6 Easy to Use Video Metrics That Actually Measure Results

Shawn Forno 11.15.2017

You’ve written the script, created the graphics, and made your explainer video. You even host your video on the homepage of your site (way to go), and you’ve launched your shiny new video on every video platform from YouTubeFacebook. Congrats! Now the hard work begins. It’s time to track video metrics and tweak your video to see what works and what doesn’t. Measure the success (and failure) of your online video with these 6 video metrics to create better custom audiences, more effective landing pages, better CTAs and increase engagement rates and site-wide conversions.

Video Metrics & Marketing Objectives

Before we breakdown the importance and applications of these 6 video metrics, it’s worth noting how certain metrics inform your specific video marketing objectives. Tracking the wrong metrics is worse than a waste of time—it’s misleading. Make sure that your video metrics of choice correspond to your primary video marketing objectives. Not all objectives are created equal. Wistia made this handy image to explain some of the most common objectives and the corresponding video metrics.

video metrics

Remember that tons of comments signal a completely different level of engagement as total view count. The same goes for social shares vs. bounce rate. Ideally you want to define your objectives before you make your video, but since no one’s perfect, and you’re already here, try to at least define your objectives before you start tracking any metrics.

The risk of defining your video objectives after you look at the video metrics is that you’ll be tempted to massage the data to support whatever objective you’ve defined. A lot of views, while a good sign of interest, does nothing for driving sign-ups if you have a low CTR, and no amount of metric magic is going to make that true. Educational explainer videos need to track play rate and watch rate — both signs that the content is engaging and relevant. Explainers introducing a new product (or outright selling it) should track CTR and social shares for the relevant demographics. The “right” video metrics totally depends on your goals.

Just remember the “Texas sharpshooter fallacy.” Don’t redraw the lines after your video metrics tell you something that you don’t want to hear.

Video Metrics: Play Rate = Relevance

It’s easy to get excited about view count, but not every explainer video has to be a viral video sensation. In fact, just tracking views can hide the success or distort the failure of a particular video. Just because a video has a lot of views, doesn’t mean it’s generating any value for your business. You need to engage with the right kind of viewers and drive conversions like site visits, sales, and sign-ups, and a view count, while easy to see, isn’t great at predicting the overall value of a video.

Play Rate — or the percentage of visitors that click play — is a much more accurate predictor that your video is on the right track. It’s the age old “If a video falls in the forest…” argument. If nobody clicks on your video, it’s the same as not having one.

How to Use Play Rate Video Metrics

Tracking the percentage of people that click your video—especially on your homepage or landing page— can help you adjust your video marketing strategy to capture more users and increase conversions. Pay attention to drop-off points in your video engagement metrics to see if viewers are sticking around til the end of your video, but more importantly, track page bounce rates to see if you can entice viewers to stay on your site longer with your video.

Audience retention is one of the many SEO benefits of landing page video. Video makes your page “stickier” to incoming users, since it promises a visually stimulating summary of the information on the page in a time-sensitive way. Make sure you position your video above the fold” of your landing page (that means instantly visible without having to scroll) to maximize your potential play rate.

Also, make sure you use an enticing video thumbnail to encourage users to click your video. You’ll use this thumbnail for YouTube and Vimeo, as well as a still image for newsletter and email outreach and as a powerful visual asset for your sales team. Spend a little time crafting an engaging video thumbnail, and see if play rate increases.

Video Heatmaps: A Different Kind of Video Metric

Much like Play Rate, video heatmaps are a video metric that will tell you not just if people watched your video, but how viewers watched your video. Sounds weird? It is. If you’re unfamiliar, a video heatmap is “a visual insights tool that displays the portions of a video that viewers are spending the most time watching.” Much like other website heatmaps that track mouse location, scrolling rates, and clicks, video heatmaps are a great way to visualize engagement rates, watch rates, actions and drop off points on the timeline of your video.

video metrics

Wistia heatmaps are a great example of heatmaps in action, because they include relevant viewer data (device, location, referral page, time of day) in addition to color coded reports of viewer activity. You can see when viewers paused your video, skipped ahead, and even rewatched sections for clarity or repetition. These heatmaps let you see any potential engagement gaps that are killing your conversions. They can also highlight parts of your video that resonate with viewers. You can even track when viewers take action (like clicking on your video annotation or CTA) and track where they go next.

video metrics

This granular approach to real-time video metric tracking is a powerful tool, if you have to ability to use it. Heatmaps are a go-to video metric for improving and reworking your video marketing strategy.

Crazy Egg, HotJar and Heatmap are just a few heatmap metric sites with affordable plans to get you started. And remember, you can apply traditional heatmaps to landing pages that feature video. Watch how many people hover over that play button for some instant feedback on the engaging power of video.

Engagement Metrics: Watch Rate

According to one study by Decipher Research, “Viewers who enjoyed watching a video were 97% more likely to purchase the product featured in the video.” If that doesn’t make you want to track engagement rates, nothing will.

