Measuring Video ROI

Even though there is no hard and fast rule, there are still certain things you can do to measure the effectiveness of online video marketing. It’s important to identify the correct methods for measuring ROI to track digital success for your business, otherwise there are way too many statistics to consider which might not present a clear picture. Once you have a clear objective, you will know exactly which criteria you can use to measure the success of the campaign.

So think about what’s the most important thing for you – the video exposure, the actual number of people who watch the video, or how long they are watching it for?

You might even have some other objectives, such as limiting costs by seconds the video is watched, or ascertaining the actions the viewer takes having watched the video?

As a video marketer, you are mostly looking to generate interaction and engagement with your audience. As such, you might be even measuring viewer engagement through ‘likes’ and ‘shares’.

These days, almost every video streaming platform provides plenty of statistical data you can use to evaluate the performance of your campaign. Let’s take a quick look at some of these fields to understand them better.

Views: How many people are you reaching?

When your main objective is to ‘increase awareness’, you can easily track it with View Metrics to see whether you are reaching the intended number of people. You should, however, realise that it will be very difficult for you to track any kind of return on investment for your time.

Number of views: Track your organic and shared views first.

The simple view count you see in bold, is the typical metrics measuring starter. You can look further into them according to the type of view sources: Paid Views (Video PPC campaigns), Organic Views and Referral Views (from social sharing)

Even though paid views are often not the ones we are looking for, they are a good start to encourage organic and referral views. Would you rather eat in an empty restaurant or in a busy one? Similarly, a video with thousands of views is always more tempting to watch than a video with just 10 views.

The only setback with PPC views is that very often the paid viewers are not as engaged with your video content as viewers who autonomously and actively set out to search for such content.

Play Rate versus Play-through Rate:

You should understand that not all viewers are watching every YouTube ad to the end. Marketers often make the mistake of confusing ‘views’ with ‘completed views’.

While YouTube doesn’t publicise how much of a video someone has to watch for it to count as a view, experts agree that it’s often just a few seconds.

The ‘number of minutes watched’ lets you know how people are interacting with your video. Where do they drop? Are they watching any part twice? This will help you in understanding the impact of the video and how you could improve it.

The ‘Play Rate’ measures how many people actually watch the video once it’s loaded. You can use it to figure out if your ad is positioned well, and whether the still image that introduces it is compelling. The ‘Play-through Rate’ (or Watch/View Time) measures the average length of time a viewer watches it before clicking away.

Recent studies show about half of the audience stops watching these ads after about 15 seconds, which should be an impetus to turn traditional TV-style thinking on its head and put your branding up front!


When you are scripting and filming your video, you are always thinking about a specific audience you want to appeal to and draw in. Demographic dimensions will help you understand if you have succeeded in reaching your intended audience or give you more insight to improve on it. Sometimes, you might even get your new ideas for business development right here!

Unfortunately though, demographics are not available with every platform’s players, but if you are tracking events on your website (such as watching a video) you can cross reference info and get demographic results.

Engagement: Are you getting people interested?

If your objective is to measure people interested in your video, then you should follow the social metrics.

Number of comments: Count how many people have posted a ‘comment’ or clicked ‘like’.

Number of times your video was shared: Measure how many times your information (video) was passed on. Based on ZoomTilt research, a quality share rate for social video is approximately 0.25%-0.50% direct shares (from the player or player-embedded page, excluding re-shares from social networks) as a percentage of total content views. In most cases, even smash-hit digital video ad campaigns only see circa 2.5% direct share rates.

Online mentions: See whether people (other than your staff members) are posting the video as a link or embedding it somewhere.

Number of subscribers for your channel or newsletter – When you are asking for submissions, you should count the number of entries you receive as a measure of how successful your campaign was in getting people involved

Conversions: Does your video create actual results?

Conversion is a very fundamental thing you can use to measure and understand the actual effectiveness of your communication. With it you can measure actual, tangible outcomes for your business, like:

  • Item purchases – Did they buy anything?
  • Registrations – Did they register for your program/newsletter?
  • Contact forms – Are they interested in creating a relationship with your organisation?


It’s really not important to track every possible metric for every possible video because this information will only be useful if you’re able to improve your videos based on what you learn. Instead, pick a few measures you think are important for your campaign that you are able to comfortably track with the tools at your disposal. Once you get acquainted with working with this data and tweaking your video marketing strategy, then you can start utilising a few more key metrics to fill the gaps in your knowledge.

You can even try using A/B testing to refine your videos. For example, which type of player is better? Would a shorter video would have a better impact? Would a presenter be more engaging than graphics with a voice over?

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