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In marketing, there are many instances in which the written word simply won’t cut it. For times like these, we often call upon video content to convey our intended message.

With 82% of B2B marketers experiencing success with video marketing initiatives, according to a recent report for demand metric, there’s certainly no denying the compelling nature of the play button.

However, when it comes to video, what does “success” really mean? And what metrics should marketers be keeping tabs on to determine the performance of a video?

Beyond views, which is arguably a vanity metric, there’s actually a lot more to be considered. We’ve defined a handful of metrics below that will help you uncover the true value of video marketing.

1) Play Rate

Play rate refers to the percentage of visitors that click play.

Why It Matters

If you send an email, and nobody opens it, did you really send an email?

The same notion reigns true when it comes to video play rate. If you have a video on your website that contains an super awesome message, but no one actually clicks play, no one will ever hear that super awesome message. Makes sense, right?

How to Improve Play Rate

Small considerations like thumbnail selection, size, and placement can affect your play rate. Experimenting with different variations of each could mean the difference between a viewer lost and a viewer earned.

When optimizing for these influential factors, keep the following tips in mind:

  • Use thumbnails with humans pictured. Snapshots that feature people are more intriguing than those without.
  • Keep your video width between 401 pixels and 600 pixels.  This size is ideal for grabbing the attention of your visitors without overwhelming a page.
  • Focus your efforts above the fold. Videos positioned above the fold see the highest play rate compared to those that fall just under.

2) Watch Rate

Watch rate, also known as engagement rate, refers to the percent of a video that a viewer actually watched.

Why It Matters

Viewers who enjoyed a video were 97% more likely to purchase the product featured in the video, according to findings by Decipher Research.

That’s valuable insight, but to reap the benefits, you need to make sure that people are actually watching your video. Clicking play is one thing, but for someone to truly enjoy a video, they must actually watch it, right?

Consider this: YouTube updated its video discovery features to deliver a better experience for viewers back in 2012. As a result of the changes, the selection of suggested videos are now based on watch time, rather than views. The goal of this change was to ensure viewers were presented with videos that kept previous viewers engaged.

So while many marketers feel inclined to stress over video views, watch rate is actually much more meaningful.

How to Improve Watch Rate

There are a handful of reasons why your visitors might not be watching your video all the way through. To help improve the odds that people actually watch your video, try these tips:

  • Align video content with page context. If your video is about SEO services, but it lives on a page that focuses on social media best practices, viewers might not see the connection, and in turn, they might stop watching. To improve your watch rate, take a minute to reevaluate the context of the video as it relates to the content on the page.
  • Provide multi-language narration. According to Reelseo, viewers that are presented with videos in their native language watch longer and have a lower drop-off rate. If your goal is to appeal to a global market, consider translating your video content into several different languages or offer different variations with subtitles.
  • Leverage a heat map. Video hosting platform Wistia offers video heatmaps that uncover where individual viewers rewatch, skip ahead, and play through your video. Marketers can use this insight to identify confusing areas, rework them accordingly, and ultimately, decrease drop-off.

3) Conversion Rate

Whether it’s subscribing to your video updates or setting up a call with one of your sales representatives, conversions refer to the percentage of people that complete an intended action. 

Why It Matters

Conversions are a necessary step in winning real business.

To prove the effectiveness of video content, it’s important to keep tabs on the number of leads each video generates. Once you have this information, you’ll can tailor your future video format or content focus to drive action.

How to Improve Conversion Rate

If you’re not including a clear, compelling CTA at the end of your video, you’re missing out on a huge lead generation opportunity.

When selecting the best possible CTA for your video, keep the following tips in mind:

  • Focus on alignment. Make sure that the offer you serve up is relevant to the video they just watched. For example, if the video detailed the importance of business blogging, a link to an ebook on business blogging best practices would be a good fit.
  • Use actionable language. To help move viewers from where they are to where you want them to be, use action verbs such as start, stop, build, join, learn, and discover.
  • Keep it simple. According to CrazyEgg, any call-to-action that includes more than 10 or 15 words is probably too long. Get to the point (and get to it fast).

4) Social Shares

Social shares refer to the number of times your video is shared on any given social network. 

Why It Matters

Think about the last time you made a big purchase.

Before you took the plunge, you probably did some research. Maybe you asked your friends, read reviews online, or talked to your one of your co-workers.

When it comes time to make a purchasing decision, 92% of consumers believe recommendations from friends and family over all other forms of advertising, according to Nielsen.

Social media shares serve as the equivalent to face-to-face recommendations. In other words, if your video is being shared by many, you’ve gotten a positive endorsement for your brand.

How to Improve Video Social Sharing

Rather than sit and wait for social shares to come to you, take a look at the following tips to increase shareability:

  • Make sure your video is share-friendly. No matter which video hosting platform you use, be sure that the social share buttons are highly visible and easy to access.
  • Ask. If you really want people to share your video, ask them. Encouraging people to share the video on social if they find it valuable can be done in the intro or close of your video. 
  • Open up a discussion. At the end of the video, prompt your viewers with a discussion question, and ask them to follow up on Twitter or your preferred social platform using a hashtag.