May 17, 2018

Evaluating Your Video's Performance Across Multiple Channels

Jenny Mudarri

Creative

It may sound simple, but the hardest part of measuring your video's success is actually understanding what success looks like on a different platforms. In other words, you don't want to measure your videos in a vacuum. Because nearly every channel you share your video on has a different definition for metrics like "views" or "engagement," things can get confusing pretty fast.

As it turns out, video performance and key success indicators are more relative measures than you might think. How does a video shared on Facebook compare to a video embedded in a blog post on your site? We'll uncover those key differences—and many more—in this post.

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We're going to take you through all of the metrics available to you on each of these platforms, what those metrics mean, and which ones are the biggest indicators of success. After reading this post, you should walk away feeling confident in your understanding of your video's performance, wherever it may live online.

Don't have time to read this whole post right now? No problem. Download the Video Metric Glossary and start having more meaningful conversations with your teammates about your video's success.

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1. Website videos

From product pages to blog posts and help documentation, video can be used on practically every page of your company website. Whether you are looking for an added SEO boost, or just hoping to encourage visitors to spend more time on a certain page, using video across your website is a no-brainer. If you’re using Wistia to share video on your site, these are the marketing metrics you’ll want to look out for.

“Whether you are looking for an added SEO boost, or just hoping to encourage visitors to spend more time on a certain page, using video across your website is a no-brainer.”

Video metric definitions

  • 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 metrics matter most?

Average engagement: We love this metric because it goes beyond view count 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 of the platforms listed below measure engagement, Wistia gives you an idea of what your engagement looks like as a percentage:

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70% engagement? Not bad at all! We tend to look at this number to get an overall idea of whether or not our content is resonating with our audience, which is why we believe it's one of the most important metrics to keep your eye on.

Timeline Actions: What's a more straightforward indicator of success than a viewer taking action as a result of watching your video? If a viewer decides to click on an Annotation Link or a Call to Action, that's a pretty strong 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. For those reasons combined, the Timeline Actions people take on your video should be one of the first and most important metrics you monitor.

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Site metrics: Factors like bounce rate, time on page, and conversion stats can help you determine the success of your video in a way that posting videos to social media doesn’t. For example, did adding a video to a highly-trafficked page on your website influence visitors’ time on that page? Did you see any other improvements there? When you share a video on your website, it gives you more control over your data than on any other channel.

2. Facebook videos

What business doesn't share videos on Facebook these days? The opportunity to get in front of a new, targeted audience is much more likely here than on other channels, which is one reason sharing video on this platform is so enticing. Facebook provides an outlet for marketers to share fun, autoplay-friend videos that cater to leisurely browsing. Typically, it’s wise to create Facebook videos that engage or delight untapped audiences. Let's take a look at the metrics Facebook shares with business profiles.

“The opportunity to get in front of a new, targeted audience is much more likely on Facebook than on other channels.”

Video metric definitions

  • 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: Include people reached, post engagement, top audience, and top location

Which metrics matter most?

10-second views: While 10 seconds may seem pretty short, these types of views are a much more insightful metric to look at versus regular video views. Sure, it's tempting to just look at that video view number and call it a day. After all, it can feel pretty great to see your video skyrocket to hundreds of thousands of views. However, when a "view" could mean someone watching your content for 3 seconds, that overall number becomes pretty meaningless. If your viewer sticks around for at least 10 seconds, however, that's a bit more telling. Looking at the 10-second views relative to the overall views gives you a better idea of the quality of views you're receiving on your video.

Audience and engagement: Reactions are akin to pulse indicators on the success of your content. Comments measure how strongly your content resonates—did it spur some discussion? 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 sharing it on your own feed suggests a much higher level of engagement.

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What about Facebook Live?

We can't forget about live video! Here are the metrics Facebook currently 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 that this doesn't count live video sessions)
  • Audience and engagement: Include people reached, post engagement, top audience, and top location

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 can highlight 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, as well. Take a peek at the metrics that are available to business profiles on Instagram:

“Instagram videos can highlight the behind-the-scenes aspects of your business, allowing you to show off the people who make your business thrive.”

Video metric definitions

  • 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

Which metrics matter most?

Although the metrics on Instagram are less robust than on Facebook or your own website, they can still provide insight. Let's dig in.

  • Reach: The discoverability factor on Instagram makes reach one of the top metrics to keep track of. Unlike Facebook, Instagram's platform is much more catered to discoverability. The use of hashtags to spread the word about the posts you share, in addition to the Search and Explore pages, means marketers have more opportunities to get their videos in front of new eyes. An added bonus? You can also see the percentage of accounts that consumed your content yet aren't actually following you. By pairing this information with another metric like follower growth, you can see which content is driving viewers to follow your page. Neat stuff!

