There was a time when the written word was more than enough for organisations to make a compelling case. Today, we live in the era of social media and the written word is no longer enough to make a compelling case. Blogs have become Vlogs and as such Blogging has become Vlogging. For long, marketers used text and imagery to convey the message. Now, video has become the norm and is rapidly becoming the communication medium of choice to convey the organisational message and persuade audiences.
According to a recent report by Demand Metric, more than 80% of B2B marketers are experiencing success with video marketing initiatives. That Play button can be very compelling. There is no denying that.
Text-based blogs, as arduous are they are, are much easier than video projects and relatively quick to get out there. Video marketing requires you, the marketer, to go through the pain of developing an organisational video from scratch. It is your Spielberg moment. You come up with a business case and after a lot of negotiation to justify the development costs you somehow manage to secure approval. Then the development of concept and narrative, followed by writing of the script if you are using prompters, scheduling of the time of speakers and presenters, lighting, audio. the saga called video shooting, takes and retakes, editing, adding of animations, transcribing etc. You get my gist. It is a laborious and involved process. But you are passionate. You are committed. You are a marketer. You are cutting edge. You know that video is the way to go and the medium of the future so you successfully produce the video.
Now that the video is ready it must be distributed. It must be shared with the outside world. You leverage the relevant social channels to promote the video. You utilise email marketing campaigns to achieve the same and your sales force uses brute force to raise awareness via phone and in meetings. Traffic starts coming back to the landing pages where the video is housed and to your several social media real estates. Your project seems like a success. Does it? What are you basing that on? Many marketers base it on View Count. The View Count keeps increasing and as you see the increasing count you feel the investment in the video initiative was worth it. Time to notify leadership and start celebrating? Not quite just yet.
At Resonate, we are a B2B Marketing firm. One of the services we specialise in is Video Marketing. We develop videos for a variety of use cases to further an organisation’s mission. Our CMO, Girish Verma is an expert at video marketing. When he and I sit down in client briefs to discuss why a video needs to be developed, we often hear … “We just need one”, “Our competitors have recently done one so we must do one”, “Video is where everything is going”. We do not commence a project unless the organisation is very clear on the objectives of the video.
We also ask in-house marketing teams; how will you measure success of the video and what metrics will you use to gauge success. We usually either don’t get a well thought out and clear response or we get rudimentary measures such as ‘View Count’ as being the measure of success.
I agree that View Count must be one of the metrics in gauging success of video projects, however, it is an elementary measure and must be treated as such. View Count must not be the only metric defining an organisation’s video marketing strategy. It is also extremely important to know what your social platforms of choice classify as a View Count because it can range from merely opening the video to a few seconds of play time. How can we as Marketers attribute success of a video campaign, on merely an open rate or minimal viewing time.
There are other, more sophisticated metrics that provide deeper insights to the success of a video campaign. These metrics expose how your video content is perceived by the viewers, how much time do viewers spend on your videos, the percentage of the video they watch etc.
Prior to diving deeper into the metrics, marketers must develop a clear understanding of the business objectives and the goals surrounding the video strategy. In our experience of managing video campaigns, the projects that commence with clear and defined objectives, achieve goals. The goals must be tightly coupled with the metrics that relate to them. It is also important to work with two or more metrics per campaign to get a more holistic view of how the video campaigns are performing.
Below are some of the metrics that I recommend to clients to measure the performance of their video campaigns. Please note that not every metric can be leveraged on each platform. Some video platforms will not present each metric as a choice.
Please consider the metrics below (amongst others) to gauge the success of your video initiatives:
The ‘Play Rate’ refers to the percentage of visitors that click play and watch the video.
How is the Play Rate measured?
Play Rate = (% of people who clicked play on the video) / (total number of visitors who accessed the video landing page)
Why is Play Rate an important measure?
Just as is in the case of email marketing, if you send an email, and nobody opens it, the email campaign cannot be a success, so too, when it comes to Video Marketing, if you have a video on your website that contains a compelling message, but no one clicks play, no one will view the compelling message that your video intends to communicate.
How can you improve Play Rate?
This metric is associated with how effective the position of your video its, its size, the video thumbnail, and whether the copy around the video convinced visitors to press play and watch your content.
