Social Video Metrics that Really Matter

One of the social media tools I use and recommend is HOOTSUITE.

This post written by  Christina Newberry explains all the terminology used with Video metrics.

Tracking your metrics is an important part of developing, measuring, and refining your social media strategy and your social ads. The same principle applies to social video.

With videos on various social networks racking up billions of views per day and more than 70 percent of U.S. marketers planning to use social video ads, you need to measure and refine your social video strategy based on solid, numbers-based intelligence.

Making good use of video metrics will allow you to understand what connects with viewers, and achieve the kind of user engagement that boosts your video posts in the ranking algorithms.

Not all networks offer all metrics, but at a minimum you can track views and video engagement metrics on all of your social videos on all social media platforms. Here, we look at 15 key metrics to help you understand how to measure video success on social networks.

1. View count

Your video’s view count is the simplest of the video metrics to track—after all, it’s just a simple count of how many people saw your video. Or is it? Actually, the definition of a “video view” varies by network, but in all cases it’s based on someone viewing a very short portion of your video, not the whole thing.

Here’s a quick breakdown of what counts as a video view on the main social networks:

Why it matters

Based on the very short length of time a viewer is exposed to your video before being counted as a view, does this number really matter? The simple answer is yes.

Data from Facebook and Nielsen shows that 47 percent of the value of a video campaign actually comes from the first three seconds of a video, so even this very quick exposure is worth tracking.

2. 10-second views

Facebook recently introduced a 10-second views metric that measures, well, how many times your video is viewed for at least 10 seconds. If your video is shorter than 10 seconds, this number reports how many times it was watched to 97 percent completion.

Why it matters

This more substantial of the Facebook video views metrics indicates how well you’ve accomplished the goal of creating a video engaging enough to persuade viewers to stick around past the initial few seconds they’re exposed to by autoplay.

The same data from Facebook and Nielsen mentioned above shows that 75 percent of the value of a video campaign is achieved in those first 10 seconds, so it’s worth including this figure when planning how to measure video.

3. Watch time

Watch time is the total amount of time all viewers have spent watching your video, combined. On Facebook, this metric is known as “minutes viewed,” and on Periscope, it’s “time watched.”

Why it matters

When Facebook introduced this metric recently, they called it “one of the most requested video metrics from publishers.” Why? It gives an overall picture of the success of a video, measuring how much time your combined audience has spent taking in your message.

The platforms themselves view this as an important indicator of video quality: YouTube prioritizes videos with high watch times in its viewing suggestion algorithm.

You can also use this metric to compare paid and organic videos to get a sense of which format is racking up more viewer time.

4. Average view duration

Unlike watch time, which indicates the total amount of time all users have spent watching your video, average view duration indicates the amount of time the average viewer spends watching the video.

While YouTube still uses this term, Facebook recently replaced its troubled average view duration metric with a new metric called video average watch time. This new metric is calculated as the total watch time of your video divided by the total number of video plays.

Why it matters

Average view duration (or average watch time) can help tell you how much of your video users are watching, so you can compare viewer interest among the various videos you produce and learn how to adapt your strategy to better give them what they want.

Are you consistently making 45-second videos that have a 30-second view duration? Maybe it’s time to start condensing your message into that 30-second sweet spot.

5. Average percent completion

This one is simple: what percentage of your video does the average viewer watch?

Why it matters

For your own marketing intelligence, this metric gives a sense of how well your video is connecting with your intended audience. A higher percent completion indicates a more engaged audience getting the maximum exposure to your message.

But it’s also important for making sure your videos get seen in the first place, since Facebook uses percent completion as a signal to prioritize video in the News Feed. Percentage completion is weighted particularly heavily for longer videos.

6. Audience retention

This metric is presented as a graph showing views at each point of your video as a percentage of total views—that is, how well your audience is retained. Drops in the line of the curve indicate when users drop off from watching your video.

Why it matters

This is a key metric for helping your refine your video strategy. Is there a sudden drop-off at one point in your video? If so, take a long, hard look at what’s happening in the video at that point to see what might be turning viewers off.

