A Quantitative and Qualitative Approach to Video ROI

May 17, 2018

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Andrew Capland

Andrew Capland


“So how is that ___ performing?” You can fill in the blank with whatever marketing initiative your team is focused on right now: a new homepage design, your latest A/B test, some ad campaign results, a big email send  …  the list goes on and on. The truth is, it’s a loaded question marketers get asked a lot. And sometimes, it can be really tricky to answer.

So, should you focus on directly trackable KPIs like views, clicks, conversions, and ROI? Or do you focus on the measures that are harder to track but are equally as important, like connecting with your audience or pushing your brand forward? The modern marketer hates this question. But because marketing campaigns are analyzed through quantitative and qualitative lenses, the modern marketer should be able to do both.

At Wistia, we spend a ton of time thinking about how marketers can answer that tricky performance question. We believe that marketers should be able to confidently understand their return on investment for video. And, we recognize that trackable KPIs are only half the story. First, let’s dig into what numbers you can track easily.

Quantitative: What you can start measuring today

Video data

Metrics like impressions, play rate, and viewer engagement are table-stakes in most video platforms these days. And as such, they’re typically the first stop on your list when it comes to analyzing the success of a video.

Understanding your video’s analytics will help you make quick decisions about what to do with your video content. Not getting many impressions? Try boosting a post on social media to expand your reach and get more views. Does your play rate seem low? Experiment with a different video thumbnail and see if that does the trick. Low engagement? Perhaps a different version of the video is in order.

These metrics are great for gaining a deeper understanding of how your content is performing, so if you haven’t been checking them out, this is a great place to start!

Leads generated

Not every marketing campaign will be focused on generating leads. But if it does have a lead generation component, reporting on the number of leads your video is able to generate will be super valuable in understanding its success. Those leads are worth real dollars to your business, so finding out how much revenue you can expect based on the leads your video generates is crucial. Plus, you’ll be able to more back up your case for future investment if you’ve got the numbers to prove it!

“Those leads are worth real dollars to your business, so finding out how much revenue you can expect based on the leads your video generates is crucial.”

Here are the two main ways you can generate leads and track your results:

  1. Add video to your landing pages and track its influence on your conversion rates. Here at Wistia, we’ve found that using video on a landing page increases conversion rates for our paid ads and downloadable content. But don’t just take our word for it! Every business is different, so you should always experiment to find out what works best for your industry. Put your video to the test by making two different versions of the page and seeing which one drives more conversions, the one with or without the video.
  2. Add a form to your video and track the total number of leads generated, as well as the conversion rate of video views to leads. Our email collector, Turnstile, provides a pretty simple solution for capturing leads from right within your videos. You can place a form at the beginning of a video, requiring an email from the viewer in order to watch, or even give your viewers a taste of the content by adding a form to the middle of your video. The choice is yours, but we’ve found that there are some significant conversion rate differences depending on where you place the email collector. As always, experimenting is the name of the game!

Call-to-action clicks

Tying video views directly to clicks or conversions is another great way to assess video ROI. Adding clickable links for other relevant CTAs (like signing up for an account) is one way you can bridge the gap between your content and other important marketing KPIs.

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 those new audience segments.

A/B tests

If you’re looking to prove the power of video on conversion pages, there’s no better method than A/B testing. You can use tools like Optimizely to test whether your video is actually driving more sign-ups than say, static copy.

You can also A/B test the conversion power of video A vs video B, and then report back to your team on any differences in conversion. We’ve done a lot of A/B testing with video here at Wistia — check out the method to our madness from start to finish in this process-centric post.

Here are some testing ideas to get your wheels turning:

  • 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
  • Movement in the funnel

Ultimately, you’re probably using video to help influence some action in your marketing funnel, so understanding how video influences that action is super helpful.

For example, if you created a product explainer video for your homepage, you’re probably hoping that visitors will check out your product page after watching it, right? Or similarly, if you embedded a video on your product page that explains the features included in your free trial, the next logical step you hope your viewer will take is signing up for a free trial.

Tracking the actions your viewer takes after watching your video can be really important in moving users through your funnel and driving action. This starts to enter the more “advanced” category of KPIs and Google Analytics skills (so be warned!), but it’s something that all marketers can do with a little work and is super valuable in understanding videos impact. If you want to take the plunge, head over to this post on how to view your video data in Google Analytics.

