By now, you’re probably used to seeing tons of videos on social media. From established giants like Instagram and YouTube to emerging platforms like TikTok, video is everywhere.
As a marketer, you might be curious about how to use video at scale across your brand efforts. How do you create engaging content for your audience that resonates on different apps? And how do you know if the videos you create and share are working?
The truth is, there isn’t a cut-and-dried answer to the questions above. To understand what kind of video content resonates with your followers, you have to take a holistic view of your brand’s performance on social media.
To start, we recommend tracking and analyzing video key performance indicators (KPIs) on each social platform. This data can be found within each platform or aggregated with a tool like Buffer or Sprout Social. If you’re looking at each individual platform, keep in mind that metrics are not consistently named, so you’ll have to do a bit of extra work to get an apples-to-apples comparison.
By understanding the metrics behind your content, you’ll be able to make data-informed decisions that can drive your strategy forward. Create and distribute content, analyze the data, turn the data into actionable insights, apply these learnings to future campaigns — and then continuously rinse and repeat.
We know there are tons of metrics you could track, so we’re simplifying things by highlighting the three most important metrics on each platform. Easy peasy — the way marketers need it to be.
Ah, Facebook — the original social media network. As the largest social platform to date, Facebook offers a wide array of audiences and untapped potential. However, many businesses still struggle to find their footing. And as organic reach continues to decline, getting video content in front of your audience can be even more challenging. Paid efforts can help here, but even that can quickly get expensive.
Your best shot? Pay special attention to what videos get the most engagement from your fans, and dig into any comments on your content to get more context. This qualitative feedback can help support the data you’re seeing and further define what your audience loves or what’s not landing quite right.
- What it is: The average length of time people spend watching your video
- What it means: The amount of time someone spends watching your video indicates how much it resonates with them. If this number is low, this could suggest that your video didn’t successfully “hook” the viewer or that the topic isn’t compelling.
- How to adjust your video content: Time watched is one of the best indicators of how your content is resonating (and our personal favorite metric to measure the value of video). The longer folks watch, the more engaged they are in your video. Are folks falling off after just a few seconds? That could be a sign that you’re missing the mark.
- Where to learn more about this metric: Video Average Playtime
- What it is: The degree to which a viewer interacts with your video (measured by reactions, comments, and shares)
- What it means: Like the percentage of video watched, engagement metrics help you gauge whether viewers found your video useful and entertaining. Reactions and comments can reflect both positive and negative sentiments, while shares are typically only done when a viewer loves a video.
- How to adjust your video content: Gather as much data as you can and use the type of content that gets the most positive engagement to inspire your future videos.
- Where to learn more about this metric: Engagement on Facebook
- What it is: The highest number of viewers who watched a video while it was live
- What it means: This one’s a numbers game — the higher, the better!
- How to adjust your video content: The first step to getting more eyes on your live content is to let folks know about your stream. Be sure to schedule your event in advance and invite people to attend. Also, take the time to write a compelling title and description to let your audience know what the live event is about and pique their interest. This way, people will know exactly what to expect, and people who join mid-stream won’t feel lost. Speaking of mid-stream viewers, be sure to acknowledge people as they join and get them up to speed with quick summaries. Use a strong hook or elements of storytelling to keep folks watching, and encourage engagement by welcoming new viewers and soliciting real-time feedback.
- Where to learn more about this metric: Introducing New Metrics for Live Video
What started as a small photo-sharing app has since exploded into the third largest social channel. Right now, over one billion people use Instagram each month. Of that one billion, 200 million will visit at least one business profile on any given day. So how can you make sure yours is one of them?
To gain traction as a business in this space, you must understand why people come to Instagram and what your audience wants here. Behind-the-scenes or day-in-the-life videos will help you connect with followers, while snappy formats like Reels or Stories can show off your brand’s personality. If there’s any place to break down barriers and try new things, it’s Instagram — so embrace this creative space and have fun!
Here are a few metrics we recommend paying attention to when analyzing your Instagram video performance:
- What it is: The number of interactions on your videos, including likes, comments, and shares
- How to adjust your video content: People feel inclined to comment on content they relate to, find funny or entertaining, or want to share with a friend. Look at the videos in both your stories and your feed to see where your engagement rate is high. If you get more engagement on your story videos, share more of those rather than posting videos in your feed (or vice versa).
