5 Proven Methods for Measuring ROI in Video Marketing Campaigns

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The client believes that the sale is the only metric worth counting. And the marketer argues that the views are a good enough measure of success. Truth is somewhere in the middle.

In this article, you'll discover the five metrics that matter and how you can improve them to get a better return on your video marketing budget. Let's get started!

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View Duration

The duration of a view is the reflection of audience interest in the content. The more effective your video's creativity, the longer each viewer sticks around. In contrast, a shorter average duration reflects a sharp decline in audience interest.

It might seem like the onus of lengthening the view duration is 100% on the creative. But actually, it could very well be a distribution issue. If you market longer videos on TikTok, you'll get a poor response regardless of the quality of said videos.

Why? Because people open TikTok to watch shorter videos. So you have to get the creative (video content) and the placement right in order to get a high view duration. Above all, you should use platforms that track and communicate this duration.

Because many platforms count views only, and without view duration data, you can't tell what each view even means.

If your average view duration is over 50% for paid media, then you should count it as a win. People don't like sitting through paid ads and have mostly made up their minds to skip the video as soon as they have the choice.

But if even half the viewers stick around to watch the complete video by choice, and the rest skip the ad as soon as they can, you get an average duration of 50%. And that's a massive success. For organic content, though, 50% is a pretty average view duration. You should aim for 80%.

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Social Sharing

People share what makes them feel good or look good. If they start sharing your content, you can tell that it is potent. Moreover, shares can increase your video's reach. Even social media algorithms love social shares and promote content that's getting shared more often.

Let's take the example of YouTube. If someone shares your YouTube video on Instagram, he exposes your video to his audience. But he also exposes YouTube to people who are not browsing YouTube at the time.

The YouTube algorithm, then, pushes your video to more people on YouTube so that they, too, share it elsewhere and bring more people to the platform. That's why you should not only measure social shares, but should also aim to make content that encourages social sharing.

"Goal Of The Century X BTS | Yet To Come" is a great example of a "share-encouraging" video ad. Hyundai gained a lot of exposure not only because of the paid push this video got but also because of the additional shares from BTS's dedicated fanbase. The ad got 42 million views on YouTube alone. If that's not great ROI, we don't know what is.

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Conversion Rate

It can be a little tricky to measure the conversion rate because the intended conversion varies from campaign to campaign. Some video marketers are aiming for direct purchases, while others are building a brand with a much longer fuse.

Nevertheless, all videos have a conversion rate. You must be clear on what's yours. Having Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) can help. And if you don't have a set of indicators, you should set at least one-note conversion intent.

Do you want the video to turn complete strangers into buyers? So, how many complete strangers are turning into buyers? Is the video meant to engage your community of customers? So, how many comments is it getting?

Not all conversions are built alike. And not all video campaigns are built alike. If you have multiple KPIs, you can list them in the order of priority. For example, a video you've made around Christmas time might be meant to drive purchases for your Holiday bundle.

But it could also be designed to encourage strangers to follow you on social media. Both purchases and subscriptions are conversions, but they're not of equal importance. Have clarity regarding your KPIs before you launch a video marketing campaign.

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All video marketers should have at least one KPI. And that is engagement. If your creative is engaging, then the videos that fail to convert strangers into buyers can still succeed in converting them into brand-aware individuals.

Different types of engagement show different levels of audience investment. Comments are one of the toughest forms of engagement and indicate intense audience involvement. You can measure comments quantitatively (how many) and qualitatively (positive or negative). Also, you can take feedback from the comments you receive to improve your future content and products.

Beware of the negative side of comments. Sometimes, ads can rub a brand's audience the wrong way. It happened when Bud Light switched from conventionally attractive women to a trans model. The comments on the campaign were brutal, and the resulting controversy even affected the stock price of Budlight's parent company.

Aside from comments, there are other forms of engagement like "likes," "upvotes," and "social shares." These vary by the distribution platform and can be harder to make sense of. But regardless of how different types of engagement are labeled, the marketer must look for a few things.

