how to calculate engagement rate video analytics

Marketers love data, it’s true.

We embrace both the art and science of our roles, utilizing data and optimizing our efforts to drive demand for our businesses.

But when it comes to video, many of us are still exploring what it means to create and start a video marketing initiative, let alone measure it.

Video analytics are one of the most useful tools for digital marketers and communications professionals to determine the value of their campaigns. By using video’s deep analytics, we’re going to help you change the conversation from budget to ROI. Let’s go.

Are Audiences Watching My Video? Play Rate

The question that plagues many a video marketer: “Are people watching my videos?”

Are you wondering how often a viewer, given the opportunity to view a video, clicks “play”? This is a play rate. Think of it as a “content conversion.” Did they opt-in?

This number is calculated by dividing the views by the impressions.

A landing page conversion would be a similar metric: your prospect is signing up to learn more. In this case however, a play button is wildly more attractive and less barrier-ridden than a lead form, right?

So to keep things straight, this is how we talk about user engagement.

View – when presented with the opportunity to watch the video, the viewer actually clicked play.
Impression – the viewer visited the page where the video lives and had the opportunity to watch the video, but did not.

3 Tips for Increasing Your Video Play Rate

Not thrilled with your play rate? Ask yourself:

  1. Is the still/thumbnail image I’m using interesting? Human faces, close-ups, or high-action shots often perform best. Also, try using text so your viewer understands exactly what’s going to come next. On social media, where most video auto-plays you’ll not just need an interesting thumbnail but an interesting text summary up top and at least three seconds of visual interest.
  2. Is it easy to find your video? You’d be flabbergasted by how many marketers “bury the lead,” or place video content as an afterthought at the bottom of the page. Consider a placement that best aligns with where you want the reader to focus. Utilize heat maps and speak to your web team about testing placement.
  3. Is the playing experience optimal? Are you allowing viewers to play the video on the page or forcing them to open it in an overlay or pop-up? Video typically performs better than videos embedded in an overlay.

Do Viewers Like My Content? Video Engagement Score

Next, let’s look at the engagement score.

An engagement score is calculated by dividing a video into 100 equal segments (100%), and tracking how many people watched each of those segments.

Reviewing this information gives insight to where viewers may have jumped ship before completing the video, or used the play progression to jump around and get to the content they care about.

Simple Ways to Get More Video Engagement

If your engagement score is lower than you’d like, ask yourself:

  1. How’s the content? Do analytics show a specific point in the video where people are dropping off? If so, look at your creative. Is there simply a lull in energy or informative content, or a seismic shift?
  2. Is the content relevant? If the video content isn’t related to the on-page content, viewers will feel duped and bounce back, leaving your site. Remember marketers, a great content strategy keeps promises.
  3. Is this the best place for a video? Consider the user experience when adding video content to your campaigns. Are you adding a video because it enhances the user experience or because you want richer content marketing data? Also, is the content a fit for the placement? Should a product video be shared socially on Facebook? Maybe not.
  4. Looking at a collection of video assets, which have performed exceptionally well? Can you create a template for success? Analyze these for trends you can capitalize on. Review video length, a specific talent on the screen, or a specific topic. Analyze these same elements when looking at a group of videos that have performed poorly. Don’t swear off anything, but look for commonalities in your video analytics – infer then, test.

By reviewing metrics such as the number of views a video receives, the length of time people view, what they are consuming and where they drop off, marketers are able to revise their strategies.

But play rate and engagement rate aren’t the only metrics you can expect.

Advanced video analytics inform marketing automation campaigns, audience segmentation, and lead profiles.

What You Can Review in Your Video Analytics Dashboard

  • Impressions: How many times the video player loads
  • Total Views: How many times the viewer clicked play
  • Play Rates: How many views happened per total impressions
  • Device Types: Which devices your viewer is using
  • Operating Systems: What operating system your viewer is using
  • Referral Source: Where s/he was before coming to your site

Video metrics can give you deep insight into viewer engagement in a way that other formats such as PDFs can’t possibly do, so consider this in your investment.

By tying video performance to business goals video marketing transforms into an effective business tool for the C-suite.

A version of this post appeared on the Brightcove Video Marketing Blog, November 3rd, 2016. It was edited for clarity, brand impartiality, and relevance and republished April 3rd, 2020. Enjoy! 

Read the the Creative B2B Video Series

Awareness: How to Use Video Marketing to Drive Brand Awareness for Your B2B Business

Engagement: Content Marketing Strategy: How to Create Engaging B2B Videos

Conversion: Improving Lead Generation and Opt-Ins with Video Marketing

Retention: How to Use Video to Retain B2B Customers

Advocacy: Create Lasting Relationships Using Video for a B2B Customer Advocacy Campaign