There are a couple of ways that you can gauge how effective and successful your online video content really is. A lot of people focus on video views for that (we've debated the value in views before), but that may not be the best way to really evaluate how your content is performing on the web. For this week's Creator's Tip we cover some other important ways and metrics you can look at in order to evaluate how well your video content is performing.
Going Beyond Video Views - YouTube Performance Metrics:
1) Audience Retention - Average Length & Proportion Watched
For example, you have a video that’s three minutes long, but after 34 seconds into your video you’re seeing, everyone dropping off the radar. Would you call that a successful video? Even if you have a million views, but only like 100 of them get past the first minute, would that be? I don’t think that would be a successful video.
Paying attention to how long your average viewer is watching your video is actually really important (especially now given the fact that YouTube just changed their search algorithm to focus on this). You can find that in the analytics of your YouTube channel. For each specific video it will give you a graph, both on your absolute retention for this video in total, how many people are still watching at various points throughout the video.
It also gives you more general comparisons to all other videos on YouTube that are similar length. How does your video compare against all those other videos?
3) Engaging Content? - Views in Relation to Subscribers
Don’t just look at the number of views you’re getting total. Look at the number of views you’re getting in relation to how many subscribers your channel has. For example, if you have 100 subscribers and you’re getting an average of 100 views per video, you’re making some pretty darn good content. Now you just need to grow and get some more subscribers. If, however, you have a million subscribers and you’re only getting 100 views, then you’re making some really junky content. Looking at that ratio can be really important and telling for how engaging your content is.
Look at the rate of how many subscribers you’re earning from each particular video. If you have one and you’re just picking up ten subscribers out of 100 views, and that’s kind of your average, what can you do to increase that? When you see that you have a video that maybe you have a ratio of half your views, which may never happen, but if you have half your views converted into new subscribers, for example, you had a video of 100 views and you got 50 new subscribers off of it, then that would be like a really successful video. That is way more valuable to you than getting, like, a viral video even, with a million views. As long as then you get 500,000 subscribers, then that’s even better.
3) Ratio of Views to Number of User Interactions
This is really the key for determining how successful your video might be. Interactions like you’re getting comments, you’re picking up new subscribers, or people are clicking that like button, all those types of things. Are they going to your channel? Are they checking out other video content of yours? All that kind of stuff you can see in your analytics of your YouTube channel, and kind of determine how engaging your content is. If someone just watches one of your videos, and then maybe they watch it as an embedding on Facebook, or just leave completely, you know that’s probably not as successful a video. Even if it gets lots of views, if it’s not pulling people into your content to check out more of your stuff and engage with you and your stuff in some sort of way it isn’t successful.
For another example, our videos here right now average around 1,000 views on a regular video. We usually have over 100, sometimes 200 comments after a couple of weeks of these videos being published. This is really good, because it’s good to engage with your viewers. I’m part of another channel that might get, 10,000 views easily per video, but they only have, 50 comments. I would say even though that one’s got way more views, the first channel is way more successful in terms of engaging an audience. Look at some of the other stuff, not just purely views.
4) Elicit Emotion? Ratio of Shares to Number of Views
Another thing that goes into measuring how successful your video is, is if it elicits enough emotion and value in your viewers for them to feel compelled to share this online in their social networks. Let’s not just look at the pure number of shares you get, but look at the number of shares in relation to how many views that you have. Look at that ratio. If a video that gets half a million views only gets like 100 shares, that’s probably not doing as well, in this regard as if your video has 1,000 views but you get 100 shares. That’s a way more viral video than the other one, because viral videos are determined by how much their shared in relation to the number of views that they have.
There are a couple of ways you can check sharing that’s going on around your video content. One is just to look in the YouTube analytics. It’ll give you there a little graph and then some statistics of how your stuff is being shared. You can also go to Topsy if you just want to see what people just copy and pasted the URL and Tweeted it rather than clicking on the share button underneath your video and shared it. You can go to Topsy and look at exactly how many people Tweeted it from there. It’s kind of a rough estimate, actually. It’s not exact. You can see some of that there and some of the Facebook things. It’s not very great at Facebook since a lot of Facebook is private, but you can get an idea of how your stuff is being shared through those two sources.