Between stay-at-home orders and the manic Minnesota weather, I’ve found myself at home for the last four weeks looking for something, really anything, to occupy time. One can only take so many walks in a day. Naturally, I turn to YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Disney+ and all of the other video streaming sites for entertainment.
As a marketer, this makes me wonder what those streaming sites are seeing in their analytics. Obviously, views must be up by an unbelievable amount. But, what about engagement? How many people are completing the videos they start? Are they watching more? Unless it’s Tiger King, the answer is unknown (it’s impossible to look away from Tiger King). But those streaming sites aren’t the only ones that might have some fascinating new data to look at.
Social sites and YouTube provide a host of different metrics and analytics options. While each data point serves a purpose, there are a few key performance indicators (KPIs) that are more important to track to better understand your audience and improve content performance.
Video Analytics and Content Benchmarks
A recent study from video streaming site Vidyard established some useful benchmarks for video content:
- 52% of viewers watch a video all the way through
- 68% will watch the entire video if it’s less than 60 seconds
- 25% will finish a video if it’s more than 20 minutes
The same study found that the most common business-created videos are webinars, demos and social media videos, and are most likely to be published on websites, social media and YouTube.
Of course, these benchmarks will vary by audience, by industry, by the light of the silvery moon — basically, take them as a starting point and customize from there. Here’s the process we recommend.
Using Video Analytics to Optimize Your Video Content
1 — Use Demographics to Understand Your Audience
The first step to increasing content engagement and effectiveness is to gain a better understanding of your audience. To do that, it’s critical to monitor demographic data in your video analytics platform. Most will give you basic demographic data, like location, age, language and device use. Some will give you user interest data, income estimates and even company data.
Knowing this information helps you create more relevant content. For example, if you find that your audience primarily speaks English, but there is a growing subset of French speakers accessing your videos on mobile devices, you might want to consider adding French caption options for mobile users.
If you see an increase in viewers from a specific geographic area, you will want to look at the analytics for that region to determine what content is attracting the new audience and how they are engaging while they’re watching and immediately afterward.
2 — Use Awareness and Engagement Metrics to Understand Audience Demand
Understanding your audience is important at a strategic level, but understanding audience demand is tactical gold. Of course, this data will drive your go-forward strategy, but it will also help you improve performance right away by adjusting promotion tactics and featured content.
For example, if you see an uptick in video views week over week for a particular video, that indicates that the topic is becoming increasingly popular. To prove that, you will want to look at engagement metrics like watch time, clicks on your call to action (CTA), and subscribers gained or lost. If you see an uptick in views and a corresponding uptick in engagement, you’re going to want to feature that video more prominently. If you see an increase in negative engagement — a loss of subscribers — or if viewers are dropping off right away, that might indicate your video doesn’t quite match the intent for that topic.
This granular view of data can help you improve and optimize your existing content, create more strategic video content roadmaps, and provide viewers with content they want and need to make critical decisions later in the funnel.
3 — Audit Your Video Library for Optimization Opportunities
Following the best practices for whichever video hosting platform you’re using can result in increased video visibility and better user experience. A great first step is to optimize video titles, descriptions, and tags. Then you can organize your videos into different sections, playlists, or even channels to help the right audience find your content faster.
To determine your next steps, audit your existing video channels. Do you know at a glance what the video is about? Does the thumbnail image inspire a click? Does your channel, landing page or resource center adequately convey the type, purpose and content of your videos in a way that compels action?
If the answer is yes, go take a break. I recommend a few hours of Animal Crossing: New Horizons. It’s very soothing. But if the answer’s no, you’re not alone. And you do have the tools you need to create better video content. It’s all in your analytics.
As a quick disclaimer, if your videos are hosted on your website and you notice some odd user behavior patterns over the last month or so — increases in direct traffic, crazy long time on page — you might want to look into whether or not IPs are blocked for your team’s home IP addresses. Determine if the patterns are happening on a more global level, or if they’re localized to the geographic area surrounding your physical office.