Video KPIs: Evaluating Performance Across Multiple Channels

Ever wonder how a video shared on Facebook compares to a video embedded on your site?

June 24, 2021

Topic tags

Jenny Coppola

Creative

Meisha Bochicchio

Marketing


The hardest part of measuring how well you’re achieving your video goals is understanding what success looks like on different distribution channels. Nearly every channel you share video content on has a different definition for key performance indicators (KPIs) like “views” or “engagement,” so things can get confusing pretty fast.

Because KPIs differ between channels, you may also be confused when it comes to comparing performance across channels. For example, how does a video shared on Facebook stack up against a video embedded in a blog post on your site?

In this post, we’ll uncover the key differences between the various video distribution channels.

We’re here to take you through all the KPIs available to you on each of these channels. We’ll explain what they mean and identify which ones are the biggest indicators of success based on larger marketing goals. After reading this post, you’ll walk away feeling confident in your understanding of video KPIs.

1. Website videos

Video can be used on virtually every page of your company website, from product pages to blog posts to help documentation. Whether you’re looking for an added SEO boost or just hoping to encourage visitors to spend more time on a certain page, using high-quality video across your website is a no-brainer. And if you’re using Wistia to host video on your site, we can help you track KPIs to help strengthen your video marketing efforts.

“Video can be used on virtually every page of your company website, from product pages to blog posts to help documentation.”

Video KPIs

  • Total plays: Total number of times a video was played, either by pressing play or autoplaying
  • Average engagement: Hours watched divided by total plays, multiplied by the length of the video
  • Play rate: Total number of unique plays divided by unique page loads
  • Timeline Actions: Viewer engagement from Calls to Action, Annotation Links, and Turnstile email submissions

Which video KPIs matter most?

Average engagement

We love this metric because it goes beyond total view count and number of viewers to provide more meaningful context. Average engagement indicates whether or not a viewer found the content helpful, informative, or — at the very least — worth watching. Unlike the way many platforms measure video engagement, Wistia gives you an idea of what it looks like as a percentage:

This number provides an overall sense of whether or not your content is resonating with the target audience, which can help inform future video decisions.

Timeline Actions

What’s a more straightforward indicator of strong video performance than a viewer taking action as a direct result of watching it? If a viewer decides to click on an Annotation Link or a Call to Action, it’s a pretty good sign that they’ve found your content engaging or informative. Heck, if your viewer fills out a Turnstile form, they’ve officially entrusted you with their email address and are okay with you getting in touch!

For those reasons, the Timeline Actions people take on your video should be one of the first and most important KPIs you monitor for new videos.

Site metrics

Factors like bounce rate, time on page, click-through rate (CTR), and conversion rate can help determine the success of your video. Did adding video to a highly-trafficked landing page influence visitors’ time on that page? Did you see any other improvements after adding video to a specific page? Site metrics can help paint a holistic picture of your video’s effects on visitors.

2. Facebook videos

The opportunity to get in front of a new, targeted audience is much more likely on Facebook than on other channel, which is just one reason sharing new videos on this platform is so enticing. Facebook provides an outlet for marketers to share fun, autoplay-friendly videos that cater to recreational browsing.

“Facebook provides an outlet for marketers to share fun, autoplay-friendly videos that cater to recreational browsing.”

Video KPIs

  • Minutes viewed: Total minutes of watch time spent on the video
  • Unique viewers: Number of individual people who saw the video
  • Video views: Number of times your video was viewed for an aggregate of at least 3 seconds
  • 10-second views: The number of times the video was viewed at least 10 seconds. If the video is shorter than 10 seconds, this metric refers to the number of times people viewed at least 97% of the video
  • Video average watch time: Total watch time of your video, divided by the total number of video plays (including replays)
  • Audience and engagement: Includes comments, shares, and reactions

And we can’t forget about live video! Here are some KPIs Facebook offers for Facebook Live videos:

  • Peak live viewers: Highest number of concurrent viewers who viewed the broadcast for at least 3 seconds
  • Minutes viewed: Total minutes of watch time spent on the video, including replays and views less than 3 seconds
  • Video views: Number of times your video was viewed for an aggregate of at least 3 seconds
  • 10-second views: Number of times the video was viewed for at least 10 seconds
  • Video average watch time: Total watch time of your video, divided by the total number of video plays and replays (note: this doesn’t count live video sessions)
  • Audience and engagement: Includes comments, shares, and reactions

Which video KPIs matter most?