To optimise your Play Rate, here are some tips:
- The placement of the video must be above the fold on the landing page.
- Use thumbnails that are eye-catching, engaging, and relevant. Note that using thumbnails with humans work well. Snapshots that feature people are more intriguing than those that do not.
- The size of the video must be between 401 and 600 pixels. This is the ideal size for gaining viewer attention without overwhelming the page.
- The copy around the video must be brief, accurate and yet persuasive. Note, you are encouraging that the viewer plays the video.
The ‘Engagement Rate’ is also referred to as the ‘Watch Rate’. It is the average view time and the percentage of a video that the viewer watched.
How is the Engagement Rate measured?
Engagement Rate = (total watch time of video) / (total number of video plays and replays)
Why is Engagement Rate an important measure?
Research firm ‘Decipher’ conducted a study and surmised that viewers who watched and enjoyed a video are 97% more likely to engage with the brand to purchase the products or services featured in the video.
As valuable as the insight is, the battle in video marketing is to progress a viewer from clicking play on the video to watching the entire video. YouTube, back in 2012, updated its video discovery features to deliver a better experience for viewers. Since the update, YouTube’s selection of suggested videos is based on watch time and not on view count. YouTube now only recommends videos to viewers that managed to keep previous viewers engaged.
Even though most marketers take View Count as the metric to go by, it is the Engagement (Watch) Rate that is more meaningful.
How can you improve Engagement Rate?
Quite a few factors can influence whether your visitors watch your videos till the end. Your goal unquestionably is for people to watch your video to completion, especially if there is a Call-To-Action at the end of the video.
To optimise your Engagement Rate, here are some tips:
- Start with the viewer’s (read customer’s) agenda first. If the content will not add value from the get-go it will not be viewed to completion. Ask yourself the question – “Will this video add value to my audience”? If the answer is Yes, you are on the right track. If the answer is No, please go back to the drafting board.
- The videos must be short and to the point. Excessively long videos turn users off.
- The information provided must be explicit and interesting. The clearer the message from opening, the better the chances of video being viewed all the way.
- The video content must be aligned with the page context. Example, if your video is about consulting services in data security then the video must not reside on a page that is unrelated to data security or services. A correlation between the video and the page it is on must exist.
- Some platforms (such as Wistia) offer video heatmaps that expose the point in the video, where individual viewers rewatch, skip ahead etc. Marketers can leverage these insights to identify where the videos need reworking to decrease drop-off rates.
Please note also that video engagement is also based on the familiarity of your brand and the loyalty to it. Your choice of channel and the nature of content too will influence the success of the video.
Social Sharing is simply about the video being shared on social networks.
How is Social Sharing measured?
If you add social icons to the video landing page, measurement is merely about viewing how many times was the video shared on a social channel.
Why is Social Sharing an important measure?
The number of people sharing a video across different social platforms is a strong indicator of the relevance of the video. Social media shares serve as the equivalent to face-to-face recommendations.
When a viewer shares video content with their network, it means they appreciate it. Shares add credibility to the content and lead to the creation of a broader community. The other benefit of Social Sharing is the likes and shares on videos across various platforms can be mined as leads and converted to customers.
How can you improve Social Sharing?
A lot of marketers believe not much can be done about social sharing and that it is an organic response from the viewer.
To optimise for Social Sharing Rate, here are some tips:
- Ensure that your videos are social share friendly by adding the share buttons in highly visible and easy to access real estate.
- A lot of videos do not end with an explicit request asking to be shared. If you want viewers to share your videos, simply ask them with sincerity to share the video if they saw value in it.
- Consider concluding the video with a request to continue the discussion on social channels. Prompt your viewers with a discussion question, and ask them to follow up on Twitter or your preferred social platform using a hashtag.
Marketers frequently measure bounce rate of web pages, particularly, the bounce rate of landing pages that have been custom developed to drive a specific objective. Similarly, Marketers must measure the bounce rate of pages with videos on them.
The Bounce rate represents the number of visitors who access your site but then leave without checking out other pages.
How is the Bounce Rate measured?
Bounce Rate = (total number of visitors viewing one page only) / (total number of visits)
Why is the Bounce Rate an important measure?
