View-count vanity; the importance of analytics for video

A couple of years ago I met the Marketing Manager of a petro-chemical company. He was very excited about a viral ‘success’ the company had achieved with one of their videos – almost 2 million views. But he was less ebullient when I asked him how that had translated into sales; in a nutshell, he had no idea.

The video in question was a little dry and ‘corporatey’, and had nothing that really made it stand out. I was too polite to point out that there probably aren’t 2 million B2B buyers of petro-chemicals globally, never mind in the UK. It was something of a mystery, but I suspected it had perhaps been posted around on comedy sites for ironic purposes, and had achieved its virality that way. Cruel, but true.

This all highlights the need for reliable analytics for video campaigns. Here’s one of those ‘5 things …’ things:

View count What the petro-chemical example above reveals is the obsession with achieving ‘views’ for videos. The problem is, who is viewing? Of course, if you hit a certain number of views you will undoubtedly catch some of your target audience, and if you’re a B2C brand the exposure and awareness will (probably) do you no harm; but beware of the limitations of counting views. If 50 million OAPs watch the latest video from The Weeknd, he probably isn’t going to sell a single record to any of them. In short, they are the wrong 50 million people, and 50 views from the right people would be more useful. This is not broadcast television and ‘views’ do not necessarily mean ‘success’.

Understanding the audience Analytics tools can help you understand demographics, and that can help you understand if you are targeting your video campaign correctly. Are you reaching the right age, gender, country of residence? If not, what can you do to change things? And …

Is the content appropriate? Assuming you are reaching the right audience, are they responding as you’d hoped and expected? Are they clicking on links, sharing on social media, following the ‘call to action’? If you reach the right audience but with the wrong content your campaign will fail. The opposite is also true.

Continuous improvement But all is not lost! This is a process of continuous testing, measuring and tweaking, so if your analytics do reveal any audience or content issues you can rectify them. And then test again.

Measure ROI The holy grail of marketing, where you find yourself getting adulation from your higher-ups and given yet more budget to repeat your success – from the very same people who doubted you. Yes, them. Using specific text and telephone numbers, discount codes, interactive video and data capture, you can now prove ROI from video. Smug? Why not, you’ve earned it.

Mark Burgess
Managing Director