In my previous post I took a look at the online video metrics that really matter for media companies, and video publishers and creators. But different industry sectors have different performance goals so let’s focus on the KPIs that B2B, and B2C brands and marketers should be taking into consideration when it comes to their digital video strategies. And with influencer marketing becoming a vital part of the mix, what metrics matter when it comes to that very special blend of earned and owned media?
Video Metrics: B2C and B2B Marketers
Before we tackle the metrics that matter to B2C and B2B marketers, we need to address why online video hasn’t really mattered to a significant portion of this segment. And this isn’t because they haven’t tried using videos or YouTube.
According to the Content Marketing Institute (CMI), 82% of B2C marketers use videos as a content marketing tactic and 82% use YouTube as a social media platform. But only 59% of B2C marketers rate videos as an effective tactic and just 53% rate YouTube as an effective platform. CMI also says that 79% of B2B marketers use videos as a content marketing tactic and 74% use YouTube as a social media platform. But only 62% rate videos as an effective tactic and just 51% rate YouTube as an effective platform.
Now, I realize that I’m looking at the 40% to 50% of the glass that’s empty, instead of the 50% to 60% that’s full. But this group represents one of the last remaining growth areas for the industry. And metrics really matter to B2C and B2B marketers just like they matter to the other two segments that we’ve already covered. However, a very different set of metrics matter.
B2C and B2B marketers – especially the inbound marketers at small and mid-sized businesses – see their websites as the center of their solar system. Yes, they know that YouTube, Facebook, and other video platforms are “out there.” But, they think of these as moons that are orbiting their websites – and some even see video taking precious marketing resources away from other inbound tactics that could drive more website traffic, generate better leads, and increase sales.
Why would they have such a website-centric view of the online video world? Well, their key metrics don’t come from YouTube Analytics or Google AdWords. Their key metrics generally come from Google Analytics (or from one of a handful of other web analytics services). Now, they probably know the “Will It Blend?” success story, which explains how a series of YouTube videos delivered a 700% increase in sales to Blendtec, a division of K-TEC. The ‘Will it Blend’ channel uploaded its first video 9 years ago, and its last one just days ago. Don’t fix what ain’t broken, right? (unless it’s this iPhone 7):
And, many marketers will also have read the Rokenbok case study, which tells the story of how YouTube became the number one source of traffic to the toy company’s website in just three years. Hey, more than four out of five B2C marketers and close to three out of four B2B marketers have a YouTube channel. So, they know that some of their competitors and peers have used video and YouTube effectively. But, far too many inbound marketers at small and mid-sized businesses look at their Google Analytics acquisition overview and see that the number of sessions and conversions generated by Social is small. And if they drill down into social, far too many will discover that the number of sessions and conversions generated by YouTube is minuscule.
YouTube.com is the second largest site on the web, behind only Google.com. So, why does it appear that so few of YouTube’s visitors go to a channel owner’s website next? Because, the only things that Google Analytics is tracking are the people who’ve clicked on a link in a video’s description or on an associated website card. It doesn’t track the people who visit your YouTube channel today and then visit your website 30 to 90 days later. So, go ahead, try explaining that to your executives or clients. And, then try to justify why they should give you a bigger share of the marketing budget to release video content frequently on a recurring schedule and maintain activity on their YouTube channel despite the fact that it will be hard to track the direct impact of these efforts on website traffic, leads, or sales. This is the elephant in the room. So, what metrics would make online video matter to this segment?
Awareness: Let’s start where B2C and B2B marketers start: Google Analytics. How come inbound marketers at small and mid-sized businesses can’t see the data in YouTube Analytics somewhere, somehow in Google Analytics? Wait, let me amend that question. TrueView joined Search, Display, and Shopping campaigns within the core AdWords interface in September 2015. So, they can now drill down to see acquisition, behavior, and conversion data for each AdWords campaign, including the ones on YouTube. But, they still need to jump back and forth between YouTube Analytics and Google Analytics to get a picture of their organic results.
