In Video Marketing, Your Viewcount Means Squat

In a world of surface level analytics and vanity metrics, it's easy to get excited about the “views” of our latest video masterpiece.

I know – because I do it too.

Oh look – this one got 2.9 views more than the last one. Woohoo!

Once we get past the initial excitement and fist-pumping though, I think we need to have a serious talk about video marketing metrics and what actually matters.

Long Term

Of course, over the medium to long term the only metric that really matters is: are you getting more clients or referrals?

That sounds draconian, especially since I'm all about relationship development, but it's the truth.

Because the success or otherwise of your video marketing is going to be determined by whether you're effectively reaching, and building trusted relationships with, your audience.

And that means… are you getting more clients?

But long term isn't the only consideration, and because content marketing is a marathon not a sprint we need to also appreciate some shorter term nuance.

First – What's a “View” Anyway?

When you start to chase this particular rabbit down the hole, you're going to be horrified to learn that a “view” means something different on different platforms.

Here's the current nutshell, which will be out of date by the time I post this:

  • On basically everything (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram) a “view” is a 3 second watch time or more.
  • On YouTube, a “view” is 30 seconds or more.

At this point you should be a little bit worried. Not a “panic stations” kind of worry but just a mild concern welling up in the pit of your stomach.

Here's what is sounds like:

what if the 378 views I got on my latest video was literally just 378 people checking in, watching the intro, and then tuning out immediately?

And you are right to ask this question. It's a good question and helps us make better videos and use our analytics properly.

Analytics Are Only Useful if you Ask the Right Questions

If you have a marketing team sending you reports that rely only on “views” as a measure of success then you need to ask them for more. If they won't or can't, I'd tell them not to bother sending the reports, as they aren't giving you anything useful and you're wasting your time reading them.

Some platforms are better than others when it comes to the level of information you can get, but here's a list of simple questions to be asking:

  1. what was the average watch time?
  2. who was watching and where were they from?
  3. how many comments are there on the video?
  4. did we get any messages or enquiries to follow up on from the video?
  5. when did people start/stop watching?
  6. how many people watched organically, and how many watched due to a promotion?
  7. how did people find the video (eg – from your email list, directly on social, or something else)?

At the very least with this (or some of this) information you can start to collect meaningful information about the success of your video marketing efforts.

Remember the Point of It All

The point isn't to collect the best vanity metrics possible.

The point is to create real value for real people.

And if people aren't genuinely consuming your content, then they're not getting the value. You tricking yourself into thinking your videos are doing well, if they're not, isn't going to help your audience and it's certainly not going to help your digital marketing efforts.

If your audience isn't getting the value from your video marketing, then you have an opportunity for improvement.

But Don't Obsess

While I'm certainly a proponent of checking and understanding your analytics, I'm not encouraging you to obsess over them.

Because sometimes it's just a matter of patience and continuing to show up, rather than something you're doing “wrong”. If your first ever video gets 3 views for a total of 12 seconds, that's not necessarily an indictment on you or your content – it's just your first video.

So continue to show up. Understand your metrics and learn from them, but don't be controlled by them.

And remember: statistics are fun, so…

Happy Lawyering!

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