instagram), or Likes (Facebook). No matter what they’re called, they signal audience intent – our audience liked our content enough to want more of it.
Besides subscribing, did our audience show intent for this specific video? We want to know how many likes/votes, comments, and shares our video received. Not all services provide all three categories of engagement; Instagram, for example, does not permit sharing natively in its app. Use whatever metrics are available in the platform of your choice.
Here’s where the rubber meets the road. What did our audiences do next? Every video should have a call to action of some kind, from “Go play our app/game” to “Download this thing” to “Buy something now!”. Whatever actions are important to us, we should call out strongly in our video. Depending on the service, we will either need to burn these calls to action directly into our video (Instagram/FB/Snapchat) or create overlays which provide a clickable path to our action (YouTube TrueView cards).
Put the Pieces Together
Many of these metrics come from different parts of our analytics infrastructure, especially if our video is posted on multiple channels. Once we’ve got our data compiled in an orderly fashion, we need to understand what drives the actions we care about. For this, use a statistical tool/method such as multiple regression/linear analysis of variance to understand which metrics potentially drive actions.
Once we understand that a combination of, for example, completions plus comments drives actions, we can test inciting those specific behaviors to drive actions.
Reporting to Others
As we mentioned in our recent webinar on Google Data Studio™, many of our stakeholders don’t need every scrap of data we can provide. Instead, choose to report only the video metrics our statistical analysis determined as meaningful and the actions that resulted. Put those in a single Data Studio dashboard, and let stakeholders see the impact our video communications have.
Video Impact Can Be Measured!
As in the early days of the web, video measurement still lags behind other content marketing measurement. However, unlike the early days of the web, the tools and capabilities we have today as marketers and communicators are vastly greater than during the first Dotcom boom of the late 1990s. Every marketer and communicator has access to industry-leading statistical tools to prove the value of our efforts. Use them in concert with the rich metrics available from video hosting services to showcase the true value of our video communications.
Christopher S. Penn
Vice President, Marketing Technology