The Eight Online Video Metrics That Really MatterVideo: You’re doing it right. You have product showcases on YouTube, funny videos on your blog, Flash animations on social networks, webinars on your website, so you put the time in to create and publish videos. They help customers understand what you do and they raise interest from the people you want to reach. They add value.

At least that’s the theory.

Video is certainly more interesting than text, and you can be very creative with it. But sometimes you have to wonder, “Does video really add anything to my business?” Here’s how to know.

Analytics is really important for your long-term video strategy, whether you are in e-commerce, B2B marketing, sales, e-learning, or public relations. You know all about online tracking. You track unique visits, referring URLs, entry and exit pages, bounce rate, clickthroughs, form fills, and of course a lot of other metrics. Depending on your organization’s needs, certain stats are more important to you than others.

With video, it’s a little different. You can track the raw data of video in much the same way: views, referring sites, length of time spent watching, etc., but you can also track engagement metrics such as shares, ratings, likes, and other actions taken after viewing. These are known as active and passive video metrics that give you two different ways to see how well your videos perform.

Some video metrics are fairly obvious. You track these just like you track any other piece of content: total views, unique views, average time viewed, time of day, and so on. But while these are great short-term metrics for video, they aren’t the metrics that best relate to the uniqueness of video, no matter your business focus. Video is different, because it is meant to help viewers retain information in a way that text cannot. That’s why some metrics are more important.

The 8 Metrics That Really Matter:

Play Rate. This is a measure of whether the video was actually viewed once it loaded. This helps you determine how prominently your videos are presented on a hosting platform, and whether the still images appear inviting. It can tell you whether or not the platform is optimized for viewing videos and whether your choice of preview image is working.

Player Load Times. If your play rate is low, it may be because the player takes forever to load once the viewer clicks on it. This may not be available depending on the hosting platform but some platforms allow you to include a script that tracks load times per view. If platforms are consistently slower than others, it will negatively affect your total views.

Playthrough Rate. This is the pulse of your video strategy. Views alone don’t tell you how well video performs, though they do tell you how well your videos are found by search engines. Once people find your videos, the percentage of time they spend watching them tells you whether you’ve given them what they were looking for. For thought leadership videos such as webinars, interviews, and video blogging, it’s important to track how long people last.

Conversion. This is critical, especially in conjunction with Playthrough Rate. This helps you know if viewers are quitting your videos early to make a purchase, or if something about the videos is boring them to tears. In e-commerce, the point of the video is to nudge buyers, so higher drop-off rates are probably okay if they lead to a sale. REI’s product demos are a really good example of using video to improve conversion rates.

Video SEO. You should know which keywords are driving video views. The reason video SEO is so powerful is that video itself does not include keywords, but you get to choose keywords in your titles and tags. It’s almost as if you were back in 1998 again. The best part of this is that you can test video SEO to a granular level, and you can even A/B test a video using different approaches.

Sharing. How many people share your videos, and what influence do they have? Most video hosting platforms such as YouTube, and your own WordPress blog with various sharing plug-ins can give your videos share-ability to Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus and other social networks. They can also provide tracking for the reach of a share on each network and whether those shares drove more views. This helps you understand not only how well your video is received, but how well it inspires action.

Distribution. This is about which video networks are driving the most views and visits back to your site. Because you can host your videos on many platforms or link to them, you can easily determine which web properties bring in more total viewers or more likely customers. For instance, Ooyala’s Custom Analytics for video gives you highly detailed feedback on videos hosted on its platform. The point of distribution is to make your video part of a smooth experience.

Content Detail. You have many types of videos, but which ones deliver the best results? The granular level of tracking available lets you track whether your shorter or longer videos perform best according to your goals. You can also track the performance of videos that show your product or not, that feature a man or a woman presenting, that are set in a use case environment or a neutral setting, and a lot of other varying details.

As you may have noticed, some of the metrics above are not going to be easy without a dedicated video hosting platform. Whether you host your videos on YouTube or Vimeo and/or have your own accounts with BrightCove, Kaltura or Ooyala, these 8 metrics will go beyond the very limited Total Views and help you understand how video impacts your organization and your efforts.

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