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5 Key Video Metrics Every Videographer Should Care About

Nicolai Yakimchuk

Take note of these 5 key online video metrics that videographers should care about to understand reach, engagement and impact of their videos.

Whether it’s on YouTube, Vimeo or a website, publishing videos online gives access to various data that analytics tools collect for us. Unfortunately, the data often remains unclaimed. Why so? The reason is videographers, vloggers, and video publishers may not know what key metrics to focus on and how to extract useful insights. To initiate you to the world of video analytics, we’ve listed these 5 key metrics that will help you analyze the performance of your online videos.

You can use these online video metrics individually. The best advice, though, is to use the below metrics in a context. In other words, look at the results within a period of time, compare them to a previous period, or compare them to your competition (if you have access to competition data).

To make our story more visual and practical, we are using the YouTube video analytics terminology in this post.

Video Views

Video Analytics

Video views is the basic metric to use for all your videos or your online video channel. We hear sighs and exclamations “Come on! Everyone knows that!” Bear with me and read on….

Well, a view is not as simple as it looks. You probably believe that a view is a complete viewing of an online video from its start to its end. That is not true, though.

Try finding a clear definition what a video view on YouTube is. Unfortunately, you will hit a wall: YouTube does not provide any detailed explanation what counts as a view.

The analytics community believes that the number of views on YouTube, for instance, is actually equal to the number of clicks on ‘Play’ on the video. But it’s not all… as YouTube wants to avoid any fraudulent activity, it has its own way of counting. So, the first 300 views (a.k.a clicks on Play) are counted without any restriction. After the video reaches 300 views, the YouTube anti-fraud algorithm kicks in. It will filter out any suspicious and repetitive attempts to inflate the number of views. The algorithm will get as far as to the computer-IP level.

If we remove the above technical details, we can assume that a view on YouTube is a click on Play coming from a unique visitor. By the way, Vimeo has a similar approach to counting video views.

One more small detail: YouTube is known to count views differently for videos embedded on third-party sites. It is not clear if views on embedded videos are equal to views on YouTube.

Views give us an understanding about the reach of our videos and our video channel. However this metric alone does not give us a well-rounded image whether the videos are engaging and impactful. We need more engagement metrics to add to our list.

Audience Retention

Video Metrics Retention

Who do you value more: users who just click on Play or users who click and watch your videos throughout?

It’s a no-brainer: people who find our videos engaging and interesting enough to watch to the end are more valuable. Such people constitute our audience, and we want to continue catering to them.

Audience retention is another metric that will come in handy. Audience Retention consists of two components:  View Duration, which helps you calculate the Percentage Viewed.

Let me explain. You have a 7-minute video tutorial on YouTube. The average view duration is 3 minutes and 50 seconds, which represents 55% (percentage viewed).

Now let’s put these results into a context:

  1. You can compare the audience retention on a video in different geographies.
  2. You can compare the audience retention on a video by date.
  3. You can compare the audience retention on a video with other videos.

These comparisons will immediately tell you how your video does in different geographies and on different dates. You will also be able to see how well the video fares compared to your other videos.

With this information you can now start creating assumptions and conclusions. Say, Video A has a higher Percentage Viewed and longer View Duration compared to Video B and Video C. Is it because of X, Y and Z? Yes, probably because of Z. How can I use the same effect in my new video?

Or, viewers from a particular geography that is most important to me tend to drop off after only 2 minutes of viewing. Do we need to edit the video to overhaul this negative experience?

Share Rate

video metrics share rate

Optimizing and promoting online videos is what you can and should do. Viewers decide for themselves how good and, more than that, how impactful, your video is. You can measure the impact through the number of shares. Shares on social media and embeds would be the best counts in this respect.

The Share Rate, which is a ratio between the total numbers of shares vs. the total number of views, is a good metric to compare your videos. The Share Rate will also tell which of your videos are perceived as more valuable.

An increasing share rate on your videos (along with the increasing number of views) is a definite sign you are doing a better job with each new video project.

We promised 5 key online video metrics. The 3 above-mentioned metrics can be easily obtained in the analytics of your video-hosting platform (YouTube, Vimeo, Daily Motion, etc.). The other 2 metrics will be retrieved in your on-site analytics tool (Google Analytics, for example).

A great majority of videos are uploaded to, say, YouTube just for hosting purposes. The video is then embedded in a webpage to serve as a piece of content on the page. The two remaining metrics in our list help measure the effectiveness of the video on a webpage.

Bounce Rate and Time on Page

You probably heard about such metrics as Bounce Rate and Time on Page. If your video is embedded in a page and you want to measure the video’s performance, it’s important to understand what these metrics mean.

Bounce Rate is a percentage of users who come to a web page and leave it without browsing to any other page on this web site.

Time on Page is the duration that users who did not bounce and spent time on the page. The important part of the definition is “… users who did not bounce off… “.

If a page with a video had 100 visitors last week and had a 99% bounce rate and 10 minute time on page, it’s right to presume that only 1 visitor stayed on the page for 10 minutes before going to another page on the site.

Even though they are not as straightforward as they sound, Bounce Rate and Time on Page help understand if the overall performance of the landing page is good. A high bounce rate (over 60%) coupled with a low time on page (especially, if your video is several minute long) are indicators that things need to be changed.

Understanding how Bounce Rate and Time on Page work helps you see the importance of tracking user behaviour within the page. This comes with Clickthrough and View Rates (see below).

Video Clickthrough & View Rates

Video Clickthrough Rate (CTR) and Video View Rate are great metrics to help you understand how the video does on a landing page. Video CTR is a ratio of total clicks on Play vs. the total number of pageviews. View Rate is a ratio of completed video views vs. total number of pageviews.

Your web analytics can easily show the number of pageviews on your landing page. As for the clicks on the video and completed views, you will need to integrate “event tracking”.

In a nutshell, “events” are those actions on a web page that you would like to track additionally (clicks, downloads, views). To track them, you will need to integrate a javascript on the respective elements following the instructions for your web analytics tool. For example, if you use Google Analytics, this guide about event tracking will be helpful.

Event tracking can be used to track clicks on Play. It can be also used to trigger events after a specific period of time: 30 seconds of viewing, 2 minutes of viewing, the completion of the video, etc.

Once these triggers are added to the video, it will be possible to track:

  1. Video CTR: how many of those who land on the page start watching the video;
  2. Video View Rate: how many of those who landed on the page view the video to the end.

These on-page video engagement metrics should give you some base for questions like:

  • Is my video located in a good place on the page?
  • Are the embed dimensions big enough for the video to be visible?
  • Is the thumbnail in the video engaging and attractive?
  • Does the content (text, images) around the video match the content of the video?

As a conclusion, data analysis may seem like an overwhelming activity only when you look at too much data simultaneously. To be better at analyzing the performance of your online videos I recommend focusing on a relatively small number of key metrics that can provide insight about your video’s width (reach) and depth (engagement) paired with impact (sharing).

Focus on behavioural metrics like click and video rates brings additional benefits in your analysis on your video’s impact in a localized content (a web page).

You can also check these articles about optimizing and promoting your videos on YouTube:

Got other ideas for measuring the performance of online videos? Share in the comments below.