This isn’t a rhetorical question. Google’s Universal Analytics debuted in April 2014. It introduced a set of features that changed the way data was collected and organized in Google Analytics, so B2C and B2B marketers could get a better understanding of how users interact with their online content across desktops, smartphones, and tablets. So, why isn’t there a way to roll out the User ID feature to help inbound marketers at small and mid-sized businesses get a better understanding of how users interact with their online content across YouTube and websites? Now, this would be an online video metric that really matters.
Attitude: It’s also worth noting that Google Analytics is good at telling you “what” people did on your website. But, it doesn’t tell you “why” they did it. Fortunately, Google Consumer Surveys enable website owners to add customer surveys to their sites in order to measure attitudes.
Here’s how they work. You can place a free satisfaction survey directly on your website so you can get feedback right when it’s top of mind. And Google Consumer Surveys has created four questions that are ready for you to use. You give them your URL and create your survey, and they’ll give you the code to paste into your site. And, while these default questions are free, you can add customized questions for just $0.01 per response or $5.00 for 500 responses. So, inbound marketers at small and mid-sized businesses can add a question like, “How did you hear about us?” Then, among the possible answers, they could include “a video” or “YouTube.” Hey, for $5.00, wouldn’t you want to see the answers to that question from recent visitors to you website? Wouldn’t this also become an online video metric that really matters to this segment?
Behavior: CMI’s research recently asked B2C marketers, “What is THE MOST important metric that your organization uses?” The answers were: sales (30%), sales lead quality (13%), brand lift (12%), higher conversion rates (11%), website traffic (8%), data capture (5%), and other (21%). When CMI asked B2B marketers the same question, the answers were: sales lead quality (31%), sales (23%), higher conversion rates (9%), sales lead quantity (7%), brand lift (6%), website traffic (5%), subscriber growth (3%), SEO ranking (3%), and other (13%).
So, these behaviors are important bucket of metrics for this segment. This is why inbound marketers at small and mid-sized businesses are focused on Google Analytics. But, what’s the measurable impact of adding a YouTube video or playlist on your website by embedding it? Does a session last longer? If it does, then what goal value would you give that behavior? And, if someone watches an embedded YouTube video on your website and then clicks on one of your associated website cards, riddle me this: Will it take them right back to the page where your video is embedded or, since they’re already on that page, to some other page farther down the sales funnel? It doesn’t seem like the YouTube player was designed with this in mind.
Fortunately, there’s an alternative. And I wrote about it last year in a column entitled, “How GoPro and Ulta Beauty Get Video Embedding Right.” As I said back then, video marketers might want to add different calls to action (CTAs) to the same YouTube video or playlist in different places. On YouTube, you might ask viewers to like or share your video, add comments, watch more of your videos, or subscribe to your channel. On your website, you might ask customers to sign up for your newsletter, fill out a form to receive more information, or purchase your product.
So, how do you do this? Well, a few websites have started to brand-wrap their YouTube videos with other players. For example, the GoPro Channel – the one on its website, not the one on YouTube – uses a custom playlist and player. There are other options from JW Player, the largest independent video player in the world and the third largest overall behind YouTube and Facebook and Wistia, a commercial service for hosting and sharing videos online. Wrapping YouTube videos with other players can provide B2C and B2B marketers with online video metrics about website behavior that really matter.
Video Metrics: For Influencer Marketers
Awareness: In addition to writing for Tubular Insights, I’m also an instructor in the Rutgers Business School Executive Education (RBSEE) program. And I teach a module in the Mini-MBA certificate program on Social Media Marketing entitled, “Engaging influencers through social media.” And the first thing that I teach participants is how to identify the right influencers for their business.
And I tell the executives in my class that the right influencers should combine:
- Reach: This is a measure of total audience size. Things like the number of YouTube subscribers go into this metric.
- Resonance: This is a measure of how much activity someone creates when they publish and the level of interaction with this person’s content. Things like engagements are good measures of someone’s resonance.
