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Why your video marketing metrics may be misleading you

Choosing metrics to measure the success of your marketing video or project can be difficult. Say your sales and marketing department set a goal for the year to increase sales by 5%. To achieve that, you budgeted to upgrade your sales assets, including new landing pages on your website, new email campaigns, and making a video. At the end of the year, sales are up 6%. Awesome! Goal achieved! Let's plan for next year – but hang on a second.

As your team reviewed the web traffic, social metrics, and video marketing metrics, your boss noticed that video you paid good money for has only 798 views on YouTube and 17 likes on Facebook. They suggest it didn't actually work, and maybe you shouldn't invest in a video next year.

Or maybe not. We all love metrics like YouTube views and Facebook likes because they're easy to see and understand. They are right in front of your face, and they're hard numbers. You can't argue with hard numbers.

Well I'm about to argue with your hard numbers. For a lot of B2B marketing videos, traditional video metrics like social views or likes are just not relevant when evaluating their sales enablement assets. What you need to do is determine which numbers matter, and which are just noise.  Use the questions below to help choose the best metrics for your video project.

Metric Question 1: Where do your prospects watch your video?

We have a long-term client that comes to us to make sales videos several times a year. But when you look at their YouTube page, some of the videos we made only have 242 views (actual example as of this writing). When we first noticed this, we wondered: Why does this brand continue to hire us if no one watches these videos?

The answer is surprisingly simple: This brand doesn't rely on YouTube to share the video. Their key prospects watch the videos live in meetings with sales reps. After the sales and marketing team delivered the videos to their sales reps, the reps downloaded the video and inserted it into sales presentations. A downloaded video has no view count. But what the sales reps knew was that showing those videos to potential clients helped them close more deals. The more they used the videos, the more business grew. They reported this back to the marketing team, who in turn worked with us to create more videos.

Looking at the meager YouTube views of those videos didn't tell the whole story.  If the marketing team simply looked at YouTube, they would have concluded that the videos were a failure. The only way to know if they worked was to communicate with the sales team and check the sales numbers. For this client, the metric that shows whether a video works is percentage of deals closed or a lower cost of acquisition.

You may be wondering why the company posts to YouTube at all. It does benefit the company to post those videos, even if that's not the main way they're watched. On YouTube, sales reps have easy access to email the video to a prospect in a follow-up. A potential new customer might find it on Google before even reaching out to a rep. YouTube allows the video to serve multiple purposes.

Metric Question 2: Where in the sales funnel do you use your video?

In the example above, our videos are used to close deals. When you use video to target prospects later in the sales funnel, traditional online metrics matter less.

When a prospect is earlier in the funnel, traditional online metrics matter more. Those customers are likely spending time researching their options and your company before reaching out. They're watching your video on a product landing page or clicking a link in an email campaign.

That embedded video on a product landing page will have view counts and analytics. You can use that information to gather important information about researchers of your product. What percentage of people on the landing page watch the video? Do they watch it all the way through or bounce after 8 seconds?

Remember, to get these benefits, you have to embed the video from a service like YouTube or Vimeo that provides view counts, rather than hosting the video on your website. You can gain valuable information from the analytics those services provide.

Metric Question 3:  How do your customers find your product?

Your sales and marketing team likely has existing data on the platforms that bring in the best ROI for your business. For some companies that's organic search, and for others it's social such as Facebook or YouTube. Before deciding on a metric for a video project, first look at where your traffic comes from. If you bring in a nice percentage of your qualified leads from Facebook, then Facebook's metrics should absolutely be used to evaluate the success or failure of your project.

But if your prospects aren't coming to you through Facebook, then why are you obsessively tracking likes and views? Focus your energies on what works for your business. That could be organic search, sponsored ads, or email campaigns — or a combination of entry points. A strategic distribution plan can help you determine where your video does the most good.

Metric Question 4: Did you put money behind the video?

If your customers do come to you through social channels, great! Let's talk about how to get customers to see your content. The days of social being a "free" advertising channel are mostly over. Facebook, among others, has made it a lot harder for companies to be seen natively in people's feeds since they started prioritizing real people. Great for seeing cute pictures of babies— not so great for brands.

When you post on your business's Facebook page and it only gets a handful of likes and no comments, Facebook's algorithm will de-prioritize that post to users. It won't even show at the top of the News Feed for people who like or follow your page. The bad news for brands is that we have to work twice as hard to get seen on Facebook now.

To get more people to see your posts, you need to focus on two things: getting real engagement and sponsored content. There are plenty of social media experts with tips on how to get more engagement on your page in general. When it comes to video, the first step is creating great content that people actually want to watch. The second step is budgeting for an ad buy for your chosen platform. If increasing video views on Facebook or LinkedIn is a metric you're tracking, you should be prepared to invest in an ad buy.

People love hard numbers. They help us make sense of the world around us. But when you dig into any number, the story gets more complicated. Ultimately, social metrics or YouTube view counts aren't giving you a clear answer on the success of your video assets. Before you judge the success or failure of your marketing efforts based on those metrics, talk to a strategist to help you determine what numbers you should be looking at and why.





Picture of Guy bauer, founder of umault

Guy has been making commercial videos for over 20 years and is the author of “Death to the Corporate Video: A Modern Approach that Works.” He started the agency in 2010 after a decade of working in TV, film and radio. He’s been losing hair and gaining weight ever since.

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