Video metrics are powerful tools. In order to use them effectively, you have to know what they are, and what they tell you about your content. Video is only valuable if it delivers the right message to the right audience. Sometimes your team will get that combination right on the first try. But often, it’s an iterative process — and engagement metrics are your best guide.
Dialing in the right match is a lot like a good game of Wordle. (If you’re one of the five or 10 people who haven’t played Wordle, go jump on the bandwagon and play a game now. You’ll thank us, and this post will make much more sense.)
In Wordle, you take your best first word guess, and then use clues to adjust future guesses until you’ve come up with a win. It’s the same process with good video content, and your clues are all in the metrics. The better you are at understanding them, the fewer guesses you and your team will need to make successful, engaging content.
What are Video Metrics?
Video metrics are data that provide a strong indication of how well your content resonates with your target audience. They tell you how frequently your videos are being watched, how viewers are reacting to them, and what actions viewers take once the credits roll.
Let’s go over some of these metrics to help you read the clues like a pro.
The Basic Metrics
The following metrics tell you how many visitors press play, but not whether the video resonates with your audience. They’re like Wordle vowels; they get you started with a basic foundation, but they’re not enough on their own.
View count is the total number of people who watched your video. This is the most basic metric, and it’s sometimes referred to as a vanity metric because it only provides a rough estimate of your content’s reach. Unfortunately, view count doesn’t tell you anything about whether your content resonates with your audience. Viewers might only watch for a few seconds of your video and still count in this metric, so don’t let view count give you a false sense of success.
Play rate is the percentage of page visitors who watched your video. If this metric is low, it means you may be doing a good job of getting an audience to your landing page, but your video isn’t grabbing their attention. Tweaking the video poster frame, title, caption, or the position of your video on the page might help increase your play rate.
The following metrics tell you about the engagement (or behavior) of your viewers. They are like Wordle consonants, giving you insights into the specifics. Understanding the success of your content means knowing how your viewers watched, and how much they’ve watched. This data can help you tailor your video content to your viewers’ preferences.
Average engagement tells you how long viewers spent watching your videos. Platforms like YouTube consider watch time — not view count — when ranking videos for search, and Facebook uses completion rate to rank videos in viewers’ timelines. Clearly, this is an important metric.
This is also a great way to figure out your audience’s preferred video length. If viewers drop off before the end of your video, your content might be too long, or take too long to get to the point. This metric can also help you decide where in the video to place your call to action.
Rewatches show how many viewers played your video more than once, as well as which parts they replayed the most. Heat maps of viewer engagement make it very easy for you to see which parts of your video hold the most interest. This is a highly valuable metric, as it tells you one of two things. Rewatching a section of your video could mean that section resonates with your audience, or it could also mean that portion of the video is unclear or difficult to understand.
You know your video is getting views, and you know your audience is engaging with the content. But is it prompting action and getting results? If your video content is intended to drive your audience to take an action (like buy a product or join a mailing list), the following metrics will measure that success.
If your video includes a call to action, click-through rate shows how effective your video is at inspiring your viewers to follow through (sign up, learn more, or purchase a plan). This is one way to track video marketing ROI. Viewers clicking over to your site is a great indication that your videos are doing their job. If your CTR is low, you can either adjust your call-to-action placement, or make your videos more engaging so that viewers stick around until the end and still want to know more. Remember that in order for viewers to click, the CTA needs to be relevant to the video content that’s already holding their interest.
Assessing your conversion rate can tell you which videos effectively persuade viewers to become customers. This metric is essential for businesses, as it helps determine video marketing ROI. To find your video conversion rate, take a look at which videos increase conversions on the page linked by your CTA.
Reading the Clues
Viewer metrics are simple clues, and knowing how to read them is just the first step. Just like in Wordle, the magic is how you interpret what the clues are saying, and apply that knowledge to your next round of changes.
Businesses need to know their video content serves its intended purpose, and every missed guess and future iteration costs time and resources. The better you are at interpreting video engagement metrics, the better you’ll understand your audience and the more gains you’ll make with every future content improvement.
Now that you know how to track your video engagement, it’s time to put all that good data to work. Pick out the most engaging topics and brainstorm a list of video ideas. Use your watch time/average view duration stats to identify your ideal video length, then shoot for this when creating new content. Your top performing videos will probably end up shorter than you expected. Regardless of length, make sure you get straight to the point in the first frame. Hooking your viewers from the beginning will get them engaged right from the start. Lastly, let the play rate and click-through metrics guide you on how to best optimize your video copy and CTAs.
Hopefully the information in this article will help you and your team win the video content game on the first or second try. The vast improvement of ROI that comes from high video engagement is well worth the trouble.