Video Metrics That Count

There’s definitely an art to making great videos. But measuring their performance on the web is a job for science.

Metrics are numbers and graphs that help you understand your video’s performance, and ultimately ROI. Each can provide a different kind of insight, but it’s important to focus on performance indicators that tie back to your strategic goals for using video in the first place.

So grab a calculator, stock up your pocket protector, and meet us down in the lab. It’s time to talk about video metrics!


This straightforward metric measures your video’s reach, and everyone would love for their video to get a million views. But this is just the beginning of the story.

The view count is strictly a vanity metric: it looks good on paper, but doesn’t yield much insight into the value of your video marketing efforts. To further complicate matters, for a view to be counted the viewer must watch a certain amount of the video which can vary depending on the hosting platform you choose (most, like YouTube, don’t release information on this algorithm to avoid people gaming the system).

View Rate

Sure, for viewers to convert into customers, you need eyeballs on your video in the first place. But when it comes to mid-funnel videos which are best hosted on your own website or landing page, the ‘views’ metric fails to take into account the number of visitors who did not click the play button and who may have left instead (known as ‘bounce rate’). This is where ‘view rate’ comes in.

By focusing instead on the percentage of visitors who do choose to watch your video, you can optimize your landing pages in a number of ways – ensuring that your video is relevant to the particular page is just the first step.

Read more: 3.5 Ways to Increase Views to Your Landing Page Video


Retention (sometimes also referred to as ‘engagement’) is your video’s ability to hold-on to its audience. This is where storytelling matters, because your audience will only see your carefully crafted call-to-action if they make it to the end of your video!

Viewers have the ability to pause, re-watch, and skip entire sections of the video, often leading to funny looking graphs like the one below. This information is great to learn more about perhaps the parts of the video that interest your viewers more or less, or any sections which might be a little confusing that could necessitate a re-edit.

One of the biggest factors in retaining your audience is in giving them only what they want in the first place – no more, no less. Consider where the viewer is in the customer lifecycle, trying to solve the problem that matters most to them at that particular time.

Read more: Creating Better Videos by Targeting Stages of the Customer Lifecycle

Social Interaction

It’s impossible to quantify how your viewers feel about your video, but there are some metrics which can give you the next best thing. They show you how people are interacting with your video.

Engagement is crucial on social platforms like YouTube and Facebook where subscribers, likes, comments, and shares rule the day. The more people interact positively with your video, the more your audience will grow. If community building and brand visibility are your goals, follow your interaction metrics closely.

Conversion Rate

For videos with a direct call-to-action (eg. “Contact us..”, “Subscribe..”, etc.), those ‘conversions’ can be easily quantified, giving you a direct measure of the your video’s value. This is the ‘bottom-line’ metric in video marketing, telling you whether your video is achieving its business goal.

Like with view rate, the important number here is the percentage of viewers who convert, not simply the overall number since this is ultimately limited by the number of viewers that your campaign has managed to lead to your landing page.

YouTube is fundamentally a social media platform first and is designed to keep viewers on the site watching more videos, not to send them away to your own site. This is one of the reasons we often recommend using a professional video hosting solution like Wistia instead.

Read more: Debunking the Top 4 Myths of the Benefits of YouTube

A/B Testing

If you’re not sure whether your video should be long or short, which thumbnail to use, or what call to action might work best, why not set up a controlled experiment to see which one works best?

One way to do this would be to setup different versions of a landing page, each with a different version of your video, and maybe even one with no video at all, and to compare the results. You might find that the shorter version has a better retention rate, or maybe that the absence of video is better for conversions. You never know until you try!

Isn’t science fun? The thesis here is that video is very much an iterative process, so feedback is important. Whatever your video strategy, there’s a metric out there for you. Learn more about our video optimization and reporting services.