Knowing how successful a video is varies from person to person, purpose to purpose, and often misconception to misconception. Getting what you want from a video is a bit of a guessing game to start with, but it’s just a case of knowing what you’re looking for.
With this in mind, I’m going to write a two-parter: firstly, to explain what the four core metrics off video success are, then a follow-up that looks into the ways you can improve upon them.
Well, this one’s probably the most obvious and, in many ways, the most important. Play rate, put simply, is the percentage of visitors to a video page that click the play button. Ultimately, it underlines the fact that people can indeed go to a page with just a video and still not press play. There may be all kinds of technical reasons why this may be the case (e.g. incompatibility, or the page is mobile unfriendly), but sometimes people simply don’t bother watching what it is you’ve filmed.
Taking a massive front seat in the modern-day drive for perceived popularity across all media production is social sharing. Though usually restricted to Facebook and Twitter (and, somehow, the five or six people that still swear by Google+), this relates directly to how many people have put your video across social channels. Depending on the site or perceived audience, it may include LinkedIn, Reddit or a simple email. Mobile sites often favour WhatsApp and so forth.
Yet what social shares effectively represent are recommendations from family, friends, colleagues and contemporaries. As we all know from the likes of TripAdvisor or pre-holiday chats with friends, we can really decide on our final choices with just a little encouragement. My own upcoming holiday to Croatia is largely based on these – the way I see it, I can at least throw terrible airport sweets at the heads of those that give me bad tips.
This is where things get a little bit more in-depth, but also really rather interesting. Watch rate, or engagement rate, totals up the percentage of a video that a viewer watches. When calls-to-action and sucker punches are often left to the end of a video – and rightly so too, in many cases – it’s important to keep a person engaged, especially as it’s statistically more likely for someone to buy a product if you watch a promotional video all the way to the end. Aside from Fallout 4, I know only after watching a full trailer whether or not I’ll splurge on a game.
It’s worth remembering that YouTube itself suggests videos based on watch time of previous videos, and not views. And why not? YouTube wants you to stay, not get bored, and watch more of their pretty adverts – which themselves can be skipped, but are presented in such a way that you won’t want to (except that 90th viewing of a CGI Kevin Spacey for Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare that still haunts me).
For the record, I see this metric as way more important than the number of views a showreel can get. One view can equate to one second; look instead at the length of time per video, especially on the high-grossing videos you may have on site. The difference may not be so great.
Although a little more off the beaten track in terms of “real metrics” for measuring video success, conversion rate is still pretty important. Whether it’s an embed in the video to a unique link, or convincing someone to subscribe, conversion rate is all about the actions undertaken by your viewership as a result of your presentation.
Obviously, to make money, this is usually the intended outcome of any video… but in a world where there’s content for content’s sake (and good content presents too many great positives to list this late in the game), it may be worth instead considering conversion rate’s three alternatives for now.