Video recording via a cellphone

It’s official! Video marketing has become an integral part of our lives, with no signs of its almost exponential growth slowing anytime soon.

The statistics from Wyzowl (2018) prove it:Video Marketing Stats

While these statistics were captured in the United States, the trends are a strong pointer to the worldwide growth of video marketing. From 5 million active internet users in 2010, South African usage has burgeoned to well over 30 million, accounting for over 54% of the population. The Google Connected Consumer Study has reported that 65% of South Africans over the age of 16 are now online. However, statistics are like a bikini, what they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital.

Return on Investment: The Magic Metric

While the statistics point to growth across most metrics, it is interesting that the only negative growth was recorded with regards to reported ROI. This highlights the importance of developing methods to calculate ROI. After all, you cannot improve what you can’t measure.

You cannot set out to measure ROI without breaking down its specific components in relation to desired outcomes. For example, how do you calculate the value of general brand exposure? How do you track sales directly or indirectly, resulting from a particular project? How long will it take to cover production costs, or do ancillary benefits (such as awards or prizes) outweigh any shortfalls that may occur?

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These questions will always vary on a project-to-project basis. There are, however, measurable indicators that every video marketing project should be paying close attention to. First, determine the goals of your video marketing project or campaign, then choose the correct target audience and, finally, understand how you’re going to quantify and measure your key metrics.

Measuring Engagement

Video engagement is a crucial metric for understanding how people are responding to and interacting with, your video content. Regardless of the number of ‘clicks’, unless your audience is prepared to watch past the thirty-second mark, its reach will be limited. This is especially true when platform algorithms (e.g. Facebook or YouTube) limit the organic reach of content that does not perform well in the following areas.

Watch Time (Retention)

Watch time refers to how much time people spend watching your video (also known as retention). It provides valuable information as to where viewers are dropping off. If you have vital information, for example towards the end of your video, but are unable to retain their attention until they get to that point, there is little chance that the goals of your video will be achieved. Watch time is very useful in analysing your production, especially when able to identify ‘dull spots’. Video marketing is highly competitive and you need to ensure that a compelling story is told with eye-catching visuals.

Play Rate

According to YouTube, “Play rate is a ratio that calculates the number of plays your video receives divided by its impressions (the number of times your video is shown).”

In other words, how many viewers, who saw the first few seconds, decided to continue watching? The play rate can indicate the relevance of your video to the interests of your viewers. If this rate is low, it could reveal production issues such as visual appeal, poor scripting or even that your chosen platform is sub-optimal.

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Shares, Likes, Comments, and Reactions

The overall popularity of your video is indicated by this group of four metrics.

Shares: The more a video is shared, the more your product or brand gains credibility. As with word-of-mouth marketing, people share what aligns with their beliefs and values, and so, by sharing your video, they are saying ‘this deserves to be seen by others.’ According to Facebook, 48% of video watch time is initiated from shares.

Likes: A liked video is far more likely to be shared later, thereby increasing reach. However, unless they are focused around content that is relevant to the product or business at hand, this can be misleading.

Comments: The comments section will reveal the opinions of your viewers. This can be a great insight as to their emotional response to your video. Be careful, though, as the anonymity of the internet can, and often does, promote the ‘online disinhibition effect’, whereby trolls and other nasties will spew their garbage onto your comments section for no other reason than – they can.

Reactions: Positive or negative reactions offer a measurable insight into viewer sentiment. Reactions such as ‘Smileys’ and ‘Ha-ha’ indicate a specific intent from the viewer to indicate approval.

As said before, you cannot improve what you cannot measure.

  • Define a goal — What should your video project achieve?
  • Pick a target audience — Who do you want to watch your video?
  • Identify your key metrics — What are the metrics that allow you to measure success?

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Calculating your ROI can be tricky. Your key metrics should indicate if your goals are being met. Do not focus on too many metrics, as your goals might become too broad. Refine these metrics as necessary.

You now have the tools to measure expenditure versus planned outcome.

So, go to create brilliance.

And above all, have fun!

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