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What about Stories and Instagram Live?

As big fans of Instagram Stories ourselves, we weren’t about to leave them out of the video metrics fun. Here’s the data currently 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

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

4. LinkedIn videos

Now that native video is a built-in feature for business profiles, LinkedIn seems poised for greatness for video marketers. This channel still has plenty of untapped potential, especially for business video, so don’t be afraid to play around with it and see what works for your brand. You can promote an upcoming webinar, create a video series on an industry-related topic, or share a behind-the-scenes look at your company culture. Unfortunately, the only detailed analytics you can see at the moment for LinkedIn videos appear when you set them up as ad campaigns. So what are the metrics you should be on the lookout for, be they organic or paid?

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Video metric definitions

LinkedIn is one of the more confusing social platforms with regard to understanding your data. Whether you’re posting an update, article, or video, it can be tricky to decipher what means what. Hopefully, now that businesses are able to upload native video, LinkedIn will step up its game with regard to video metrics.

Organic LinkedIn videos:

  • Views: Number of times your video was viewed for at least 2 continuous seconds
  • Post metrics: Include impressions, clicks, social actions, and engagement

Paid LinkedIn videos:

  • Views: Number of times your video was viewed for at least 2 continuous seconds while the video is 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 number of views, multiplied by 100

Which metrics matter most?

  • Post metrics: For now, it’s safe to rely most heavily on post metrics when analyzing your videos on LinkedIn. Not only are post metrics what LinkedIn users have the most access to currently, but also they’re the most cut and dry. Plus, there's the fact that not everyone is using LinkedIn for paid efforts. Metrics like impressions, clicks, and engagement should give you 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. According to Twitter's own research, tweets with video generate nine times more engagement than basic text updates, so the incentive for marketers to jump on that bandwagon is clearly there. And like Instagram, Twitter is perfect for businesses wanting to shine a light on the more personal, even humorous side of their brand. It’s just another reason why video is the perfect match for this social media behemoth. Check out the significant metrics for when it comes time to implement your video marketing strategy on Twitter.

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

Video metric definitions

  • 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

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Which metrics 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, so start hypothesizing!
  • Calls to action clicks: Unlike Facebook and Instagram, Twitter is still a go-to platform for promoting content that lives outside the site itself. Teaser videos accompanied by a call to action can be an effective tool for marketers who want to incorporate video into their promotion tactics. 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, then track how many people click through.

6. YouTube videos

Last but not least, let's talk about the video giant that is YouTube. In case you weren’t already convinced that YouTube is the go-to video sharing channel, it happens to be the world's biggest video platform and the second largest search engine in the world, with 1 billion users per month. Sounds both impressive and intimidating, right? Chances are you're already using YouTube in some capacity to market your business (and hopefully in a strategic way!). It makes sense that a video platform like YouTube boasts one of the more comprehensive video data glossaries on this list, so let's take a look at which metrics they offer.

Video metric definitions

  • Watch time: Estimated total viewing time of your content
  • Views: YouTube is vague about this, but the generally accepted number for watch time to count as a view is a full 30 seconds
  • Average view duration: Estimated average minutes watched per view
  • Engagement metrics: Include 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

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  • Subscribers: Total number of subscribers, accounting for the change 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: Include age, gender, and geography
  • Traffic sources: The various means through which viewers found your video
  • Playback locations: The page or site the video was viewed on

Which metrics matter most?

  • Watch time: For marketers who are invested in cultivating a significant presence on YouTube, watch time is particularly important. 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 rank better in search results, so you'll want to keep an eye on the “Watch time report” in your dashboard if one of your goals is to rank for a certain channel or topic on YouTube. Watch time is 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 your chances of getting your videos seen.
“The more time people spend watching your content, the better your chances of getting your videos seen.”
  • Traffic sources: This metric provides insights into where your viewers are coming from. The "Traffic sources for views" report details the sites and YouTube-specific features your 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 could help inform your video marketing strategy. Here’s why: If you notice that people are arriving at your video through Google search, you might want to consider hosting that video on your own site, so that your business (and not YouTube) benefits from those SEO powers.

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Context is everything

Ultimately, there's a time and a place to share videos on your website or on one of the many social media platforms that exist today. Qualitative data can help you make more informed decisions about where to invest time and resources to get the biggest bang for your buck—and video is no exception. But actually understanding how your videos are performing across the web is crucial to the success 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 metrics 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 metrics you report to your team, you’ll be primed to conquer whatever video marketing platform you decide to take on.

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