4 Key Video Marketing Metrics To Measure What Matters

What you need to know to eval­u­ate whether your YouTube video cam­paigns are suc­cess­ful.

Greg Jarboe By Greg Jarboe from SEO-PR. Join the discussion » 0 comments

Five years ago, the only met­ric that seemed to mat­ter when eval­u­at­ing the suc­cess of a YouTube video cam­paign was how many “views” it got. Today, mar­keters need to know four oth­er key met­rics to under­stand if a video cam­paign is suc­cess­ful. They are: brand lift, web­site traf­fic, con­ver­sions, and return on mar­ket­ing invest­ment (ROMI).

For­tu­nate­ly, dig­i­tal mar­keters now have the tools they need to mea­sure whichev­er met­ric is most rel­e­vant to their goals. These tools include the replace­ment of YouTube Insight with YouTube Ana­lyt­ics in Novem­ber 2011; the re-imag­in­ing of Google Ana­lyt­ics for today’s mul­ti-screen, mul­ti-device world with the announce­ment that “Uni­ver­sal Ana­lyt­ics” was out of beta in April 2014; as well as the revamp of Videos report­ing to offer more YouTube Ana­lyt­ics-style per­for­mance met­rics right in AdWords for video in Decem­ber 2014.

Here are the four new met­rics that mea­sure what mat­ters in video mar­ket­ing.

1. Brand Lift

Two years before Susan Woj­ci­c­ki was named YouTube CEO in Feb­ru­ary 2014, she intro­duced a new tool, Brand Lift sur­veys in AdWords in Feb­ru­ary 2012. Brand Lift sur­veys are pow­ered by Google Con­sumer Sur­veys, which was launched in April 2012, and mea­sure the effec­tive­ness of your video cam­paigns using sur­vey and search data col­lect­ed from your tar­get audi­ence. Results are accu­rate, occur in real-time, and don’t cost any­thing extra.

Adver­tis­ers are able to set up and run Brand Lift sur­veys along­side their cam­paigns with­out any addi­tion­al tag­ging, third-par­ty set-up, or fees, all from with­in AdWords for video. Here’s how they work:

  • In AdWords, an adver­tis­er designs a basic sur­vey from a list of tem­pla­tized ques­tions about pur­chase intent, brand aware­ness, and oth­er com­mon cat­e­gories.
  • Then they launch their video cam­paign.
  • Auto­mat­i­cal­ly, one group of users will see dis­play ads from the advertiser’s cam­paign, fol­lowed short­ly after­wards by the sur­vey. A sec­ond, sim­i­lar group will not be shown the video ads, but will receive the same sur­vey.
  • Google com­pares the aggre­gat­ed and anony­mous data from the two groups of respon­dents and gives it to adver­tis­ers to mea­sure the impact of their cam­paigns on brand aware­ness, ad recall, and brand inter­est.

2. Website Traffic

In Novem­ber 2012, YouTube launched asso­ci­at­ed web­site anno­ta­tions, which enabled video mar­keters to link to any of their asso­ci­at­ed web­sites direct­ly from their videos. In March 2015, YouTube intro­duced cards, an evo­lu­tion of anno­ta­tions.

Cards can inform view­ers about your asso­ci­at­ed web­site, mer­chan­dise, fundrais­ing, fan fund­ing, anoth­er video, or a playlist. They are avail­able any­time dur­ing the video and, unlike asso­ci­at­ed web­site anno­ta­tions, cards work on mobile devices. Because cards work across mobile and desk­top and give video mar­keters more flex­i­bil­i­ty to share what they want, YouTube’s goal is to have these even­tu­al­ly replace anno­ta­tions.

In YouTube Ana­lyt­ics, the Anno­ta­tions report in YouTube Ana­lyt­ics pro­vides infor­ma­tion on the per­for­mance of video anno­ta­tions and gives engage­ment infor­ma­tion such as click-through rate and close rate for anno­ta­tions on videos, while the Cards report gives you infor­ma­tion on how view­ers are inter­act­ing with cards on your videos on desk­top, mobile, and tablet. Togeth­er, these reports now make web­site traf­fic a real­is­tic met­ric for a YouTube video cam­paign.

