How to Measure Video Performance
Almost as soon as you post a video on YouTube or any other site, you will begin to check the number of likes and views you are getting. But are likes and views a real metric of measuring the performance of the video? How can you determine if the video retained viewers throughout the video or if they stopped watching at some point in the course of the video?
One of the most effective ways to learn how viewers interact with your video is to use engagement graph. These graphs are very popular in digital marketing because they can give you a very clear picture of how your videos are performing. But you don't need to have a marketing strategy or use ads to measure how they are performing.
In fact, many online video sharing sites including YouTube and Vimeo have engagement graphs. These graphs provide a lot of information that can help you determine the percentage of viewers who watched the video throughout the end. But these graphs often have different names. For example, look for “Audience Retention” on YouTube.
The Anatomy of a Video
In order to get a clear picture of the performance of your videos by analyzing engagement graphs, it is important to take a look at the various parts of the video. These include the following;
- The Nose : The beginning of the video is often referred to as the nose. It is the section of the video that contains the title and introduction of the video. In engagement graphs, it is very common to see a quick drop in engagement within the first 3-5 seconds of the video. If you do see a drop, it often means that the video is not what the viewer was looking for and they stopped watching as soon as the title appeared.
- The Body: As you can probably guess, the body is the main content of the video and often appears just after the introduction and just before the conclusion. Under normal circumstances, the engagement graph will remain flat in this section, indicating that the viewers were engaged throughout the video. But it is also not uncommon to see a slow, steady decline as some viewers naturally drop off as the video concludes.
- The Tail: This is the outro section of the video and often includes the conclusion. At this point, the graph will show a significant drop in the engagement as the viewers stop watching. Most viewers will stop watching a video once its content has addressed the problem that led them to watch the video in the first place.
How to Analyze the Engagement Graph
There are a lot of trends that you can look at when analyzing the graphs to get a clear picture of how your videos are performing. The following are some of the questions to ask when analyzing the graph;
- How Can You Tell if Engagement is High?
When a video has a high engagement, you will see a slight drop in the first 3-5 seconds, followed by a steady horizontal line as the viewer gets to the body and a steep drop off at the end.
A graph like this indicates that the video has indeed lost some viewers at the beginning of the video (viewers who don’t think they can benefit from the content), those who stayed remained engaged and began to stop watching towards the end. This is what an ideal engagement graph should look like.
- What will an unexpected drop-off look like?
But we all know that not all videos will have the level of engagement described above. Sometimes, you may see the slight drop off at the beginning, the straight line in the body of the video and then a significant drop-off in the graph before the tail of the video.
A video with an engagement graph like this one may have had a script problem. The audience may have though the video was coming to an end and stopped watching when there was still some content left to be disseminated.
This can also happen when there is a call to action in the middle of the video and viewers may stop watching the video to click on the call to action. This is why it is necessary to test the position of the call to action buttons you use in order to avoid losing engagement.
- Why Viewers leaving quickly?
It is also possible for viewers to lose interest in a video at the nose. This engagement graph would show a significant drop at the beginning of the video that continues into the body. This can mean that the introduction may have gone on for too long and the viewers may have lost patience.
For example, when creating a video about how to bake a chocolate cake, but you spend too much time talking about your qualifications as a baker rather than the actual steps to bake the cake. Most of your viewers will stop watching because they selected the video to learn how to bake the cake and may not care who is teaching them to do it.
How to Measure Engagement
Even if you think that measuring the engagement of the videos you post online is difficult, it is still necessary to do it or you will have no way to improve your results. Before taking a look at any engagement graphs, it is a good idea to first identify what you are looking for.
The following are some of the questions that we find helpful when measuring the engagement of a video;
- Which videos have a high or low performing nose?
- Which videos have a high or low performing body?
- Which videos have a high or low performing tail?
- Is there a correlation between the length of the video and the engagement level?
Determining the Overall Performance of the Video
Most of the popular video hosting sites will show you the overall engagement or audience retention percentage of a given video. For example, Wistia determines the engagement by taking the total number of hours watched, dividing it by the number of times the video is played and multiplied by the length of the video.
This information, you can easily determine the success rate of a given video and you can take the necessary steps to optimize the video for more engagement.
Does Video Length Affect the Average Engagement?
With the data that the video hosting site gives you, you can determine of the length of the video can affect engagement. It is our experience that the longer the video is, the more likely it is that the engagement will drop.
But we must point out that the most telling factor when it comes to engagement is often the content itself. As long as the content is beneficial to the audience, interesting and highly engaging, it is unlikely that engagement will drop.
Using the data to Improve Your Video
The main purpose of collecting any kind of data is so you can use it to improve the engagement your videos can get. The data may also be beneficial in identifying the videos that simply don’t work so you can either overhaul or remove them.
Once you have determined that engagement is dropping off at a certain point during the video, the following are some of the things we recommend you do;
- The first thing you can do is re-edit the video to remove some of the areas that may be causing it to lag. For example, if the body of the video is tool long, you can remove some of the content.
- You can also choose to change the intro or the outro of the video. Changing the intro may be beneficial if you think that you are losing people who might benefit from the body.
- Since the viewer may have to stop watching the video to click on a call-to-action button, it may be beneficial to change the location of the call to action. It may be a good idea to place it towards the end of the article when the viewer has already gotten the content.
- If you need to, change the script to make sure that the main content takes up the majority of the video.
Once you have made all the necessary changes to the video, you should revisit the engagement graph again to determine how the changes have affected engagement. A/B testing is also one of the best ways you can find out which elements of the video can be removed for engagement purposes. Lastly, make your videos as interesting and informative as you can, ensuring that you are meeting your audience’s needs and the performance of your videos will significantly improve.