The astronomical success of YouTube as a social distribution site for online video has become both a blessing and a curse for modern marketers. YouTube, Vimeo, and other distribution channels offer us platforms to dramatically expand the reach of our content, which is incredible for marketers and online video producers. If approached in the right way, truly exceptional content may “go viral” and take your brand to places that you never would have imagined. But therein lies the trap, and something we all need to be careful not to get pulled too far into.
View counts, view counts, view counts.
How many times have you heard people referencing the number of views of a video as the measure of success? I can almost hear Jerry Seinfeld or Larry David yelling “enough with the view counts, already!”. But, admit it, when was the last time you used the same metric for some of your own videos?
But here’s the thing. I do it too (*gasp* WHAT?!). There, I said it. And let’s face it, we all want as many people as possible watching our videos. But we need to be extremely careful not to get trapped into thinking (or advocating) that more views equal more success, or that this is the metric that should define the success of a campaign or video asset. And we definitely need to be careful about running to our CEO to say, “this video just hit 10,000 views!”. This view count issue is a rabbit hole that gets harder and harder to get out of each time you reference it.
“THIS video got 10,000 views and THAT video got 15,000. Our next video better get 20,000 views or we aren’t trending in the right direction!… Wait a minute, I have no idea how I got those views in the first place, so now I’m going to need to spend more money than I likely should to promote the video and hit some absurd view count.”
Striving for more views might make sense if you’re a media company that makes money on every view, but not for the rest of us that are trying to use video to achieve very different business goals such as lead generation or brand awareness within our niche markets.
Addressing the view count issue
I came across a podcast from Scott Stratten of UnMarketing today that gave some great narrative around this very idea (actually, it’s an unpodcast, but I digress). The UnMarketing team shares some great insights on how we often take video stats out of context and how the would ‘viral’ should be thought of as “expanding your reach” and not “a million views”:
Now here’s the ah-ha moment…
Marketers need to think about what they’re trying to achieve with their videos and ensure they can track and report on the actual metrics that matter so they can measure and report on results in a way that relates to their goals. If your goal is to get more views, then yes, you should report on view count. However, if your goal is to drive more qualified leads into the sales funnel and increase pipeline production, then you should ensure that you can track and report on which videos are helping to convert prospects through the funnel and which ones are directly impacting the sales pipeline.
For more on Marketing Metrics
Be sure to check out our helpful post on how to measure video ROI (great for those using Salesforce), and if you’d like to know which video metrics are especially useful for tracking in general, try out this post with the three questions all video marketers should ask themselves.