If the landing page consists of a video and links to pages (or forms to fill out) to complete the conversion process, the video should convince the viewer to stick around and complete the conversion cycle. If the bounce rate is high. The landing page needs to be redesigned or its content needs to be rewritten.
How can you reduce the Bounce Rate?
Several factors can influence the bounce rate. Marketing must focus on reducing the Bounce Rate. Here are some ways to do it:
- Reduce the page’s load time
- Improve the User Interface and navigation
- Optimise the video’s position, size, and quality
- Optimise the landing page design
Organisations must develop and distribute videos to achieve specific business goals. Each video must have an overt objective; be it convincing the viewer to download an asset, setting up a call for Sales etc. Conversions refer to the percentage of viewers that completed the action (objective) intended by the video.
How is the Conversion Rate measured?
This will vary depending on the objective. If the aim of the video is to drive viewers to download an asset (a white paper, a document) then the number of downloads will be the measure. If the video serves to drive traffic to a particular landing page, then the number of visitors on the landing page will be the measure. If the objective of the video is to drive inbound calls, then the number of calls received by the inbound sales reps will be the measure.
Why is the Conversion Rate an important measure?
Videos must be about business objectives. Each video must have an explicit objective that ties to the business objective. Conversions (achieving the video objective) are an essential halfway home to achieving the business objectives.
To demonstrate the efficacy of video content, marketers must keep a strong handle on the number of leads each video generates. Deep analysis of how videos are received allows the organization to refine and finetune future video projects.
How can you improve the Conversion Rate?
A clear and compelling Call to Action is extremely important in every video project. Not having one deprives the organization the opportunity to execute on lead generation.
To optimise for improving Conversion Rates, here are some tips:
- Ensure that the call to action is directly related to the video. Focus on that alignment. It will serve you well. For example – if the video is related to delivering business presentations well, provide a link to an ebook on the best practices of business presentations.
- Use language that is grounded in action items. Through the video, move your viewers from status quo to where you want them to go. Verb words such as start, stop, continue, build, learn, discover etc. work well.
- Keep your Call to Action short and sweet. Any greater than about 15 words for a Call to Action is too long.
COMMENTS / FEEDBACK
Comments and Feedback don’t get discussed enough because they are a qualitative metric rather than a quantitative one. These measures refer to the social activity (likes and comments) from the viewer, further to watching the video, on the social platform.
How are Comments & Feedback measured?
Comments can be measured quantitatively and upon deeper analysis, qualitatively. The quantitative measure can be sourced through the number of comments that the video garners. The qualitative measure can be achieved.
Why are Comments and Feedback an important measure?
The number of comments on a video indicates the overall quantitative reaction to a video. It expresses a higher level of engagement because the viewer has bothered to put fingers to keystrokes and make the comment. However, the nature of comments is an extremely important measure as it sheds light on precisely how the video has been received by the viewers.
How can you improve the engagement with viewer Comments & Feedback?
- Respond to each piece of feedback and each comment on the video.
- Acknowledge negative feedback. Set course of action to resolve.
- Thank viewers for positive feedback.
- Gauge through the feedback whether the content resonates with viewers.
- The information you gather will help you to create content that is more customized to your target audience.
If you conduct research on the web you will come across several metrics to measure the success of a video campaign. Ultimately your metrics must be linked to the objectives of the video which must be linked to the business goals. Each organisation will have different business goals and as such, the video objectives and corresponding metrics will vary.
Regardless of the metrics you decide to work with, what I am driving at in this blog is – use metrics. Use more than the elementary ones. Using the right metrics will allow you to learn precisely how successful your video campaign was and where improvements are needed. Refining your videos and working with an ethos of continuous improvement backed by quantitative and qualitative data from the metrics will leave a tremendous impact on your video strategy and tactics – eventually revenue.
So what metrics do you currently leverage to gauge the success of your videos? Could you leverage some of the metrics I have provided in this blog? Is it time to search on the web and look at what else is being used by marketers?
Leverage video. Use metrics. Improve your videos. Help achieve business goals. Keep winning as a cutting-edge marketer.
RK (Rahul Kumar) is the Founder & CEO of Resonate.