Making Sense of Video Metrics

As a builder of automotive video solutions for over 10 years I’ve been behind the scenes on selling video products to automotive businesses. Much of the sales process is technical because I have to explain the value behind the video, how to integrate it, etc. but a lot of it is in the data and the content itself.

It doesn’t matter if it’s the dealer down the street or the gambit of third-party automotive sites that I’ve worked with… these questions always come up:

  • What are the metrics and KPIs?
  • How many more cars am I going to sell?
  • What’s the video ROI?

These are some of the questions I dread the most because my answer is always: it depends. I know that sounds like a cop out but it’s true! Everyone has a different goal, and you can’t prove a video was the sole reason for a sale.

Video is one of many influential touchpoints in a multi-touch attribution world.

A good video strategy is about selling something without selling. It’s about engaging and influencing a car shopper by enhancing an existing process. It’s also about creating a better experience for the customer and educating them. If you don’t believe in that, then video (or any content strategy) isn’t going to work for you.

I’m happy to see a handful of providers pushing video, but some of these companies are just selling a tool and not the content. They leave it up to the dealer to figure out the content piece because they themselves know it’s hard, and that’s falling short on providing value to the dealer.

Here’s the thing… dealers aren’t all content creators by trade. They’re good at what they do, and what they do is sell cars… and content creation isn’t easy. I studied video production in college, and I’ve been doing this for over 10 years, and I’m still learning new things as I go!

The bottomline for dealers? The content is oftentimes more important than the tool.

I won’t dive into content strategy in this post, but I will share the most important signal to a good video content: video metrics. You need to know how and where the data is collected, how to read it, and how to act on it to make better videos (and better business decisions).

Here’s a short list of video metrics to look for, what they really mean, and some tips to ask your video providers.

Video Views

It’s the favorite video metric every provider loves to tout and every dealer loves to see. A view is typically counted the instant the video begins, but what if the user clicks out after one second? Should that really count as a view? Video ads require a certain time period be met before a view is counted so why shouldn’t it be the same for organic content? We’re not selling ad time but we are measuring engagement and utility.

[alert heading=”” type=”alert-success” block=”true” close=”false”]Tip: Ask your video provider how they’re measuring video views because 1,000 one second video views per month (0% completion rate) is not a good thing.[/alert]

Completion Rate

This is the percentage of watch time a video receives. A completion rate of 50% is average but it can depend on the length of content. If you’ve got 70%+ completion rates for 4-5 minute videos, it’s a testament to having engaging and relevant content. If it’s below 50% for one minute videos, you might want to rethink your content strategy.

[alert heading=”” type=”alert-success” block=”true” close=”false”]Tip: Ask your video provider what their average completion rates are for different types of content so you can see what’s working and what is not.[/alert]

Play Rate

Play Rate has to do with how many times a video gets played when a video option is available (e.g. video views divided by player loads or page views). A good play rate is a testament to user intent: which percentage of users saw a video button and clicked to watch?

Tip: Ask your video provider how your play rate is performing for autoplay vs. non-autoplay content.

Bounce Rate

This is an old school metric but video has a huge influence on a page’s overall bounce rate. Google Analytics likes to measure video stats (e.g. video views, player loads, etc.) as events, and these are categorized as “non-interaction” or “interaction” events. If a user clicks on a “play video” button an interaction event will fire. If a user loads a page and a “player load” event fires, that’s a non-interaction event. Pages with lots of interaction events means lower bounce rates. But if your video provider doesn’t make a distinction between the two types of events they may be skewing your bounce rate numbers to look better than they really are.

Tip: Ask your video provider which stats are interaction vs. non-interaction events so you know if your bounce rates are being calculated honestly.

Final Words of Wisdom

I’ll end on an urgent reminder to all dealers: require data transparency from your vendors. There’s no reason whatsoever why your video provider shouldn’t be sending your video metrics into your Google Analytics account. You deserve full transparency on everything that’s happening. Summarized reports are helpful and easy to read, but you should also be able to verify the same data in Google Analytics.

How? Ask your video provider to add a GA tracker using your GA ID so you can view the same data they see within your GA account (assuming they send data to GA in the first place, which they should!).

I hope this post helps you stay more informed about your video solutions and how to measure your video metrics.

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