Analytics: Your Best Friend

May 10, 2017

Data, spreadsheets, charts and graphs may not be the coolest kids at the party, but like your best friend, they will always be there to back you up. When it comes to using video in your advocacy communications, you can always rely on analytics. Data from your efforts can tell you how your online video is performing and what you need to do to improve your distribution.

With online video and social media platforms, the average video self-publisher now has access to a dizzying array of metrics. Which ones should you pay attention to, and how do you set up your project to make sure you’re capturing all of that valuable data? Read on for an overview:

If reporting results and outcomes of your video project is important, make sure you set up your video with your evaluation in mind. For example, do you want to show your funder that this project helped people to take action to write their legislators, or attend an event, or sign up for a program? Make it easy for your audience to do that through your video, so that you can point to your video as a driving factor for this change. That means embedding a call to action into your video with a YouTube “card” (formerly annotations), conversion pixels, unique trackable links sent to partners and setting benchmarks for before and after your launch.

If your video project is aimed more at brand awareness, engaging with your current community or growing your base, then the analytics pages available in video and social platforms are where you want to be. But with all of the data out there, which ones should you focus on?

The answer is, it all depends on your goal for your video project.

Let’s say your goal is deeper engagement with your current audience. Then, you’d want to look at stats such as:

  • Likes, comments, shares and retweets, aggregated across the platforms that you’ve used to share and publish your video, including YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Be aware that each of these platforms has a different engagement rate – that is, people who are using it are more likely to like or share or comment based on how easy it is to use, the demographics of the audience using it and the nature of their networks (professional or personal).
  • Web traffic – At what rate is your audience clicking through to your website or social platforms as a result of your video? Your biggest fans are more likely to do this, whereas the average viewer will stop at watching the video. Did your video appeal to your fans?
  • Audience retention – YouTube’s “completion rate” stat shows you what percentage of your video most of your viewers saw. If a large portion of your audience stops after 2 seconds, that’s a problem. And technically, that doesn’t even count as a “view.” Sure, you want people to complete 100 percent of your video, but usually it’s just the video producers and their moms who get through the whole thing. If you have a low completion rate (below 30 percent), you’ll want to make sure you’re targeting the right people with this content, or think about editing it so that it’s more exciting, captures people’s attention in the beginning and piques their curiosity.

Let’s say your goal is to attract a new and diverse following. Then, you’d want to look at stats such as:

  • Audience demographics and geographics – Facebook and YouTube will break down the audience demographics and geographics for page/account, so you can see whether your new content and promotion of it resulted in reaching new groups in your target demographic or geographic groups.
  • New traffic sources – Your web administrator should have a handle on where your typical traffic sources come from. Post-video campaign, is there any traffic coming from a new and unexpected place? Maybe your video was embedded in a blog post, resulting in new audiences finding your content and your page.
  • New followers/subscribers – Video content can be a great way of getting your brand and organization in front of new people, and entice them to follow you for more content. Since this is a relatively high-engagement activity, you’ll see the fastest growth if you have a budget to push your content to larger groups of people – beyond your base – through the use of promoted Facebook posts, tweets and YouTube ads.

Those are just some of the ways that analytics should be a part of any effective distribution strategy. While analytics alone won’t make your video the most popular at the party, they will provide you with keen insights into the quality of your content, what your audience loves (and what’s just “meh”), and what they’re willing to do next once they’ve watched your video.

Do you have any questions on video metrics and setting your video campaign up for success? Write in the comments below or send us a tweet, @RMedia!

Sian Wu