We (and that means every online marketer) have seen an extreme interest in Online Video (streaming video) because it simplifies the process of getting video to the consumer and with streaming video, unlike downloaded video, the content (the video and any interaction with it) can be tracked. AND if any business, that be B2C or B2B invest in online video – they are obligated to measure the return of that investment!
First I would like to apologize for the aggressive title – as this is more about essential Online Video Metrics than KPIs – I think it is fair to say that these online video metrics affect your KPIs, but are not KPIs by themselves, unless of course if you are in the business of delivering video as a revenue model. :-)
9 Essential Online Video Metrics
- Online video started
- Online video Pre-roll advertisement started*
- Online video core content started
- Online video Post-roll advertisement started*
- Online video positive consumption action
- Online video negative consumption action
- Online video ended
- Online video played, percentage of total
- Online video played, seconds
*pre- and post-roll metrics are of course only of importance if and when a online video monetization model is in place. For some of us these metrics does not exist.
Essential metrics suggest that there is indeed more exotic metrics — and you are right — but I stoutly suggest getting the essential metrics up and running, as in being able to collect, report and analyze on them before working towards any of those more exotic ones.
Furthermore, surrounding metrics such as “send to a friend”, “rate this video” and other Online Social Networking activities are separate metrics that are important, but not distinctive online video metrics.
Consumption actions can be pooled together (dependant on your users) in positives and negatives; such as e.g. fast forward, slide forward and stop as negatives and rewind, slide backward, pause and play and positives. You have to be very careful about using these as it can be difficult to derive valid insight; AND you might want to split them into different actions, however, I am personally a fan of pooling them together.
All that said; we have to differ between (from a technical tracking point of view) between two ways of serving a video online.
Simplified Online Video serving methodologies
- Server Streaming (e.g. played through windows media player)
- HTTP Streaming (e.g. played through your own Flash player)
Both of them (and their sisters) require completely different technical tracking methodologies and I actually posted a Web Analytics HACK on how to track server streamed online video not that long ago.
And before you fall for any bullshit, patent pending, we are the only online video analytics provider – marketing spiel, I would like to conclude that you can collect and analyze most of the above mentioned Essential Online Video Metrics in all of the enterprise analytics packages out there. :-)
Online Video Optimization comments
The above metrics are to be collected on a per video basis and you can aggregate per visit (session), per visitor or any other specific grouping (segment) you want to analyze. It is of course a given that when collecting any of the Essential Online Video Metrics, such as Online video Started, you MUST collect information about which unique piece of content (online video title or other identifiable content ID) we are dealing with. That said, here is a couple of suggestions on how we can work with the metrics:
- Conversion rate segmented by Online video started COMPARED to the site average
- Conversion rate segmented by Online video ended COMPARED to the site average
Where the above two suggestions immediately shows the success of using video for conversion purpose. Imagining a positive scenario where you have 1% site average conversion, 2% on those who started a video and 3% on those who finished it (expecting that the more a visitor consume the more engaged and interested he is).
- Compare the “Conversion rate segmented by Online video started” between visitors who had a positive consumption action and those who had a negative consumption action.
Refining a positive attitude towards online video as an element for conversion increase – hereby getting further insight on the importance of questions like; does it matter if they watch the video to the end (or do they “just” have to engage positively with it).
- Trend the metric “Online video played, seconds” grouped by videos
Creating insight on WHERE people fall off; in the first 5 sec. Or in the first 30 sec? – essentially getting to know how long you can captivate your specific audience.
- Create traffic source goals and alerts for Pre-roll advertisement started and Online video Post-roll advertisement started
This of course creating instant insight into which traffic sources send you online video engaged visitors. And not only as a comment to the point above; whenever you look at “Video view abandonment” (did NOT watch the video to the end), it is critical to distinguish between whether we talk about complete site abandonment or just that specific video.
But in conclusion; this post is more about creating awareness about the Essential Online Video Metrics and then making sure that you have a Web Analytics system available where you can utilize these metrics in retrospective – becoming able to answer marketing questions in regards to Online Video.