10-second views

Ten seconds may seem pretty short, but these types of views are actually more meaningful than regular video views. When a typical “view” could mean someone watches your content for three seconds, that overall metric becomes pretty meaningless. However, if your viewer sticks around for at least 10 seconds, it tells you they’re a little more engaged with the content.

Audience and engagement

Reactions are akin to pulse indicators when it comes to how alive and well your content is in the social sphere. Comments measure how strongly your content resonates — if it spurred discussion, it definitely impacted people. They’re also unique in that they indicate quantitative and qualitative reactions from your audience, making them all the more valuable. Finally, shares are a key indicator of the virality of your content, especially on Facebook. It’s one thing to passively watch a video on the platform, but a person sharing it on their own feed suggests a much higher level of engagement.

3. Instagram videos

When you want to showcase your brand with fun and engaging video content, there’s no better platform than Instagram. Instagram videos are ideal for highlighting the behind-the-scenes aspects of your business, allowing you to show off the people who make your business thrive. It’s also a great place to engage with your followers on a personal level and raise overall brand awareness.

“When you want to showcase your brand with fun and engaging video content, there’s no better platform than Instagram.”

Video KPIs

  • Views: Number of times your video was viewed for 3 seconds or more (not including views from embedded posts, desktop views, or video loops)
  • Likes: Number of likes on your post
  • Impressions: Total number of times your video was viewed
  • Reach: Number of unique accounts that viewed your post

As big fans of Instagram Stories ourselves, we’re not about to leave them out of the video KPI fun. Here’s the data available for both Instagram Stories and Instagram Live videos:

Instagram Stories:

  • Impressions: Number of times a video has been seen in your story
  • Forward taps: Number of times a viewer taps the right side of the screen to go to the next story
  • Backward taps: Number of times a viewer taps the left side of the screen to rewatch the previous story
  • Exits: Number of times a viewer swipes down to stop watching stories and go back to the main feed
  • Replies: Number of times a viewer swipes up and responds to a story, starting a direct message conversation between you and the viewer

Instagram Live:

  • Live viewers at any given time: Number of accounts watching your live video
  • Viewers: Number of accounts that saw any part of your video

Which video KPI matters most?

Reach

The discoverability factor on Instagram makes reach a top video KPI to track. Unlike Facebook, Instagram’s platform is much more catered to discoverability. The use of hashtags to spread the word about posts you share, along with the Search and Explore pages, means marketers have more opportunities to get their videos in front of new eyes.

An added bonus? Instagram lets you see the percentage of accounts that consumed your content but aren’t actually following you. By pairing this information with another KPI like follower growth, you can see which content is driving viewers to follow your page. Neat stuff!

As is the case with Instagram video posts, combining the right KPIs can help you get a more comprehensive view of how your content is performing. For example, you can calculate the completion rate of your story by simply dividing the number of people who viewed the last snap of your story by the number of people who watched the first one. Even though it takes more legwork to get to these numbers, it’s worth it if you’re making a big marketing investment in Instagram.

4. LinkedIn videos

LinkedIn seems poised for greatness with video marketers. This channel still has plenty of untapped potential, so don’t be afraid to play around with business videos on LinkedIn to see what works for your brand. Now that native video is a built-in feature for business profiles, you can even post videos directly through the platform.

“LinkedIn still has plenty of untapped potential, so don’t be afraid to play around with business videos to see what works for your brand.”

Promote an upcoming webinar, create a video series on an industry-related topic, or share a behind-the-scenes look at your company culture. LinkedIn videos are especially useful for B2B businesses, given the platform’s primary use as a network for business professionals.

Unfortunately, the only detailed analytics you can see at the moment for LinkedIn videos appear when you set them up as ad campaigns — but you can still pull some very basic organic KPIs.

Video KPIs

Organic LinkedIn videos:

  • Views: Number of times your video was viewed for at least 2 continuous seconds
  • Post metrics: Includes impressions, clicks, social actions, and engagement
  • Views: Number of times your video was viewed for at least 2 continuous seconds while the video was at least 50% on screen, or a click on the CTA (whichever comes first)
  • Views at 25%, 50%, 75%: Number of times your video was watched at x% of its length, including watches that skipped to this point
  • Completion rate: Number of completions divided by the number of views, multiplied by 100

Which video KPI matters most?

