are you using data to fuel video creation?Although marketers want to create tons of video to meet the ever-growing demand from savvy and independent customers, good intentions have yet to translate into measurable results for most.

My bet is that you’ve created a bunch of videos, but you’re not sure if they’re contributing to the bottom line. This is because – as I’m sure you’ve discovered – merely being good at producing and releasing video isn’t enough if you’re looking to see return on investment. The “post and pray” method won’t cut it when it comes to generating pipeline.

It’s true many brands have their sights set on becoming media companies and content machines, and it’s also true that you can connect videos to real ROI, but video marketing has to start with a clear plan outlining your purpose, your KPIs, and your planned tactics to push your content to it’s full potential. There are also a lot of small things you can do to make sure your videos perform.

In this post I’ll discuss three critical questions you should ask before you pick up that digital camera or publish anything else to your YouTube channel.

1. What’s the purpose of my video content?

As it stands, you might be on the video marketing bus, but you’re only there because you saw all the cool kids jump on. Well, no matter your inspiration, you need a clear reason behind producing video because your motives will dictate how successful you become.

If you’re similar to the 46% of surveyed marketers who are prioritizing brand awareness in 2014, your videos might sit on the Internet waiting to be watched and shared. However, if you’re prioritizing the use of data and insights to grow (as only 29% of marketers are claiming to be focused on) you’re likely already looking for ways to actively optimize your videos to help their performance with your target market.

My advice? Make a list of five quantifiable things you want your video to achieve. For example, you could aim to:

  • Collect X amount of leads with your videos
  • Maintain the attention span of over 60% of your target audience watching right until the end of each piece of content
  • Use calls to action to direct viewers in a linear path across your sales offerings to improve sales enablement
  • Connect your video marketing to your CRM so you can use video viewing history to identify your hottest prospects and gain incredible sales context
  • Increase your click through rate for nurture campaigns by using video assets in email.

Overall, before your next video is “in the can”, make sure you understand exactly what actions you want your viewers to take and this will ensure your video exists for a specific business-driven reason.

It’s not enough to entertain your audience (most brands are already doing this, but it’s only driving awareness, not real results), focus instead on driving action.

2. How am I measuring the success of my video content?

You evaluate the performance of all other marketing activities and video should be no exception. You can’t market what you can’t measure, and no skimping out here – your total video view count isn’t a viable success metric. 6,000 people may have watched your video, but this says nothing about whether they were your target audience or if they watched the content until the very end. You can access the metrics that actually matter using a video marketing platform.

In the next two weeks determine a set of criteria you’ll use to justify your investment in video. Coming back to the video goals you set up as part of question one, you could measure or track:

  • Attention span and drop-off rates: Do >60% of your audience make it to the end of your videos on average?
  • Click through rates: Split test the results for email content with and without video content.
  • The total amount of your video content leads consume: How many videos do individual leads watch in a day? A month? A week?
  • Which specific videos (or combos of videos) did converted leads watch? Discover which video campaigns are driving conversion. Are there any trends?
  • Click through rates on select video thumbnails: Split test thumbnail images and identify which entices your audience to click and watch.
  • Device type: What type of device are your viewers using to consume your video content? Consuming video on mobile is quite a bit different than on a desktop and this can influence how you package content.
  • Geographic Location: Is your content relevant to the geographic demographic from which most of your viewers are watching?

These details will give you incredible insight into the digital behaviour of your prospects, and can fuel your video plans going forward. If you notice that drop-off rates are too high at the start of your videos, you can adjust future content so that the intro isn’t too long, for example.

There’s a lot of things your data can tell you and the future of video marketing belongs to those that start listening and making informed content decisions.

3. How am I optimizing my video for lead capture and sales enablement?

You might think you’re doing all you can to capture views, but there’s more to it as I’ve suggested. Rather than using videos to merely gain attention, why not implement small actions to generate leads and inspire action?

When planning your next video, decide whether you’ll include email gates (particularly good for detailed content your audience really wants access to), or what kind of call to action you’ll add to the video to guide your lead further down the sales funnel. The end of your explainer video could prompt a white paper download, or could lead to a set of product videos, for example – it’s up to you to build a meaningful path to conversion and video is a great way to do this as visitors on your website will consume a lot of video content if available.

Get Strategic Today

The Modern Marketer's Guide to VideoOn a whole, if you start your video strategy by seriously considering these three critical questions, you’ll see an improvement not only in the quality of your video marketing, but also in the results you achieve.

If you’re looking to become a strategic video marketer, download our resource, The Modern Marketer’s Guide to Making the Most out of Video.
Packed with B2B video examples and advice for getting started with video metrics, it’s a piece you don’t want to miss.

Editor’s note: This post originally appeared as contributed content on the Salesforce blog

Michael Litt