Beyond the number of views. What metrics count in video performance?


There are some topics in the digital marketing world that just keep getting dragged into the spotlight ad infinitum. “How to make a viral video”, “How to get the maximum engagement on social media” “How to get people to endorse my brand”, you get the point.

It’s pretty straightforward why these happen: because no one really knows.  When we are blindly trying to find our way out of such qualitative and seemingly random brain crunchers,  we look for the stable, hard facts. The objective view that can justify our efforts or shed light onto strategies that went off track, the quantitative metrics:  a number or a percentage that tells us if we’re a grand success or an embarrassing failure.

Business needs objectivity to perform.

How much is too much?

Thing is, we’ve just got so much data available that we now need to sort. Do you actually need to be tracking all possible metrics?  Are you going overboard and spending more resources on analysing the data than actually benefiting from the insights they can provide? What if you miss something really valuable because your ocean of data to start with was just simply too big?

All these questions become very valid at some point – the sooner the better – and it’s good to have some guidance on what are the metrics we should definitely, maybe, or certainly never be looking at.

We need to start getting smarter about the way we analyse video data.

Apples and pears

You want to blow up the Internet with a ground breaking solution, or glide into your 25th   Christmas sales smooth and strong? You can’t find a magic set of metrics that will work for every objective at all times.

Just as your video had a clear goal for being created, your metrics will need to be aligned to the objective as well.

Now, before we dive in let’s make this a bit more interactive. Rate the following 3 metrics according to their importance; we’ll have a run at this again at the end and see if anything changed.

  • Engagement
  • Views
  • Click through rates


Video metrics are only a fraction of the analytics that will determine the performance of your video. They fit into a larger digital strategy and so we’ve decided to give you an overview of metrics related to your video in phases: before, during and post viewing. If we want to be fancy this could be referred to as the consumer video journey, but we’ll let that one be up for grabs for now.

Pre-viewing metrics

  • Traffic flow referrals
  • Play rate

The consumer journey starts before your video. They have to arrive to your site or channel to view it, or they have to click on their social media wall to play it (autoplay still sounds like a good idea, anyone?). Maybe it was via an e-mail campaign, an immediate organic search result leading to your landing page or the outcome of hours spent surfing on YouTube.  Once they reached your video, we arrive to your first test:  do they actually play it?

During viewing metrics

  • Heat maps
  • Views
  • Hours watched
  • Completion rates
  • Retention rates
  • Device spread
  • Demographics

We’ve probably got the most metrics to pick from when it comes to the video analytics during video viewing (duh...). The base of course is views and hours watched, and then we can get it into more precise analytics like the completion or retention rates. Seeing where your audience lags off might be one of the most important ones, realising whether it’s a smooth slope or a sudden plunge can give quick and useful insight.A more sophisticated  form of video viewing behaviour are heat maps giving an overview not only of where the viewership drops en masse but even a per viewer breakdown of what part of the video is watched, re-watched or skipped.


The only other metrics here that would make our top 10 are audience metrics: justifying if all those views actually make sense: are you reaching your target, or is it completely off.

Post-viewing metrics

  • Click-through-rates
  • Conversion rates
  • Leads generated
  • Referrals of your landing page
  • Qualitative metrics (the tone of comments how the audience feels about what they saw)
  • Engagement (likes, comment, shares)

Their post-viewing activity is perhaps the most important part. After all, most objectives would not solely say: “We want consumers to view our video”. They would read more like “We want them to view the video and … browse around the website, order a demo, scroll through the online shop, reach out for a quote, sign up to a newsletter, register to an event, share it on social media, invite a friend…” or a million other actions. Measuring how your viewers behave after viewing your video are the key metrics that you need to be looking at.

They are the various engagements where your video has a shot to start generating business.

Now, it’s time to go back to our question at the beginning; just so you don’t’ have to scroll all the way up here are the 3 options:

  • Social shares
  • Views
  • Click through rates

What do you think?



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