7. Sound on vs. sound off

Tracking whether your videos are watched with the sound on or sound off is exactly what it sounds like—how many viewers are actually listening to, as well as watching, your video?

Why it matters

Video sound is a bit of a touchy issue among social media networks. While YouTube has noted that 96 percent of the videos of the network are watched with the sound on, and Snapchat’s chief strategy officer, Imran Khan, has derided video ads without sound as simply “moving banner ad[s],” as much as 85 percent of Facebook videos are watched with the sound turned off as a function of autoplay.

That means turning sound on is a point of engagement, indicating viewer interest in your video. It also provides critical learning for your future video development efforts. If the metrics tell you that viewers don’t tend to turn the sound on for your videos, you may want to focus on creating videos that specifically convey their message without sound.

8. Engagement

While only some networks provide specific video engagement metrics or engagement rate through their analytics, you can measure video engagement for all social networks in the form of likes and comments (most networks) or screenshots (Snapchat) on your video post.

Why it matters

When it comes down to it, engagement is what every marketer is after with every action they take, and engagement rate is the most important metric for many social media marketers. An organic video with high engagement is a good candidate for a sponsored post.

9. Impressions and reach

Impressions indicates the number of times viewers are exposed to posts that contain your video, including both your own posts and shares by others. Reach is also a measure of how often the post containing your video is displayed.

While impressions indicates the total number of times the post is displayed, reach indicates the number of people who see the post. The reach will usually be lower than the number of impressions, since each individual viewer might be exposed to the same post more than once, which would count as multiple impressions but only one viewer for reach.

Why they matter

These numbers show you how broadly the posts containing your video reached into your potential audience.

Comparing them to the number of video views gives you a sense of whether your video is eye-catching enough for readers to pause in their scrolling to watch the first three seconds or more.

10. Social sharing

Social sharing is a measure of how often people share your video, by linking to it, or retweeting, sharing your Facebook post, and so on.

Why it matters

Social sharing not only indicates a high level of user engagement, but also extends the reach of your video, getting it in front of more eyeballs than you could access on your own. According to Facebook, 48 percent of video watch time on the network comes from shares.

11. Click-through rate and conversions

Click-through rate (CTR) is a ratio of the number of people who click through to your website compared to the number of people exposed to your video, and conversions indicates the number of people who take a desired action after watching your video.

Why they matter

These are key goals for most marketers, and you can learn more about why they matter, and how to track them, in our post on social media ad metrics.

12. Feedback

Negative feedback is a measure of how often people take actions like hiding your video from their News Feed, reporting your video as inappropriate, or unliking your Page after watching your video.

Why it matters

The last thing you want your video to do is cause people to unlike your Page. If your video is getting high negative feedback, you need to rethink your video strategy—immediately.

13. Interaction rate

This metric for 360-degree video measures how many users engage with the 360-degree functions of the video—that is, moving the viewpoint using their mouse or by tilting their phone.

Why it matters

Use this metric to get a sense of how viewers interact with your 360-degree video functionality. If they’re watching the video but not changing the point of view, you may need to provide more of a nudge to explore the video.

Along with interaction rate, keep an eye on how the other metrics for 360-degree video compare to your other video formats to see which type ultimately performs best for your brand.

14. Live viewers

This metric for live video varies somewhat by network.

Periscope and YouTube use this stat to count the total number of viewers who watched your video live, rather than watching it on replay or on-demand.

Facebook uses a similar-sounding metric, “viewers during live broadcast,” to graph the number of viewers during each moment of the live broadcast, rather than providing a total count.

Why it matters

This number allows you to track your live viewership from the additional views your video picks up over time.

15. Peak concurrent viewers

This metric for live video indicates the highest number of viewers at any one point during your live broadcast.

Why it matters

In combination with the live viewers metric, this figure gives you a picture of how well your video connected with viewers in the moment. Keeping an eye on this number can help you plan the best times of day to go live in future.