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What are the right metrics for brands to evaluate YouTube video success?

When it comes to measuring a video ad’s success, the most frequently asked question is “How many views?”

Although views may be the most comprehensive scorecard for the general public to evaluate, they’re not always the best way to track the performance of a brand’s goals. Therefore, Google BrandLab developed a four-stage exercise to help businesses in identifying the right KPIs (or key performance indicators) for different campaign objectives.

But before that, we should unpack the real question: “Which KPIs should we be tracking to understand if our video campaign is successful?”

Question 1: What is the principal marketing objective for the campaign?

When planning a marketing campaign, the brand team typically hopes their video advertising will increase brand awareness, encourage consumers to search for more info, and ultimately boost sales.

However, consumers may not go through this linear purchase-decision process because of the massive information they receive from word-of-mouth, reviews, social media, and other ads. Fortunately, brands can organize their target audiences into three main categories:

  • Unfamiliar with a product
  • On the fence about a product
  • Ready to act

Whenever marketers start a new marketing campaign, they have to determine which stage of the journey their customers are in, and prioritize that category as the main campaign objective.  

Question 2: What are the best KPIs to use for that objective?

The second step, after determining  the goals for the campaign,is to find the right KPIs that show the ads’ progress and impact. BrandLab designed this chart, which listed out what KPIs are aligned to each campaign goal:


Question 3: What are the best video analytics tools to measure your KPIs?

After deciding on the relevant KPIs for the campaign,  the next step is to choose the right tool to measure performance. There are three main tools you can utilize to evaluate your YouTube video marketing campaign – YouTube Analytics, Google Adwords reporting, and Brand Lift.

Google Analytics & Adwords and YouTube Analytics help teams to measure video advertising quantitative metrics, such as watch time, view through rate, and clicks. This information gives you an easy-to-digest overview of the campaign results.

However, if you plan  to evaluate the video advertising performance based on whether viewers change perception and attitude towards brands, Brand Lift is the better solution for you. It interprets metrics qualitatively to optimize brand awareness, consideration, or purchase intention.

Even if you have no video advertising on air, you can still get to know your customers via Google Consumer surveys. The survey does not necessarily tie to a specific campaign, it can be a general questionnaire to ask any question related to your brand and products. For example, surveys about the online shopping experience or adjective association with your brand and competitors’ can all be useful to gauge deeper insights.


Question 4: How will you optimize for your KPIs?

After figuring out the right KPIs and the perfect tools to measure, it comes naturally that you would like to find out “What’s a good industry or competitive benchmark?”

Unfortunately, a single standard that applies to all brands does not exist. Each brand has its own challenges, campaign objectives and creative guidelines for video ads.

Consequently, the best way is to set your own goal. First, consider comparing your performance over time. Such as current versus past campaign results, sales during peak season versus off-season or promotion on weekdays versus weekends. Additionally, in-campaign comparison is  an effective method. You can use A/B testing to see the click-through rate of the different banners or product descriptions. By adjusting the creative, you might develop a baseline for future reference based on the more successful tests.

The benefit of digital marketing is the ability to do real-time optimization with low cost. Don’t be pressured by the YouTube views at the beginning. You should view the process as an experiment, the campaign design, measurement tools and creative elements are all components of a formula to success. The KPI is a reasonable way to evaluate campaign performance, but don’t let the numbers limit your possibilities. Be bold and innovative!!

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