Conversions Aren’t Enough: 5 Best Metrics for Measuring Branded Video

One of the hardest things about creating branded video is figuring out whether it’s actually working.

While most brands and agencies typically measure their online advertising by conversions and click-through rates, these metrics are flawed when it comes to branded content and native video, which is frequently more about building a long-term relationship with consumers than making direct sales.

Generally speaking, a consumer is unlikely to see a single Doritos branded video in the Facebook News Feed and immediately go out and purchase a bag of chips.

Rather, if people like what they see in the branded video, they might return to the Doritos YouTube page or website for more content, building trust with the advertiser in the process. They might even give the brand their email address to receive additional content or special offers. Then, the next time those consumers are browsing the snack aisle, Doritos will have a huge advantage over competitors who have not taken the time to create a relationship with the consumer.

Instead of conversions, here are five other metrics brands should be using to determine the success of their video advertising content:

1 Brand Lift

Brand lift measures how much a brand’s content has improved its reputation with consumers. It’s calculated by using a survey firm like Vizu to ask two groups of people what they think about a given brand—one group that has seen the brand’s content and one that has not. The difference in the two survey groups’ perception of the brand is the “brand lift” attributed to the contest.

By altering the survey questions, advertisers can test for a number of campaign objectives, allowing marketers to see whether their branded videos are getting consumers to see their companies as being funnier, more trustworthy, or more sensitive to social issues.

However, brand lift measurement surveys can be expensive, and they might not be able to tell marketers which specific pieces of content are driving consumer perception.

2 Return Rate

As you might expect, return rate is the percentage of people who view a brand’s video and return to its YouTube channel or website for more. These are the people with whom marketers are building deep, real relationships, which will likely lead to the return viewers becoming customers and brand advocates.

According to a BuzzFeed case study with Virgin Mobile, people who saw between five and nine pieces of branded content sponsored by Virgin Mobile were 278% more likely to agree with the statement, “Virgin Mobile is a brand that I’d investigate for my next phone” compared with those who did not see Virgin-sponsored content.

3 Engaged Time

The total time a viewer spends paying attention to a piece of content is “engaged time”, an important metric for judging whether the video advertising is getting through to viewers.

Rather than simply looking at how many people clicked on a piece of content, vendors like Chartbeat measure engaged time by looking at how people are interacting with the webpage.

You can have all the video views in the world, but if people are opening a new tab and focusing elsewhere immediately after landing on your videos, it’s unlikely your content is doing much good.

In addition, Chartbeat’s research has shown that the longer people are engaged with a publisher’s content, the more likely they are to return in the future.

4 Completion Rate

This metric calculates what percentage of the people who watch your video make it all the way until the end. Along with engaged time, completion rate helps marketers determine just how captivating their videos are. This statistic is especially important for brands that don’t put their logos on sponsored video until the credits roll.

In addition to determining how enthusiastic viewers might be about a video, completion rate can also help brands get a sense of whether their videos are too long and need to be cut down a bit.

5 Visitor Loyalty

Similar to return rate, visitor loyalty measures how many times a given user returns to your content in a week, month, or other specified time period. This helps brands determine how many of their fans are getting into the habit of becoming the sort of regular viewers who can be counted on to share content and talk about the brand with their friends.

If you have high visitor loyalty, it’s pretty likely that higher brand lift, and ultimately, higher sales, will be soon to follow.

In this sense, the metrics outlined here are not a one-size-fits-all solution, but a complementary set of tools brands should use to determine the effectiveness of their content.

In an ideal world, marketers will create a virtuous cycle in which viewers spend a long time engaged with the content, share it, then become regular visitors, then fill out a survey indicating they have a better perception of the brand than they did prior to stumbling upon its videos.

This way, even if the consumer converts much later or chooses to make their purchase offline, marketers will know their video content has gotten the job done.

About the Author

Aaron Taube

Aaron Taube is a freelance writer and reporter based in New York City. Prior to striking out on his own, he worked as a staff writer at Business Insider, where he covered the digital advertising industry and workplace issues; he was also a researcher/reporter hybrid at Law360, a news service for corporate attorneys.

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