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Issue #14 • February 2018

If You’re Not Tracking These 10 Online Video Metrics, You Should Be

Content Marketing Video

Have you noticed the increase in bloggers and business owners turning their written work into video content? I certainly have. Whether it’s through pre-recorded videos or live streams, more of our audience members are craving video content.

Videos combine the best of audio and visual content. When captioned, videos can even teach through text. It’s the great equalizer, helping audience members of all learning styles consume educational content from any device.

It’s not surprising then that one third of all online activity is spent watching videos. With videos driving a large amount of organic traffic, business owners are quickly adapting it into their marketing strategy.

But before you create an archive of video content for your blog or freelance business, it’s important to know what online video metrics are crucial to your video content’s success.

10 video metrics worth measuring

Not all video metrics are created equally. While one metric may be important to one business, it may be irrelevant to another. Let’s take a deep dive into the most common video metrics and determine which ones matter for your business.

View count

Your video’s view count at a first glance may seem like the most basic and straightforward metric on the list, but every platform defines “view count” differently.

Facebook, Instagram, Twitter:

Since many social media websites like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter use an auto-play feature when displaying videos, it affects how they measure view count.

These platforms only count video views that last three seconds or longer. If a social media user quickly scrolls past a video, it won’t be counted toward the view count. On the flip side, even if the video plays in the background for three seconds, it’s counted toward the total view count.

Periscope, Snapchat:

Periscope and Snapchat count any viewer who opens up the story or live feed. There are no time limits to their view count, but they include additional engagement metrics so you can measure how your audience interacts with your content.

YouTube:

YouTube has the longest requirement for view count of any platform with a minimum of 30 seconds of viewing time. Drawn out intros with vague information don’t perform well because of this.

As attention spans continue to shrink, it’s smart to put your best, most valuable content toward the beginning of your YouTube video to ensure viewers want to watch past 30 seconds.

View count isn’t a perfect metric, but it helps us understand how many people are consuming our content. Luckily, platforms offer other online video metrics so we can get a deeper look into the habits of our audience.

Watch time

Watch time refers to the amount of time a viewer actively watched your video. On Facebook, a viewer watching a 1 minute long video for 5 seconds counts toward the total view count just like a viewer who watches for the full duration. Because this creates such a wide gap, metrics like watch time help us get a better understanding of how long a viewer stays engaged with our content.

Watch time gives a more complete picture of how well a video has performed, making it one of the most requested video metrics from video content creators. Platforms like YouTube have algorithms that prioritize videos with high watch times on their homepage and in their suggested video rolls because it’s been proven to engage viewers.

If you have two videos of similar lengths covering different topics, you’d be able to tell which content was of higher quality from the watch time rather than the view count.

This video metric comes in handy for business owners who want to know what their audience is interested in consuming without having to constantly send surveys.

Average view duration

From the master list of watch times, we can find the average view duration. The average view duration indicates the amount of time an average user spends watching your online video content. Some platforms like Facebook and YouTube even calculate this for you.

How can average view duration become a useful metric for your business? If you find that your audience consistently watches your 30 second videos for 15 seconds, you may want to find a way to shorten your videos to 15 seconds.

Can you fit the same valuable content in half the time? If so, you’ll likely increase the next metric we’ll cover.

Average percent completion

Instead of giving you an average of time people have viewed your video, average percent completion shows an average percent of the video watched.

Using the example above, if you used the same 30 second video content to create an engaging 15 second video, your average percent completion could increase from 50% to 75-100% depending on how successful the repurposing of the content was.

The average view duration would stay the same at 15 seconds for both videos, but the average percent completion would increase because a larger percentage of the 15 second video has been viewed.

Facebook’s algorithm prioritizes videos with higher average percent completion in their users’ home feeds, making this video metric a must for those with Facebook Business pages.

Audience retention

Audience retention is exactly what it sounds like. It refers to the amount of people who continue to watch your video at any given time. It’s often shown as a graph so you can view where the common dips are in your video viewership.

audience retention graph

Audience retention can help you determine which elements of your video might be falling flat and causing a drop-off, often indicated by a dip in the graph. The larger the dip, the more attention you’ll want to put toward determining what’s happening during that time in the video to cause the drop-off.

Sound on vs. sound off

Videos on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram auto-play in user feeds but often play on mute. Can you imagine scrolling through your social media feed and hearing the audio for every video you’d scroll past? That sounds like a nightmare!

The goal of most videos now is to garner enough interest without sound so viewers will unmute the video to tune in.

While 96% of YouTube videos are played with the sound on, around 85% of Facebook videos are played without sound. That’s a huge difference!

Pro tip: For platforms where videos are often played without sound, try to show tutorials with directions on the screen like Tasty recipe videos or add text captions so people can read along with the content even on mute.

Live views

On platforms like Facebook, Periscope, and Instagram, you may decide to live stream yourself teaching or talking about a particular subject. When you host a live event, the amount of people who clicked into your live video as you were recording would be counted toward your live views.

After live events, it would still be beneficial to look at the average view duration and audience retention metrics so you have a clear view of how well your live video captured your audience’s attention.

Social sharing

If you are creating a video with the goal of having people pass it around, increasing brand advocacy, or gauging if your message has viral potential, keeping an eye on your social share metrics will be important.

Any time your video is shared through its native platform or on another website through a copied link, it will count toward your social share count. The more engaging your video is, the more likely it is to be shared on social media.

Whether the video is shared for its incredibly educational information, powerful storytelling, or simple humor, it has a greater opportunity of being seen by more eyes when your audience shares it with their own networks. This increases your reach, which we’ll talk about next.

Reach

If we were to count the total number of people a specific video was delivered to, they would be counted toward a video metric called “impressions” or “reach”. This is often an inflated number since some of the people counted toward impressions may have only had a brief glimpse of your video as they were scrolling through their feed.

We wouldn’t recommend focusing too much of your attention on this broad video metric, but it is helpful in seeing how your impressions can grow over time.

So what helps you grow your reach? An increase in social shares, watch time, and average percent completion can put your video content in front of more eyes. Just make sure you care about reaching the right eyes, which are those in your target market.

Engagement

Engagement is often deemed as the most important marketing metric for all businesses, but defining engagement is different for every platform. For some, a simple like or view counts as engagement. For other platforms, thoughtful comments and social shares are considered better engagement.

Because engagement metrics differ from platform to platform, it’s better to define what audience action is more important to you depending on the video type.

If you’re hosting a giveaway, social shares might be more important than likes. If you want feedback on a new product you’re offering next season, comments or votes on a poll might be more important than simple views. Determine what your goal is before creating your video and you’ll have a better idea of what success looks like as you publish it online.

What video metric is most important to your business?

Are you planning to live stream your next webinar on social media, start a YouTube channel, or make bite-sized videos to market your next product? Whatever it is, tracking your video metrics will help you reach your big goals.

We want to hear about it in the comment section below along with the video metric you’re keeping an eye on.

Kayla Hollatz

Kayla Hollatz is a copywriter and content creator for creative entrepreneurs who want their words to connect and convert. Few things make her happier than ghostwriting for clients in her studio, aka her four-season porch with a lake view. She can frequently be found fighting Minnesota winters with a mug of hot chocolate in hand.

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