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.
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.