“Tracking the actions your viewer takes after watching your video can be really important in moving users through your funnel and driving action.”

Time (and money) saved

It sounds counterintuitive when it comes to video, but hear me out. How much time do people at your company spend giving the same sales demo? How about explaining a common support issue or onboarding process? If you find yourself repeating the same things over and over again, it’s not the customers fault — it’s yours.

Addressing frequently asked questions using a more scalable system, like walkthrough videos or webinars, should give your teammates time to contribute in ways that are more valuable. For example, if you create a video that saves 30 sales people even just 10 minutes a week, that’s more time they can spend bring in more customers. You can start to calculate ROI for these types of videos by looking at the time your team saves using these scalable resources.

And of course, don’t forget about time time your customers save! If your customers can get their basic questions answered via video, they can get started accomplishing their task right away. Delivering your customers value is just as important as measuring ROI for your own business.

Qualitative: What’s harder to measure

Hard and fast numbers are necessary for proving the ROI of your videos, however they don’t tell the full story on their own. There are also qualitative benefits that contribute to long term ROI. It’s important to consider both hard data and the following qualitative factors when deciding how successful a video is.

Brand influence

You can actually keep track of this one qualitatively to some degree — social media monitoring tools or even simply the comments on your blog can give you a better idea of how video is impacting your brand. At the end of the day, though, word-of-mouth marketing is every business’ dream. Free advertising? Sign me up! Video can help you differentiate yourself from your competitors, allowing you to build a superfan club of customers who are loyal to your brand.

And while measuring that impact from a video campaign can be hard, the impact is undeniable. When you start hearing things like, “Hey! I saw you in that video on the blog the other day — pretty sweet,” you’ll know that your videos are starting to gain some traction. Marketers often fall into the trap of letting data drive their efforts completely, leading you to optimize for things that are easy to measure, and not necessarily what matters most. So keep your brand top of mind and try to create videos that are representative of what makes your company or product so unique.

Product education

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.

“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 just a small investment from the learner. So, use video to make it clear what your product does and how it will benefit the viewer. Instead of using vague language to explain your features, show how they actually work in a product explainer video.

The highly visual nature of video allows you to explain tricky concepts or complex product to an audience with a limited attention span (because whose audience isn’t distracted by shiny things?). Companies like Trello and Squarespace do a great job of explaining specific features within their products while clearly showcasing the benefit those features could have on the users.

Trust in your business

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again — featuring friendly human faces and voices on camera creates trust within the viewer (it’s science). Product videos are super helpful for explaining what it is your product does and how it can help solve your prospect’s problems, however many companies forget that focusing only your features is a misstep. Don’t lose out on the vital human connection that you can build by putting your employees on screen.

People are more likely to understand and believe in your business when they can see the human behind the voice. Plus, using video to communicate with your customers and prospects can strengthen your relationships with them over time, and that type of familiarity can lead to long term brand affinity and success.

Create a video dashboard to track ROI

Phew! Qualitative and quantitative metrics — your left and right brain working together in perfect harmony to understand your video’s performance. Now that you know what to look for from both sides of the equation, you should be able to assess the success of your video in more holistic way. However, if you’re still looking for a little more help on how to track and report on these metrics, we’ve got you covered. Easily explain your video’s ROI to members of your team with this simple video metric dashboard.

We use a dashboard like this here at Wistia to keep track of every video we embed on our site and its performance. Along with each video is a short description of the content, the goal of the video, the main success metric, and any other relevant results or fundings.

This spreadsheet serves as a home base for all of our key video metrics. It’s a central location that can easily be shared with everyone from our creative team to our executive team. Need a high-level look at how your videos are performing? Create a video performance dashboard.

Access the dashboard

If you’re serious about using video to improve your marketing, you need to be track your results in order to understand which videos are working and which ones aren’t. Over time, this learning will fuel iterations and new ideas, and those iterations will eventually lead to more learning.

So the next time someone asks you how that _ is performing, you’ll be prepared to share the results, and why!

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!

This content is part of Video Marketing Week. Sign up here to gain access to it all!

May 17, 2018

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Andrew Capland

Andrew Capland


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