The whole point of an explainer video is to hook viewers long enough to show them the value of your site. You have to captivate to convert, so make sure that your video is as captivating as possible by tracking your watch rate, a.k.a. “Engagement rate.”

Joey Dello Russo, Videographer, Asana:

“Hands-down, engagement is the biggest metric we pay attention to. View count means nothing on the internet anymore – engagement describes the quality of the view. That’s the metric I’m most interested in – not necessarily because it means people are watching longer (though I think it does), but because it means the message is resonating and that the video is, well, watchable all the way through.”

Domain & Website Video Metrics

YouTube isn’t the only place to track your video metrics. No, if you’re adding video to your homepage or a dedicated landing page, chances are you’ll see a spike in engagement, dwell time, and a lower bounce rate. Track these changes! Comparing everyday SEO metrics is a great way to see if video is driving conversions and engagement on your site (that’s kinda the point for making a video in the first place).

Honing Your Video Strategy: Bounce Rate Metrics

Bounce rate is one of the clearest indicators of whether the content on your web page is working. Google calculates your bounce rate by dividing the total number of visitors that leave your site after visiting one page by the total number of visits. Monster Insights put together this handy graphic to help you visualize where you stack up to your competitors when it comes to bounce rate.

video metrics

Bounce rate is a key metric, and can help you decide if more videos might be helpful. If the pages that with video radically outperform pages without video, video could be the difference maker. It might be time to invest in a site-wide video overhaul. For example, when Daniel Loeschen, Marketing Director for MixerDirect wanted to track their key objective—engagement—he used bounce rate as his yardstick:

“We paid a lot of attention to measuring our videos’ success [using] overall site bounce rate. Over the last year and a half as we have had added more and more videos to our product pages, blog pages, and category pages, we have seen almost a 20% decrease in bounce rate, which means that customers and potential customers are finding value in our content and that content is nurturing them toward a purchase or quote request. For us bounce rate has been very important to measure the impact of an overall video strategy.”

To find your bounce rate in Google Analytics, simply navigate to your domain page in Analytics and select Audience Overview > Bounce Rate. A 30-50% bounce rate is excellent and 80%+ is terrible. Everything in between depends on your content, industry and your marketing strategy.

FYI: If your bounce rate is below 20% it’s probably a tracking error or really low site traffic. People bounce from websites all the time. Nobody is that good.

Video Metrics: Tracking Social Shares

Decision makers are increasingly influenced by online video, but they’re also driven by influencers, social shares and online reviews. Nielsen recently reported that “92% of consumers believe recommendations from friends and family over all other forms of advertising,” especially when it comes to making purchasing decisions. Social shares build trust, foster awareness, and are literally unpaid marketing that strengthens your consumer confidence.

video metrics

Make sure your video is ready to share with optimized links via, Buffer. Bitly also lets you create customized url for timely campaigns with relevant keywords. People like urls that hint at the content. It also shows your granular data for who shared that url, when, and how many impressions you receive.

Remember, even though Twitter just doubled its character limit, nobody wants to share a link that’s mostly numbers. Which of these links would you rather share?


Make it easy for people to share your video, and don’t be afraid to ask viewers to share. It’s annoying, but effective. Sometimes to get shares, all you have to do is ask.

Video Metric: Tracking Conversions

A lot of companies create an explainer video to increase conversions, and rightly so. Video is great at getting prospects over the obstacles that keep them from opting-in. Email signups, downloads, subscriptions and sales are great ways to track the real world impact video has on your bottom line.

Phil Nottingham, a Video Strategist at Distilled says:

“If you’re creating a video to improve conversions i.e. increase the number of people pressing the “add to cart” button on your website, then more or less the only metric you should care about is conversion rate at a page level. This is predicated by ensuring you have a decent attribution model, but once your analytics is in good order, this is the metric.”

Make sure you test CTAs to see which is the most effective at driving conversions. Be clear, de direct and keep it simple. The right CTA can make all the difference.

Wistia recommends tagging your video for “viewers’ activity” (aka “conversions”) when you embed it on your site. That lets you track exactly how people are converting, via Google Analytics. There are a few different ways to do this, depending on your video hosts. Search Engine Land has a great (if somewhat dated) guide to get you started on the process of conversion tracking within Google Analytics.

Video Metrics that Matter

Video metrics matter. It’s not enough to upload and share your video. You can’t just “spray and pray.” Choose video metric that relate to your video objectives so you can improve your video assets for the highest possible ROI. Quality videos last for a while. Hone your video content and targeting with informed video metrics and your explainer video will drive conversions for years.

For more information on how to succeed with animated video, download our free eBook. And for more detailed video metric info for Facebook and YouTube, click these specific video metrics guides:

Shawn Forno

Shawn Forno is a massive Studio Ghibli fan who does content marketing. In that order. Find his other writing and extensive travel blogging here.

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