There is no denying the power of YouTube when you are trying to engage the public in a social marketing campaign. It is the number one entertainment site with 99 million unique visitors per month –51% of online viewers. As we upload our videos to YouTube there is always the hope that we are reaching the audience we intend to and are engaging them in a way that we want them to engage. Thanks to YouTube Insights, we have a tool that helps us better understand ‘the who, what, when, where and how’ of our viewing audiences. But can this type of data really tell us if our videos are effective?
A couple of my colleagues here at the Ad Council recently conducted a cross-campaign analysis of our PSAs viewed on YouTube. They looked at total views, sharing, comments and audience attention for 27 Ad Council TV PSAs. What they found is that each of these measurement components is not necessarily correlated with another. For instance, one video may have low audience attention but elicit a high number of shares. Another video may have a lot of views but not that many comments. What we gleaned from their analysis is that, in order to determine any effectiveness in audience engagement, we need to first determine the true objective of our video. As such, if you are trying to reach a niche target you might not want number of views or comments as your best measure of engagement success; number of shares and/or audience attention might be better measures. Once you have determined your key objectives and measures, here are a few things to keep in mind when analyzing and interpreting your results:
– The description of your video is really important—if viewers expect one thing and get something different they will drop off, leaving you will low audience attention
– If audience attention drops mid-way through your video (as identified by Insight’s “Hot Spot” feature), consider editing the content and/or adding annotations to keep viewers engaged
– Videos with celebrities and/or humor typically elicit more views, shares and audience attention
– The more polarizing/ controversial videos obtain the most comments (it is typically the lovers and haters that have the most to say)
– Videos that provide new information to an audience elicit more shares
– The demographic information collected through YouTube Insight is based on viewers who are logged-in to their YouTube account. You should therefore take caution when interpreting your audience reach since most viewers are not logged-in
Have you had successes and challenges using these insights?