• It's Time to Measure the Real Value of Online Video

    With the ongoing dialogue surrounding measurement, brands are eager to embrace any metric that can help evaluate video content in today’s digital world.  

    However, most marketers are still using the number of video views as a key performance indicator to assess video initiatives – a method of measurement that is severely flawed.  Video views in a vacuum – or alone – are not only misleading but also potentially damaging when it conceals poorly performing content and drives wrong investment decisions.

    As an industry, it is important that we migrate to better, more meaningful video content metrics with set benchmarks and clearer performance indicators.  With online video continuing to grow, the web will become increasingly visual and it will be more vital than ever for brands to master this measurement process.

    Online videos often bolster viewers’ perceptions of brands.  In fact, 71 percent of consumers feel that videos leave positive impressions of a company and 58 percent consider companies that produce video content to be more trustworthy, according to a recent study by Animoto as reported by Marketing Charts.

    Now, this isn’t about taking a TV commercial and putting it online.  The online videos we are referring to might consist of product storytelling or how-to videos, and aid in knowledge sharing or the brand-building process.  They are effective at shaping opinions and leading call-to-actions and eventually driving more e-commerce.  Unlike TV commercials, these are longer forms of video content containing more complex messages and detailed insights.

    Online video consumption, beyond TV commercials, will undoubtedly shape online experiences in the future.  Videos that are two to three minutes in length are going to be at the forefront of an upcoming video evolution.

    According to Animoto, nearly three out of four consumers (73 percent) are more likely to make a purchase after watching an online video that explains the product or service.  Walker Sands’ 2014 Future of Retail Study found that more than half of consumers (53 percent) have had at least one purchase influenced by YouTube videos.

    We are moving into an era where video content will play a much greater role in e-commerce and be more accountable to marketers when it comes to ROI.  However, to successfully deliver in this video-driven world, we need to precisely define what we are benchmarking against and understand why new metrics are necessary for achieving our marketing goals.

    Setting Measurement Standards

    A YouTube video that generates 10,000 views may not necessarily worth as much as it sounds.  A video that has a total of 1,000 views could actually be more valuable if its audience watched the video in its entirety, subscribed to the YouTube channel, shared it on social media or made a purchase.  

    Measuring video engagement is not a single number or dimension.  It is a weighted relationship between multiple factors and attributes that make the content more valuable in the context of what we are trying to achieve.  

    The three main objectives to assess video content ought to be the following:

    1.    Increase exposure
    2.    Solicit action
    3.    Drive social interaction

    The advertising industry should benchmark and track video content in the context of these factors – and some marketers are already investing in these areas.  According to a recent report by Ascend2, marketers count brand awareness (47 percent), lead generation (40 percent) and online engagement (40 percent) as their most important video marketing objectives for the year ahead.

    When we evaluate video content through the lens of these three objectives – exposure, action and social interaction – we see a more holistic picture of video content performance.  With established measurement standards for video content engagement, it becomes apparent that relying on the lump sum of video views alone is not only inadequate, but also extremely limiting.

    Future of Video

    Within the next three years, online video content will be at the forefront of brand building and sales generation with strategy and funding decisions grounded in quantifiable benchmarks.  Video content will play a much greater role in e-commerce and be more accountable to marketers when it comes to ROI.

    The marketing community cannot yet comprehend the amount of change the video revolution will bring upon businesses.  Marketers will need to re-think their overall video content and distribution strategy, and alter their video measurement and benchmark methodologies accordingly.  

    The race to online video content migration is only starting.  Those with true insights into their brand’s objectives, along with benchmarking, tracking and optimizing structures in place will be one step ahead.