Skip to content

Ways to measure your video's ROI 


You’ve researched the impact of video, calculated a budget and are eager slot it into your marketing mix. The only bottleneck is getting senior leaders to approve the budget.

“Video can be expensive, how are you going to measure the return on investment (ROI)?” they ask. You want to scream “Trust me!” But you know they deserve hard data. Here’s how to hit them with concrete facts:

Setting SMART Goals

One way to start is by setting SMART goals. SMART goals are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound objectives. This time-tested technique has been around since 1981. By articulating goals before you begin video production, you’ll arm yourself with the right tools to measure video ROI.

Then what? Let’s walk through a few broad categories where you can apply SMART goals.

Company overviews and image pieces

Public service announcements, images pieces and company overviews usually fall into the nebulous category of brand awareness. They provide tremendous value to an organization, but it can be difficult to know what to measure.

Let’s assume you’re posting an online video and promoting it with social media. Metrics you can use to track results include, social media shares, retweets, video views, watch time, geographical reach and traffic sources.

Scored a high view count? That could mean you wrote a great title for the video and your thumbnail captured viewers’ interest. Tallied a longer watch time? Kudos, the video didn’t just draw them in, you truly connected with viewers’ expectations.

SMART goal example: Our first quarter goal for this company overview video is to generate X video views and increase website traffic to our home page by X%.

With SMART goals such as video views and website traffic, use tools like YouTube and Google analytics along with a Campaign URL Builder to measure the results of your promotion efforts. If these metrics don’t cut it, check out “Measuring the Impact of Online Video on Brand Metrics” for Google’s opinion.

How-to, training and Q&A videos

If I had a dollar for every time “engagement” is mentioned in the context of marketing… I digress. It’s almost a given. But engagement metrics often come into play with videos that fall into the “explainer” category.

Let’s say you’re launching a tip series or training series inspired by feedback from customers, your sales team or call center staff. They know consumers are clamoring for details about a specific product or service. Engagement metrics reveal whether the video content you produce is actually addressing the feedback.

If it’s not, the metrics can pinpoint ways to improve future episodes. Metrics include, social media shares, likes, retweets, comments, subscribers and watch time, among others. Video platforms like YouTube and Wistia can show you the average watch-time on a video. YouTube analytics will tell you how many subscribers you’re gaining from the tip series.

SMART goal example: Within the next X months, our goal is to:

  • Reduce call center volume by X for the top five frequently-asked questions about product X.
  • Gain X number of YouTube subscribers each month to start building an audience.
  • Establish a watch-time baseline for the series

Real World Example:Mailchimp’s Iterative Process for Support Videos explains how the company uses engagement metrics, such as video analytics, to refine tutorials.

With SMART goals in mind, for example, you can work with the call center to measure whether call volume decreased on a particular topic and find ways to promote the series to customers.

Lead Generation and Sales

If your company is using a Marketing Automation Platform (MAP) such as Hubspot, Marketo or Pardot, then you’re no stranger to the term lead generation. For those new to the concept, here’s how the process typically works:

A website visitor lands on your page promoting something of value, such as a webinar, video or whitepaper. But to access the content, the visitor must fill out a form with their email address. Once they hit the submit button, the contact information is passed onto your company’s Customer Relationship Management system (CRM).

Here’s an example. Let’s say your company sells $3,000 widgets. As part of your online marketing strategy, you’re offering valuable product insights through an eBook people can download from your website for free. The problem: few people are signing up to grab the offer. If only you could generate leads, you know your sales team can close the deal. Of the 10 leads you do get per month, they’ve closed a whopping 70 percent or $21,000/month.

Use video to boost conversions
You borrow a tip from the publishing industry. They’ve recently latched onto book video trailers to promote new titles. You decide to invest $6,000 to produce an ebook trailer video. After loading the video on the landing page, you see a 50-percent jump in conversions. Suddenly you’re racking up 15 leads per month and closing roughly 10.5, resulting in an additional $10,500 in sales. In one month, you’ve more-than covered the cost of your video.

What to do next

This post only scratches the surface of measuring ROI for video. Our advice? Set a few realistic SMART goals for your video marketing efforts and keep it simple. No need to overwhelm yourself in the beginning with every granular detail.

If you’re looking for more advice on having the ROI discussion with your senior leaders, I’d recommend Greg Jarboe’s post, Video will account for 79% of global internet traffic by 2020. He offers a unique perspective on gaining buy-in from your organization’s leaders and strengthening the link between sales and marketing when it comes to video ROI.

Video Production Planning and Budget GuidePLUM VIDEO EXAMPLES REFERENCED IN THIS POST