How to measure the success of your YouTube campaigns

Nearly 60% of UK web users use YouTube when trying to find out how to do something, and 83% of under 35s believe they can find out absolutely anything they need to learn via YouTube channels, reported Think With Google, recently. In fact, we’ve been talking about the importance of useful content, including video, for quite some time now. Remember our Micro-moments post?

Yet, video is often dismissed by many businesses; there’s a large upfront cost in content creation and traditional campaigns generally perform better when success is measured by last click conversions.

However, that’s not to say video is a poor option, it just needs to be looked at from a different perspective and tracked in the right way.

By looking at the right metrics, you can prove the value of video advertising beyond the typical click and conversion way of thinking. The key is to remember you’re targeting a user while they are preoccupied with something else (AKA, you are partaking in a spot of interruption marketing), and it is completely unreasonable to expect your target audience to drop everything they’re doing to follow your call to action. Would you?

They don’t owe you attention. You need to earn it.

Brands should be focusing on engaging the user, building a relationship, and planting their brand in the minds of their target audience, so when the time comes to fulfill a need, the audience already have a connection with your brand.

Set your brand objectives

When deciding how to measure the success of your YouTube advertising campaign, the first step should always be considering what you aim to achieve. Typically, a video campaign will be focused around creating awareness or demand; by informing, entertaining and engaging with potential customers. Success will be measured very differently from a campaign fulfilling a search demand.

From this starting point, a measurement plan can be created to decide which Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) would prove this objective has been met. These KPIs can range from brand awareness/recollection, website engagement and increasing social shares to assisting conversions, shortening the conversion path or increasing brand searches, and each should be measured in a different way.

Measurement metrics in Google Ads

Google Ads would be the obvious place to track performance and cost. Data will have a high level of accuracy (assuming your tracking is correct) and is highly trusted by marketers looking for trends to plan their next campaign by.

Views are a great figure to determine the reach to engaged users, with a view only counting if the ad is watched for 30 seconds, or the duration if the video is shorter.

An expansion on the basic ‘views’ metric is ‘video played to’ quartiles, which provides percentages of users who viewed to 25%, 50%, 75% and 100% of the video. This additional insight can determine how engaged users are with the content, flag any potential creative issues and highlight the importance of getting your message across early.

For example, if your ad is 1 minute long and a high percentage of viewers aren’t watching past the 50% quartile, it’s worth testing a 30-second ad next time.

For brands with an active YouTube channel, earned views can be another great measurement of engagement. An earned view is assigned when a user goes on to view another video on your channel. While it may not have a direct value to a brand, it’s a highly valuable statistic to backup targeting criteria and video content, as these people have chosen to engage further with the brand (with no additional cost too – WIN!)

Conversions are also available for video campaigns, but you really need to consider if your proposition is strong enough to warrant someone leaving YouTube to convert there and then, and in most cases the answer will be no. A much better metric to focus on would be view-through-conversions which tracks sales off the back of an impression (video view), rather than a click (to visit the website). While we can’t say with 100% certainty that the advert was solely responsible for this, it’s safe to assume it played a role in that conversion.

Tracking brand search trends

On top of the metrics Google Ads provides, there is also some potential influence away from YouTube that it is advisable to monitor. The increased brand awareness should correlate with an increase in brand searches, which can be monitored in a few different ways.

Depending on your preference, data can be taken from Analytics, Google Ads (if you run a brand campaign), search console and Google Trends. By pinpointing the date you launched the video, you can track if the number of people searching for your brand has increased in the following weeks and months.

However, before you get overly excited, it is worth remembering that just because you launched the video on that date, doesn’t make it solely responsible for an uplift in brand searches – this can also be affected by other marketing activities, press exposure, social media and seasonality.

Brand lift survey

At higher spend levels, additional offerings from Google become available to help understand the measurement and success of your advertising. Brand lift is a solution that aims to measure awareness and ad recall through a small customer survey.

How does it work?

Two audiences are created from your targeting criteria, which are used as test and control. One audience will be exposed to ads as usual, while the other will not see your video advert. Following this, both audiences are given an identical question to measure their awareness and recall.

This does require some co-ordination with your Google representative, but it’s a great way to get another set of data to analyse and further prove the value of the video campaign.

So what?

There’s no denying video has a huge potential and it’s currently under-utilised by many brands, plus it can be hugely cost effective, especially against traditional TV advertising!

However, it plays a very different role in the purchase process which must be reflected in how you measure and optimise campaigns.

The key to success is understanding that video format advertising contributes to the top of the considered purchase funnel; driving awareness and getting your brand in front of the right audience. As such, it commands a different set of metrics, and understanding how the format interacts with other forms of digital advertising to achieve your end objective.

Had some success with you YouTube campaigns or want a personal response to your queries? Give us a shout over on Twitter @AGY47_ or our LinkedIn page. We’d love to hear from you! Anything more, use the Contact Form below, as the Paid Marketing team are all ears to understand more about the challenges brands today are facing getting their video campaigns to the level that their customers expect from them!