What are video marketing metrics and how do they work?

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Published Sep 26, 2017 | Written by Jeremy Knight
As with all of your inbound marketing activity, the impact and ROI for video is measurable. But with so much data knocking around, how do you process the information you have and paint a picture of success?

Video marketing metrics.

In order to conduct meaningful analysis of what is and isn’t working for your campaign, it’s important to understand the story behind how your stats are gathered.

Their interpretation isn't just a congratulatory game of numbers. In practice, metrics expose the way your content is being received, pinpoints audience concern and give you a precise idea of what will work for your content marketing.

Intelligent feedback improves your video marketing strategy, both in terms of sharing and promoting your current assets, and in terms of streamlining future production.

This post explores the importance of some of the most oft-sought video metrics and how they can be interpreted by inbound marketers. 


This metric shows the number of people who have stumbled upon your video. There are two kinds, paid and unpaid.

Reach certainly sounds like an important figure - especially considering the huge scope available at reasonable cost. And if you have already shelled out for paid amplification, you’ll be keen to see results.

But don’t be seduced by numbers; this metric is easily misread. Your video may have ‘reached’ high numbers of people, however, there is little clarity from this as to whether or not they consciously viewed or engaged with your content.

Reach only presents you with the potential sphere of influence.

This metric is most useful when moving between tactics. It provides you with a baseline for analysis and the bulk overview of your video’s capacity to inspire.

If you perform an A/B test on paid reach with conversions in mind you may not be surprised to find that the trick isn’t actually in reaching people - it’s in reaching the right people, at the right time, in the right way.

To achieve this, consider sharing your video directly with your target audience via email or social media. Get in touch with influencers in your field and see whether they would be willing to share. 

Pay close attention to buyer persona behaviour and make sure you put your video plays under the right nose.

Total views

What constitutes a ‘view’ differs across platforms. Here’s the criteria set by popular social networks:

  • Facebook: 3 seconds
  • Twitter: 3 seconds
  • Instagram: 3 seconds
  • Snapchat: Immediately upon opening
  • Youtube: 30 seconds
  • Periscope: Immediately upon pressing play, or after 3 seconds for autoplay
In all cases, the first 3-10 seconds determine fate. This is because 20-25% of viewers will watch less than 10 seconds. How much of your brand identity or core message are you able to convey in that time? 

You might argue that views are hard to measure success by because you ideally want more than 3 seconds of viewer’s time, but it’s a promising metric. Statistics show that first impressions are formed quickly.


That nod of approval feels good, positive feedback from your audience proves you’re on the right track. But don't sit back - recognise the motivation behind it.

Comment sections are handy for social listening.

Regular interaction with your viewer base helps you better understand who is showing an interest in your business.

Being helpful and vocal about your expertise in a field helps to boosts your standing as a thought leader and encourages people to connect with you.


As a digital marketer you’ll be familiar with this one. 

If you have lots of views and relatively few shares, your content simply isn’t resonating.

The scale of your video's social sharing is a go-to measurement for how appealing your video is, just be mindful that not everybody who shares your video will actually have watched it.

Shares are interesting from an optimisation point of view: they prove that gripping headlines, high image quality and concise description really does matter to video. 

Play Rate

The percentage of visitors that clicked play to watch your video shows several things: the strength of the copy and optimisation around your video, the allure of the topic itself, and whether or not the placement (or channel you are using) is suitable.

To increase the play rate, give your video a relevant and eye-catching thumbnail - a hero shot. Use keywords and succinct copy.

If it is in your power to do so, allow the content to breathe by increasing its size or creating white space around it. Consider the on-page placement and whether you are hosting it in the best place to get found.

Videos with broad topics tend to have high play rates, but popularity should be taken with a pinch of salt. Figures don't deliver much value if they are unlikely to convert.


Is the purpose of your video to drive action? 

Video is a strong weapon in your inbound marketing arsenal and can be used to direct visitors to specific landing pages, or to encourage them to interact with your business, opening up opportunities for them to move down the sales funnel.

If you have linked an offer, monitor the traffic your video has generated through CTA clicks.

Completion rates

This is the number of times a played video reaches completion.

Newsfeeds have limelight thieves at the ready - maintaining viewer attention can be a challenge. For this reason, completion rates sometimes appear alarmingly low.

It can be disheartening to witness your carefully made video abandoned mid-stream.

However, don’t fight the nature of your digital audience, instead, make video suited to fickle behaviour. Establish campaign messages and brand identity early on, treasure attention and, of course, use strong visual cues to keep viewers glued.

If you plan to include a CTA don't bank on viewers finding it nestled at the end.


Average percent watched and average view time are both examples of engagement metrics.

Average view rate is, I feel an honest indication of audience interest levels. View rate tells you how long people watched.

Studies by Google/Youtube found that when people watched 30 seconds or more of a video there were major improvements in behavioural and attitudinal trends: 45% higher consideration, 14% higher favourability & 19% higher purchase intent.

Take note of drop-off times. Not only will you learn what audiences enjoyed or disliked, you’ll gain an understanding of how much time and brainpower your personas are generally willing to afford you - and that provides good guidance for future scripts.

Quartiles, centrepoint, and completion are the most obvious goalposts to monitor. Average view time can be calculated as such: 

Total audience view time / Number of video starts

View time is useful for establishing whether viewers are scrubbing through to find something specific - as in a tutorial or Q&A  - and subsequently whether or not you have delivered the information they expected to find when they started watching, or whether they watch the content linearly, as you would a film. 

Video length

Length is cemented in the video production process and tends to remain unchanged. Nevertheless, I’m including it here because it merits attention from a marketing standpoint.

Video length should be assessed in conjunction with completion rate.

Are your videos the right length? When there’s disparity between length and completion rates, warning bells should ring.

Conversion rate

The happiest metric. When all is said and done, high conversion rates are the sign of a healthy video marketing project.

After investing in a sparkling new creative campaign, it’s natural to want to track the return of valueHopefully this post will help you do so with the video content marketing data you've aggregated.

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Published by Jeremy Knight September 26, 2017
Jeremy Knight