Firstly, how much investment does a form of engagement require? A like is more valuable than a view because the viewer has to do something extra to register his like. But the like is just as valuable as an upvote because it requires the same investment.

Next, you must consider the intention of the engagement. Subscribing and following means more because people are signing up to get more content from you. But the same actions don't mean as much if your video announces a giveaway for a random follower. Because now, those following are signing up to be potential winners.

The final thing to consider is whether the engagement is helping the campaign succeed. Almost all types of engagement make your videos pop with the algorithm. The only engagement that can lower your video's reach is "dislike/downvote."

Other similar forms of engagement to avoid are "content reports" and irrelevant shares. If people get mad enough to report your ad as annoying, the platform will charge you more to show it (high CPM). And if your content gets shared with irrelevant people, your average view duration can take a hit.

Comments are usually negative when there is an expectation-content mismatch. This can occur when brands get political or video marketers drop the ball on placement. If you focus too much on maximizing CTR (click-through rate), you'll end up attracting viewers for whom the video is not.

Those are the people who leave negative comments and dislikes. So, to avoid an expectation-content mismatch, make sure your content headline and thumbnail accurately represent what's in the video.

Optimizing CTR is useful, but it should not be at the cost of relevance. You have to make your video thumbnails more enticing. A great example of this is the self-help Author Mark Manson. His content is valuable and markets his products.

However, it is also interesting and relevant to his audience. His video thumbnails look like Reality TV episode covers, which drives clicks. But because he films reality-TV-style content, there is no expectation-content mismatch. As a result, his engagement is mostly positive.

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Returning Viewership

Returning viewers are invested enough to not only enjoy your content but also to remember you and return. Aside from being incredibly flattering, this is also a sign of your campaign's success. Personal brands and small businesses should aim for this metric as it increases their future campaign's ROI.

Think about it: with your first campaign, you pay $X to reach 1000 people. But if a hundred of them return and follow you (or even consume other videos on your page), they become algorithmically tagged as your loyal audience.

Next time around, you might pay $X to reach another 1000 people, but your 100 loyal followers will see it organically. Now you're getting 1100 views for the same investment!

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Best Practices for Maximising ROI (For Video Marketers)

Now that you know the five key methods of measuring the return you're getting for your video marketing dollars, it is time to learn how to hike up that return.

This section will reveal the secrets to getting better view duration, social sharing, conversion rate, comments, and returning viewership for your video campaign.


Lowering your CPM or CPC is the most surefire way to increase your return on investment for paid media. You pay a dollar for a certain number of views. If your cost per view decreases, you get more views for the same amount of money.

So, it is obvious that you need to improve your CPC or CPM to get a better return on your ad dollars. The million-dollar question is how? And the million-dollar answer is with split testing. This is also known as A/B testing.

By testing multiple videos with smaller distribution budgets, you can tell which one is more promising. The engagement rate, especially the view duration, tells you all you need to know. Once you know that one test ad is performing better than the others, it is time to remove the other ads and increase the distribution budget of the successful one.

In your split test, look for the video that has a higher view-through rate (VTR). Remember, a video might have a high click-through rate but a low view-through rate. If that's the case, you can use its headline and thumbnail (the stuff that gets clicks), but not the video itself. You might use the thumbnail of one video from your split test and the content of another.

Higher Engagement Than Industry Average

In an ideal world, all video marketers would get a 100% audience retention rate. But it is unrealistic for any video campaign to have that engagement rate. That's why you should have an idea of the average retention rate in your industry.

Car commercials have a different retention rate compared to infomercials. Once you know the standard retention rate, you can compare your videos' performance against it. Aim for at least 10% higher than your niche's average retention rate.

Sometimes, your videos might have different aims for different consumer segments. Luxury products are often marketed with a two-fold intent. First, the video must inspire direct purchases from affluent customers.

