Digital Video Measurement: There Will Never Be a Nielsen, So What Are Your Options?
When the first Nielsen ratings for television were released in 1950, the television world accepted Nielsen as their rating standard and it became the basis for everything. Then, things changed. The same can't be said for the digital world, as there is no global reporting standard for the various forms of digital video measurement that companies are now using.
There are 2.5 quintillion bytes of data being produced from different sources daily — and software is being purchased on top of that data to help make sense of it. In order to demonstrate ROI, modern digital marketers are becoming incredibly creative in the way they position and leverage these insights to inform their campaigns, strategy and measurement.
In order to get the data that they need, new forms of measurement are constantly being created and leveraged by digital marketing teams. For example, NBCUniversal created its own ad metric, CFlight, earlier this year in order to measure digital impressions. While this measuring system may be helpful internally, without a formal method of industry-wide benchmarking , it’s somewhat impossible to make apples-to-apples comparisons to competitors’ content.
I can think of several ways modern marketers can approach the lack of formalized method for measuring digital video content:
Don’t Just Rely on Views
Videos views are one very basic data point. While it may be an effective way to determine reach, it says nothing about the audience, or if the video is reaching the right people.
Video views are also potentially misleading. The viewer may not always be watching the ad because they’re interested in the product. Perhaps they watched because their favorite athlete is the star, or they just enjoy the ad, or they like the song, but not the product. There is no definite way to tell if they are watching at all, which is not a new issue, but one that has remained relevant since the early days of TV. How about television prior to the controversial People Meter? Brands and advertisers could not even tell if people were in the room with the TV. Bottom line, number of views has long been the favorite way to record a piece of digital media’s success rate, but there’s so much more to the story.
Focus on User Sentiment
We talk a lot about what viewers are doing, but what about the things they’re saying? Performing routine sentiment analysis helps to provide insight into the opinions and feelings of the target audience.
Conducting these types of analyses is a great way to avoid misleading data.
And while there is software on the market that can perform automated sentiment analysis, you’ve got to do the work — pair this technology with a higher level of human analysis to validate results. Having this type of qualitative feedback will help marketers better understand the needs of their audience so they can develop a higher-quality product — and project brief — that is more aligned with those needs.
Include a Call to Action
Though it might seem basic, including a call to action somewhere in the video is an easy way to learn whether the view turned into a transaction. Simple call to action buttons are the most tangible way for marketers to judge the effectiveness of their video — for example, the marketing team at Jaguar will know their video is successful if it drives viewers to test drive a car. In order to collect that data, users should be guided to a call to action. In the case of Jaguar, they should “click here to test drive.” With this simple step, marketers can make a connection between a video view and interaction with the product.
Don’t Overthink It
With the huge amount of data produced daily, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. However, it’s unproductive and unrealistic to analyze everything. Try not to overthink it. Pick two or three metrics and measurement methodologies that will best determine what success looks like for your brand. Is it number of video views combined with number of social engagements (likes, comments, etc.)? Is it number of clicks? Number of new followers? Once you figure out what metrics paint the best picture of success for your brand, stick to them for awhile to get the most accurate measure of video impact.
To sum it all up:
- Don’t accept the basic “view” metric. Do more.
- Find out what people are saying
- Include calls to action
- And have a point of view internally that is consistent, focused and sustains for more than one campaign.
Though there may not be a standard rating like there is in television, bringing a cross-section of these different analytic methods to your strategy can give you accurate, useful data for your digital media.
As SVP at StudioNow, the number one content production platform for marketers, Ben leads hyper-creative, execution-focused video teams embedded in companies like Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, Humana, and Bridgestone, while driving strong production partnerships with Fortune 100 brands and leading creative agencies. Under Ben’s direction, teams have won numerous awards & recognition developing and producing work for clients such as Procter & Gamble, Red Bull, Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, PwC, IBM, AOL, L'Oreal Paris, Toyota and Hyundai. Ben’s teams are committed to providing the value of a scalable, agile model for innovative, technology-based direct video production. Ben graduated from Princeton University with a degree in Architecture.