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Metrics and Beyond: Measuring Your Video's ROI

Like any content you create, video takes work, and, to speak frankly, it can really stink to push it out into the cloud and never hear back from it again. We all like to receive feedback, even if it's negative; otherwise, we find ourselves paralyzed with uncertainty when it comes time to take our next action.

That's why we spend so much time here at Wistia thinking about how to determine the return on investment of our video efforts. With many other marketing assets, there are analytics that have become dogma; for example, open rates and click rates for email, or conversion and bounce rates for landing pages. But when it comes to video, it doesn't feel like the rules are quite so clearly defined.

Even if you are sold on using video, there might be others on your team who still need convincing. It's important to keep track of the things we can measure, but it's just as essential to acknowledge and be honest about the things that we can't (and why those things, too, are important).

Below, we delve into a few ways you can better define the return on investment (ROI) of your video.

Things we can measure

Video Analytics

This is where we normally start measuring the success of our latest content. We look at stats like play count, percentage of visitors that watched the video, and the percentage engagement of our viewers. If you'd like more information about video analytics, watch this video guide from our Learning Center.

Leads generated directly by a video

Video is a great way to drive additional leads; here's an article we wrote for Brainrider on the subject. Place an email form on the page next to your video or directly in your video and keep an eye on how many leads that form is yielding in relation to the number of pageviews to calculate conversion rate.

Our Turnstile email collector provides a pretty straightforward way to capture leads: you can place a gate at the beginning of a video, requiring an email from the viewer in order to watch, or take a sales hook approach by putting a gate in the middle of your video after an introductory segment or at the end of the video. Give the viewer some value, and then ask for something (their email) in return to see the rest. (On a side note, Wistia also integrates with marketing automation tools like Hubspot and Pardot for tracking leads who've watched your video!)

Measuring video calls-to-action

Tying video views directly to conversions or sales is a pretty solid way to gauge ROI. Add a post-roll call to action or a mid-roll link to your video with links to a conversion action (like signing up for an account). Use a bit.ly short URL or a Google UTM code to track the number of people who watched the video and clicked through to your sign-up page. From there, you can determine who is converting—and who isn't. Identify your most engaged audience members and then start figuring out how to appeal to new audience segments.

A/B testing: video vs. no video

On pages that can be easily tied to conversion, you can use tools like Optimizely to test whether your video is actually driving more sign-ups. During one of our pricing page redesigns, we saw a 14.9% increase in users who signed up for a free plan or trial after we added videos to explain how bandwidth works and the differences between our plans.

Zappos saw similar success in testing pages with and without video; videos were found to have a sales impact of 6 to 30%. Universal Medical saw a sales increase of 300% when they made their first videos.

A few ideas for tests you could run:

  • Page with video versus page without a video.
  • Video A vs. Video B.
  • Different thumbnails for the same video.
  • Different placement of the same video.

Support questions about a particular topic

One way that we decide which videos to make is by tracking what people are asking in support. When they're confused by Wistia features or parts of our video marketing vision, we use video to better clarify these friction points. Clarifying points of confusion can have a huge effect on how happy people are to use (and pay for) your product! As a bonus, scripting a video is a great way to hone your thinking - you have to be able to make a clear and concise argument, or your video will be a mess.

After a video has launched within your product or documentation, the goal is a decrease in the support volume around that question or feature.

MailChimp's video documentation team recently wrote a great article about how they use support volume and video analytics to drive their video strategy.

Video viewing vs. man hours

How much time do people at your company spend repeating the same sales demos? How about explaining the same support issue or onboarding process? If you find yourself explaining the same things over and over again, it's not the customer, it's you.

Addressing frequently asked questions via a more scalable medium, like walkthrough videos or webinars, frees your team up to answer more specific, in-depth questions. While personalized support can be useful in certain situations (like deep technical issues), we've found that people prefer resources they can access whenever they need them.

You can start to calculate ROI for this situation by looking at the time your team saves using these scalable resources. But don't forget about your customers! Imagine the following scenario: a customer emails support with a question, and has to wait hours for an answer. They might not even get a full answer the first time - an email back-and-forth might be required. What if instead their basic question was covered in a quick video? They could get started accomplishing their task right away.

Delivering your customers value is just as important as measuring ROI for your own business.

Things we can't measure - and why they're important

Although numbers are both necessary and reassuring, there are also some more qualitative benefits of video. We consider both hard data and the following qualitative factors when deciding how to proceed with our video strategy.

How much better someone understands your product

There are several ways to abstractly quantify improvement in customer understanding: metrics like volume of new customers that come from word-of-mouth, number of support requests per new customer, and ratings like Net Promoter score. But ultimately, it can still be really tough to nail down a single number that summarizes how video improves your new customer's first experience.

What we do know, however, is that video is a great way to provide context, and it requires the least investment on the part of the learner. Make it clearer what your product does and how it will benefit the viewer. Instead of using vague marketing speak to explain your features, show them doing what they do best in a video.

The visual component of video allows you to explain things more concisely to an audience with a limited attention span (because whose audience isn't distracted by other shiny things?). Great examples of video improving understanding include Homebase's tutorial video and Asana's documentation videos.

How much more people relate to you as actual humans

If your audience can connect to your business as a group of actual people, then it's a lot easier for them to trust you, and consequently, your product. Putting human faces and voices on camera creates a sense of personal accountability: people feel like they know who they'll be talking to if they reach out with a question, and when you send out an email, they have a stronger sense that a human spent time putting it together.

How excited they are to spread the word

You can keep track of this one qualitatively to some degree, via the comments you receive from people on your blog, social media, or in person. But unless you're wiretapping your audience (which we do not recommend!), you'll never quite be able to measure how excited they are to spread the word to other people. And until it's considered socially acceptable to attach an EEG to your audience's head to track their emotional response to your video, it's pretty tough to measure that, too.


What metrics do you focus on when measuring your videos' performance? How have these metrics driven your future video efforts? We'd love to hear about your experience in the comments!

Thanks to Jeff Vincent for all his help and feedback on this post!

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