Then, it must inspire desire among those who can't buy the product it advertises. The desires of the masses make luxury products more valuable among the few who can buy them. If you're the marketer in this case, you'll measure view-through ratios among youngsters while looking at the resulting purchases from those in their mid-thirties.

Collateral Organic Exposure

If you tailor your content well to your intended audience's interest, you'll increase your collateral organic views. What are collateral organic views, though? These are the views you get without paying.

For example, when you push a YouTube video with Google Ads, you might reach someone who is curious enough to click through and take a look at your channel. When this person watches other videos on your channel, you get the views for free.

If he shares your ad video or any other video, you will get more free views. Because you don't spend any money on these views, your ROI gets higher without the need for more ad dollars.

It is very difficult to get any noticeable organic collateral views with your first video marketing campaign. You have to get the reps in. Make enough videos and get enough feedback to know what works.

Analytics tools for different platforms can help you understand what's working and what's not. YouTube allows you to see the peaks and drop-offs in audience retention. Study retention analytics and make enough videos: You'll automatically get better at getting organic traffic.

Create Multi-Video Journeys

Multivideo campaigns can be handy in increasing audience involvement. Instead of expecting each video to drive a sale (unrealistic), you expect each video to sell the next video (practical). After repeated exposure, your audience is more likely to trust your brand and buy from it.

Each multi-video campaign must be distributed within the context of the platform. Google Ads allows you to drip-sequence your videos. But some platforms don't, in which case you'll need to manually drop videos one at a time. Moreover, the way you measure your content's engagement will also need to be altered according to the platform.

Cultivate Brand Awareness

Brands with better awareness have a higher ROI for their campaigns. That's why brand awareness is a crucial target and result of video marketing campaigns.

But it is tough to measure precisely because there's no "brand awareness" metric on popular ad-serving networks' dashboards. While the metric is pretty abstract, there are ways to guestimate and maximize it. Here are a few things you can do as a video marketer.

  • Use cohesive branding across your assets - ContentFries and Canva allow you to build branded templates to use across different types of videos (reels, YouTube, etc.) and images (Story posts, feed posts).

  • Leverage sonic branding - Build familiarity by using a theme song or background track.

  • Focus on and inspire one emotion only - Initially, you must associate your brand with one emotion only.

Coca-Cola is the perfect example of a well-marketed brand. Nike, too, is a great case study. Very rarely, if at all, will you see these brands showcasing their products in their ads. But they have built such influence that when it's time to buy, you remember and prioritize them.

Add A Salesperson To The Mix

This is definitely not for every business, but many high-ticket businesses can benefit from lead-generation campaigns. Instead of expecting your videos to be influential enough to drive sales, you expect them to generate leads.

What you get from such campaigns are Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs). Your sales team can further narrow those down to Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs). Each stage of qualification becomes a conversion to track. Car dealerships, real estate, and health insurance are a few industries where marrying marketing and sales in such a way can work.

Keep in mind that brand awareness and lead generation are on opposite ends of the same spectrum. Businesses that benefit from having their logo out there sell most of their stuff in brick-and-mortar stores.

Video marketing for these businesses has just one goal: to make the brand memorable. Video marketing for lead generation is different. Below are some elements that are in lead-generating videos.

  • Offer - Discounts and offers do the opposite of building a brand. But in the context of lead generation, an offer makes sense.

  • Video Sales Letter - The script of a lead-generating video is more like a sales letter, while the script of a brand builder is much closer to a short film.

  • Custom Links - Brand-building ads don't always have links, but lead-generating ones have to link to a form.

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Final Thoughts

Video marketing is part sales, part branding. That's why measuring its effectiveness can be confusing. But if you measure the metrics that matter, you'll avoid the trap of counting just the views or expecting sales from a completely cold audience. Those metrics are view duration, social sharing, conversion rate, comments, and returning viewership. Follow the tips and tactics covered above to optimize each one of these to get a better ROI.