In a Dynamic Video Environment, Marketers Should Go Beyond KPIs to Measure Success

May 30, 2019

Digital advertising has long struggled with its identity. Too often in the transition to digital advertising, we seem to default to the old linear models when it comes to measurement. Broadcast television advertising was the gold standard for such a long time that the digital world has felt it necessary to sell itself as equivalent, as many of the key digital video KPIs can probably attest to. 

Let’s take three of the most typical video KPIs: video completion rate (VCR), viewability and time spent. If a lot of people watched your video all the way through, this is an indication that your video was engaging. It means that more people spent more time with your message. That is good! High VCR or time spent makes for a lower CPV — cost per view. That is also good! But in our fast-moving world full of digital clutter, is completing a video the only measure of its success? Of course not.  

More than a decade ago, even before the rise of digital ads, we learned that when people fast forward ads on their DVRs, they “actually pay more attention and can be influenced by brand images they view only for a fraction of a second.” And we know that the 100 percent viewable ads that run to completion on TV (still!) or are streamed through an OTT service aren’t always being watched by the viewers they play to (hello, bio break!)

If one of the key strengths of digital advertising is brand engagement, then you should go beyond standard KPIs and look deeper at the insights you can glean from ad interaction. Another common KPI, click-through rate, does measure the most fundamental kind of interaction. However, in today’s world where consumers might have hundreds or tabs open on their computer screens or scroll themselves to sleep at night, even the smallest interactions can leave a brand impression. 

The good news? We have the capability to measure so many of these interactions—from the macro to the micro. How long a viewer held her finger down on an ad on her phone. We can measure that. We can also go beyond engagement metrics and measure the overall impact of video through advanced KPIs like increase in sales, foot-traffic, brand awareness, and TV tune-in. Sometimes the point is not to complete the video, but instead to have a viewer click out of the video or move further down the purchase funnel, because this means that the brand and content have successfully been engaged with.

Digital video measurement is not one-size-fits-all, especially not VCR-fits-all. 

Campaign measurement and strategy is not a one-way street. It is important to start with your end goal in mind in order to fully leverage all of the possible interactive measurements now available. Are you trying to drive sales of a certain product or are you trying to learn about what products are driving sales? In the latter case, you are probably not going to design a campaign that is about getting all the way through a single video. Instead, you will likely offer up different slices of content in order to see which products rise to the top. 

For example, a brand might use a carousel to better understand which products consumers spend more time with. This might help the brand optimize the campaign to sell more products. But it might also help inform the brand on what products to order most of for next season. 

Measuring campaign success is a complex balancing act. There is no single approach that works for all campaigns, and VCR should not be the single measurement for all interactive video campaigns. If you optimize for a certain KPI, you may set off a chain reaction that will impact many other potential measures. One of the keys is to work with your media partner to understand all of the different measurements that can be applied to your campaign. And when you set your KPIs, remember that measurement is a strategic tool that can help you do everything from optimizing the campaign to optimizing your business for the long term. Figure out the purpose of the campaign and then set the KPIs that help you get there, knowing that the complete measure of success is often in the details.

– Matthew Feucht, Manager, Operations Strategy

Forward-Looking Statements 

This article contains forward-looking statements. In some cases, you can identify forward-looking statements by the words “may,” “will,” “expect,” “intend,” “plan,” “objective,” “anticipate,” “believe,” “estimate,” “predict,” “project,” “potential,” “continue” and “ongoing,” or the negative of these terms, or other comparable terminology intended to identify statements about the future. All statements other than statements of historical fact are statements that could be forward-looking statements, including, but not limited to, statements about the potential and effectiveness of digital advertising. These forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties, assumptions and other factors that could cause actual results and the timing of events to differ materially from future results that are expressed or implied in the forward-looking statements. Factors that could cause or contribute to such differences include the dynamic and rapidly evolving sector, as well as the highly competitive industry that RhythmOne operates in, which make it difficult to evaluate prospects. These and other risk factors are discussed in RhythmOne’s Annual Report for the period ended March 31, 2018. The forward-looking statements in this press release are based on information available to RhythmOne as of the date hereof, and we assume no obligation to update any forward-looking statements.