- Where to learn more about this metric: Engagement Rate
- What it is: A feature allowing people to “save” content they want to return to or share with someone
- How to adjust your video content: Identify videos with the highest number of saves, and note why you think this content was valuable to viewers. For example, you might notice your frequently saved videos offer followers some sort of hack. Make future videos that are helpful in similar ways to encourage more saves and shares.
- Where to learn more about this metric: Instagram Saves
- What it is: How many followers you gain per post
- What it means: This is a great way to determine whether your content resonates with the Instagram audience as a whole. People feel inclined to follow a brand based on finding value in the content they provide.
- How to adjust your video content: If you notice some slow growth, look at your recent content and try to find other ways to create videos your followers — and potential followers — can relate to.
- Where to learn more about this metric: Followers Per Post
Over 500 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every single minute. Because of this oversaturation of video content, it can be difficult for businesses to reach their followers and target audience. YouTube also has a long history of catering towards entertainment versus educational content (though the tides are starting to change).
Overall watch time, subscriber growth, and average view duration indicate the kind of videos your audience likes to watch. Use these video KPIs to learn what type of content gives you the best chance at standing out on YouTube.
- What it is: The aggregate total amount of time the videos on your channel have been watched
- What it means: YouTube’s search algorithm prioritizes channels with high total watch times, so you want this to be as high as possible.
- How to adjust your video content: Filter videos by watch time to see which content is engaging viewers and determine what qualities you want to incorporate in future projects. This assessment won’t just help you create engaging videos; you’ll also boost your channel visibility.
- Where to learn more about this metric: Watch Time
- What it is: The length of time people watched your video before clicking out of it and leaving your page
- What it means: Again, the higher numbers are better here. If people are watching your video for long periods, that means they’re interested in what you have to say.
- How to adjust your video content: Compare the average view duration for your own videos to brainstorm why people stick around or abandon your content. For example, do viewers typically finish short videos but not long ones? Or is view duration more tied to the video topic rather than the length? Then, pick up on trends and adjust your future videos around these insights to encourage longer viewing times.
- Where to learn more about this metric: Average View Duration
- What it is: A metric that shows how many subscribers you have gained or lost over a period of time
- What it means: Ideally, you’re retaining your current audience while attracting new followers. Sharp drop offs can indicate your content needs tweaking, while sharp increases can show you when you’ve done something really well.
- How to adjust your video content: YouTube allows you to filter this metric to show you which videos have given you the most subscribers. If you notice slow follower growth, consider the type of content you are using. For example, how-to videos, best-of videos, funny clips, educational videos, and vlogs typically encourage subscriptions on YouTube. Consider formatting your videos to fall into one of these categories.
- Where to learn more about this metric: Subscriber Growth
What started as a micro-blogging site has become a hot spot for niche communities and passionate creators. Unfortunately, folks tend to scroll Twitter quickly, so short and snappy content works best here.
How can you tell whether your Twitter videos are capturing attention and creating conversations? Here are a few specific metrics to consider:
- What it is: The number of people who saw your tweet in their timeline or search results
- What it means: Twitter’s algorithm shows people’s Tweets based on how popular they are. Popularity is ranked by the number of Retweets, replies, and likes a video gets. This means that the higher these numbers are for you, the more people will see your content.
- How to adjust your video content: Review your analytics to see which videos get the most impressions. Also, be sure to look at the types of videos in your feed that have a lot of engagement. Consider using this type of content in your future videos.
- Where to learn more about this metric: Impressions
- What it is: A video’s Retweets, likes, and comments
- What it means: On Twitter, there are several ways a follower can engage with you. They can Retweet, comment, like, follow you, click on a link, and more. Retweets are a good sign a video has resonated with viewers — so much so they wanted to be associated with it.
- How to adjust your video content: If viewers Retweet your content, you can engage with them by asking questions, replying to their responses, and more. To tailor your content, look at the differences between the videos that get lots of replies and Retweets versus the videos that don’t.
- Where to learn more about this metric: Twitter Engagement
- What it is: The rate at which people watch your video from start to finish
- How to adjust your video content: If your audience is consistently dropping off in the middle of your videos, consider why they abandon your content. Did your video offer a strong opinion viewers disagreed with? Or was the video too neutral and therefore not very interesting? Twitter users tend to prefer clever, opinionated videos over informative, educational posts.
- Where to learn more about this metric: Video Completion Rate