By Jonathan Stefansky
Facebook recently announced a 100% viewability guarantee and a deal with Moat to verify its video views and length of video view. However, a guaranteed “view,” whether it be three seconds, ten seconds or even all of them, doesn’t matter. The video view is a metric that marketers need to de-prioritize. With Facebook and Twitter continuing to redefine the view and creating alternate measurements, we shouldn’t be using their business models to gauge campaign results. In other words, their metric for charging customers shouldn’t be marketers’ metrics for defining online video campaign success.
By doing so, we are simply moving the goal post. If three seconds is not enough, let’s go with ten. If not ten, let’s say fifteen. Maybe sixteen and a half?
The actual length of time a viewer has the video playing becomes meaningless if that viewer is not engaged. For all you know, the person may have simply parked himself on a site for an extra X seconds and is checking his phone, and then clicks away from the video. His ten second view, or even completed view, doesn’t count.
Our goal as marketers is to drive viewer engagement, and focusing on view rate or completed views misses the point. We need to be tracking metrics that can be tied back to true campaign ROI.
How do we measure video success?
If our goal is to drive viewer engagement, we need to start tracking the proper metrics. To illustrate, let’s say Oracle runs a video campaign to promote a new product. The video campaign is likely one of many tactics Oracle is using to promote the program and once it, along with the others, are over, Oracle will tally the video views to see the number of viewers they got.
What does this number demonstrate? If comparative data is available, then Oracle may be able to determine increased or decreased viewership. Oracle may also compare views to existing benchmarks. However, all these numbers don’t exactly help Oracle to determine if the video campaign in fact drove engagement and contributed to increased user interest or, more importantly, qualified leads and sales.
By adding calls to action that are tied to campaign goals, we can drive real, tangible viewer engagement. At the same time, tracking more meaningful engagements metrics will provide us with key insights into what is really happening with our videos and allow for effective campaign optimization.
Here are three examples of key video engagement metrics you should be tracking:
- Time when Actions Occur: This metric indicates the specific time in the video when a viewer took an action. For example, when a viewer dropped off (i.e., at the 7 second mark) or when a viewer clicked, etc. By keeping track of when viewers are taking action during the video, we gain insight into what messaging is working, which helps with future video content creation, strategy and planning.
- Engagement by Device & Distribution: By tracking and breaking down what actions users are taking by both device type and distribution network, calls to action can be tailored to specific users. In other words, viewers on Facebook via an iPhone may exhibit different behaviors than iPad viewers. Or mobile in-app viewers may behave differently than mobile browser viewers. These insights allow us to create highly effective customized creatives per user group.
- Tracking Multiple Calls to Action (CTA): Placing your call to action at different times and locations within the video player can have a massive effect on performance. For example, a resident CTA button may work better than a time-based one or, if a campaign has a high video completion rate, we may want to wait till the end of the video to prompt users to take action. No matter which way users choose to engage with video, we need to be able to track their engagement to position calls to action at the right time.
With the explosion of video marketing, we’re hearing it time and time again, online video is not TV and we should not be measuring video ads online in the same way we measure TV commercials. We need to continue educating our clients and pushing them away from focusing exclusively on video views or completed views. Video marketing experts should instead welcome the challenge of providing real meaningful metrics that are tied to business KPIs. By tracking the right metrics and focusing on creative optimizations, marketers can have their view and engagement too!
Jonathan Sefansky is the CEO and founder of Viewbix, a company specializing in providing customized branding, clickable links and interactive apps for videos. Previously, he served as the CEO of Qoof, a video commerce platform, and EVP of sales and marketing for IDT Global Services, a professional services firm and major call center that is a subsidiary of IDT Corporation. He has also held positions at Akamai Technologies and Goldman Sachs.