- Relevance: This is a measure of how relevant someone is to a topic and how much they talk about it. Relevance includes how often someone creates videos that use keywords; the recency of their keyword usage (more recent videos are weighed more heavily); the diversity of the keywords used by an influencer; and the placement of keywords (title vs. description).
These are the online video metrics that really matter for influencer discovery.
Attitude: But, you need a different set of metrics to measure the impact of your influencer marketing campaign on customer attitudes. Why? Because influencer engagement isn’t just a two-way relationship where both parties need to see the value for it to work. A successful influencer marketing campaign also needs to have a measurable impact on the people who trust these influencers.
Fortunately, there is a second set of metrics for this – and I wrote about them back in March in a column entitled, “Do You Really Know the Impact of Social Video on Your Brand?” As I said back then, the credit for developing these metrics belongs to Avinash Kaushik, the Digital Marketing Evangelist for Google. These metrics are:
- Conversation Rate, the ratio of comments per video to overall followers. Is what you are saying interesting enough to spark the most social of all things: a conversation?
- Amplification Rate, the ratio of shares per video to overall followers. Is what you are saying so incredible and of value that viewers will forward it to everyone they know?
- Applause Rate, the ratio of favorites per video to overall followers. Do viewers think the content you’ve posted is interesting, even if they won’t comment on it or forward it on?
Conversation, Amplification, and Applause rates will help you to measure the real active engagement of users with your influencer marketing campaign. And they provide the bucket of metrics that matter in the middle of this process.
Behavior: But, influencer marketing agencies and teams are increasingly being asked to connect their social media marketing metrics to business outcomes. And that means they need to connect what they’ve accomplished in YouTube, Facebook, and other social media with Google Analytics, so they can calculate the economic value of an influencer marketing campaign.
How do you do that – especially when your business or client already has active YouTube marketing and Facebook marketing campaigns that don’t involve influencers? Well, there’s more than one way to skin that cat, but here how I solve this problem. I use the Google Analytics Campaign URL Builder to easily add campaign parameters to URLs so I can track Custom Campaigns in Google Analytics. By adding campaign parameters to your URLs, you can identify the campaigns that send traffic to your site. When a user clicks a referral link, these parameters are sent to Analytics, so you can see the effectiveness of each campaign in your reports. Then, I use Bitly or the Google URL Shortener at goo.gl to take a long URL with three or more parameters and squeeze it into fewer characters to make a link that is easier to share, tweet, or email to friends. These short links are also more suitable for the description, annotations and cards, or end screen in an influencer’s video.
Then, the results of an influencer marketing campaign don’t get blended or buried somewhere in your Google Analytics Reports. You simply click on Campaigns (or Other) and drill down to see data on Acquisition, Behavior, and Conversions from each influencer marketing campaign.
I realize this appears a little “kludgy,” but it recently enabled me to report some interesting results to RBSEE for a modest, pro-bono campaign (which would have cost $2,323) to promote the launch of an accelerated certificate program that would explore the impact of the Internet of Things (IoT) on the next generation of supply chain strategy. I was able to report that the video we had created to promote the program had received 1,715 views. That isn’t particularly impressive, is it? I also reported that the video and some outreach had helped us to engage two influencers, one a blogger and the other a reporter. Hey, for a geeky topic like this, that’s not especially surprising, is it? And by using the Google Analytics Campaign URL Builder, I was able to report that our campaign had generated 102 sessions on RBSEE’s website from 70 new users, who spent an average of 2:25 on the site looking at an average of 2.44 pages per session. Okay, that doesn’t sound remarkably amazing, does it? But, here are the results that totally astound my client. Our modest campaign generated six registrations at $4,995 per student for $29,970 in incremental revenue. That’s a short-term return on marketing investment (ROMI) of 12.9X. And this explains why our campaign has been shortlisted for one of the US Search Awards, which will be announced next month.
That’s what I mean by connecting social media marketing metrics to business outcomes. And that’s how you can connect what you’ve accomplished in YouTube, Facebook, and other video platforms with Google Analytics, so you can calculate the economic value of an influencer marketing campaign. And, yes, this is a very different set of metrics than other segments should use. But, they really matter, too.