3. Conversions

AdWords for video and Google Ana­lyt­ics enable video mar­keters to mea­sure con­ver­sions. A con­ver­sion is an activ­i­ty on your site that is impor­tant to the suc­cess of your busi­ness. These include:

  • Micro con­ver­sions, such as email signups, cre­at­ed accounts, and PDF down­loads, and oth­er activ­i­ties that often pre­cede a pur­chase.
  • Macro con­ver­sions, such as sales trans­ac­tions.

Once you set up con­ver­sion track­ing, you can keep an eye on some impor­tant sta­tis­tics to help you mea­sure whether your video ad cam­paign is suc­cess­ful:

  • Num­ber of con­ver­sions and cost-per-con­ver­sion: You can assign mon­e­tary val­ues to your con­ver­sions when set­ting up track­ing to get detailed rev­enue infor­ma­tion in your reports. Review­ing your total num­ber of con­ver­sions and the val­ue of these con­ver­sions can help you decide if you should increase your bud­get or make changes to your ad groups to attract more tar­get­ed vis­i­tors.
  • Con­ver­sion rate: This helps you track how many clicks lead to valu­able actions like a sale or signup. The con­ver­sion rate list­ed in your account is the num­ber of con­ver­sions divid­ed by the num­ber of ad clicks.
  • See how cus­tomers inter­act with your ads across devices: Some­times your cus­tomers click on your ad on one device, and then make their pur­chase on anoth­er device. These are called cross-device con­ver­sions, and you can see them in the Esti­mat­ed Total Con­ver­sions col­umn in your AdWords account.


Whether you’re using YouTube mar­ket­ing or AdWords for video to increase con­ver­sions such as sales, leads, or down­loads, you’ll want to mea­sure your return on mar­ket­ing invest­ment (ROMI). It is the con­tri­bu­tion to prof­it attrib­ut­able to mar­ket­ing (net of mar­ket­ing spend­ing), divid­ed by the mar­ket­ing “invest­ed” or risked.

ROMI is not like oth­er return-on-invest­ment (ROI) met­rics because mar­ket­ing isn’t the same kind of invest­ment. Instead of mon­ey that is “tied” up in plants and inven­to­ries (often con­sid­ered cap­i­tal expen­di­ture or CAPEX), mar­ket­ing spend­ing is typ­i­cal­ly expensed in the cur­rent peri­od (oper­a­tional expen­di­ture or OPEX).

A nec­es­sary step in cal­cu­lat­ing ROMI is the esti­ma­tion of the incre­men­tal sales attrib­ut­able to mar­ket­ing. Here’s the for­mu­la:

Return on Mar­ket­ing Invest­ment (ROMI) = [Incre­men­tal Rev­enue Attrib­ut­able to Mar­ket­ing ($) * Con­tri­bu­tion Mar­gin (%) — Mar­ket­ing Spend­ing ($)] / Mar­ket­ing Spend­ing ($)

Usu­al­ly, mar­ket­ing spend­ing will be deemed as jus­ti­fied if the ROMI is pos­i­tive.

With these four key met­rics, mar­keters will be able to mea­sure what mat­ters, enabling them to get the strate­gic insights they need to make their video cam­paigns more cus­tomer-cen­tric as well as enable their brands to be vis­i­ble and per­sua­sive in the moments that real­ly mat­ter.

Greg Jarboe

Written by Greg Jarboe

President, SEO-PR

Greg Jarboe is President and co-founder of SEO-PR, an award-winning content marketing agency that was founded in 2003. He’s the author of YouTube and Video Marketing and also a contributor to The Art of SEO, Strategic Digital Marketing, Complete B2B Online Marketing, and Enchantment. He’s profiled in the book Online Marketing Heroes, a frequent speaker at industry conferences, and writes for Tubular Insights and The SEM Post. He’s an executive education instructor at the Rutgers Business School and the Video and Content Marketing faculty chair at Simplilearn.

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