Post metrics

Not only are post KPIs what LinkedIn users currently have the most access to, but they’re also the most straightforward to understand. Plus, there’s the fact that not everyone is using LinkedIn for paid efforts. Metrics like impressions, clicks, and engagement provide a comprehensive overview of whether or not your video is reaching the right people.

5. Twitter videos

Ah, good old Twitter, the platform where marketers can run wild experiments with the types of video content they share. Like Instagram, Twitter is perfect for businesses wanting to shine a light on the more personal, even humorous side of their brand.

“Twitter is perfect for businesses wanting to shine a light on the more personal, even humorous side of their brand.”

Video KPIs

  • Minutes viewed: Number of minutes users spent viewing the video
  • Video views: Number of times your video was viewed for at least 3 seconds across all tweets
  • Completion rate: Total number of completed views, divided by total number of video starts
  • Calls to Action clicks: Clicks on the Call to Action button in the video

Which video KPIs matter most?

Completion rate

Out of everyone who watched your video, what percentage actually watched the whole thing? Again, this is a more telling metric than video views as an aggregate. If you notice your completion rate is super low, you might want to take another look at your video content and see how you can optimize it. What happens when you upload a shorter version of the video, for instance? Does the completion rate increase? With the completion rate in mind, you can run various tests and versions of your video to increase viewing time. Start hypothesizing and testing accordingly!

Calls to Action clicks

Teaser videos accompanied by a Call to Action can be an effective tool for marketers who want to draw visitors to their site. When you upload a video to Twitter, you have the option to add either a “Visit site” or “Watch now” Call to Action in your tweet. Regardless of what you choose, you can link out to your site and then track how many people click through.

6. YouTube videos

In case you weren’t already convinced that YouTube is the go-to channel for video sharing, take a look at the data. It happens to be the world’s biggest video platform and the second largest search engine in the world behind Google, with over 2 billion users.

“YouTube is the world’s biggest video platform and the second largest search engine in the world behind Google, with over 2 billion users.”

Chances are you’re already using YouTube in some capacity as part of a larger marketing campaign. Luckily, the platform has robust reporting features for tracking video KPIs.

Video KPIs

  • Watch time: Estimated total viewing time of your content
  • Views: YouTube is vague about this, but the generally accepted watch time to count as a view is a full 30 seconds
  • Average view duration: Estimated average minutes watched per view
  • Engagement metrics: Includes likes, dislikes, comments, and shares
  • Videos in playlists: Number of times your videos were included in viewers' playlists (including favorites), as well as filters such as selected date range and region
  • Subscribers: Total number of subscribers; also tracks changes in total subscribers (found by subtracting subscribers lost from subscribers gained for the selected date range and region)
  • Audience retention: Average percentage of a video your audience watched per view
  • Demographics: Includes age, gender, and geography
  • Traffic sources: The channels through which viewers found your video
  • Playback locations: The page or site the video was viewed on

Which video KPIs matter most?

Watch time

Every video on YouTube, as well as every channel on the platform, is ranked by watch time. Videos with higher watch times are more likely to rank better in YouTube’s search results, so you’ll want to keep an eye on the “watch time report” in your dashboard — especially if you hope to rank for a certain channel or topic on YouTube.

Watch time is also a more meaningful metric than views, as it’s a stronger indicator of quality content. The more time people spend watching your content, the better the chances of your brand hitting viral video status.

Traffic sources

This metric provides insights into where your viewers are coming from. The “traffic sources” report details the sites and YouTube-specific features that viewers are using to access your content. You might discover that viewers are finding your content through YouTube Search, or perhaps they’re seeing your video appear as a “Suggested Video” thumbnail.

Understanding how people end up on your YouTube channel will help you shape your video marketing strategy. If you notice that people are arriving at your video through Google, consider hosting that video on your own site, so your business (and not YouTube) ranks on search pages.

Monitoring respective KPIs leads to success on every platform

As you can see, each of the available distribution channels has its own set of video KPIs and considerations. Understanding how your videos are performing across the web is crucial to the success and relevance of your video marketing efforts, especially when every platform has its own vernacular associated with video reporting.

When it comes to analyzing the performance of your videos across different platforms and channels, not all KPIs are the same, nor should they be treated equally. By staying on top of what works best for each channel and iterating based on the right KPIs you report on to your team, you’ll be primed to excel on whichever video marketing platforms you choose.

June 24, 2021

Topic tags

Jenny Coppola

Creative

Meisha Bochicchio

Marketing

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