Marketing Bootcamp

3 Secrets to Online Video Success

3 Secrets to Online Video Success
Image credit: REUTERS | Toru Hanai

Nearly 35 years ago, video -- and MTV -- killed the proverbial radio star, and today, online video is transforming how startups can raise brand awareness.

Videos designed to evoke strong emotions and inspire online sharing are helping businesses to vastly expand their audience. Take this classic clip from startup Dollar Shave Club. The 2012 video has garnered more than 18 million views to date, and, within the year it was posted, the company received over $10 million in venture capital funding.

When it comes to online video success, you need to know how to get your video seen by the people who will publicize it further. Here's how to do it:

Related: Not All Viral Videos Are Good Content Marketing

1. There’s more to success than just views.

Brands often tout video views as if they’re the purest metric of success, but that’s just part of the picture. While views are helpful for measuring brand awareness, they are not reliable in directing further action. It’s important to identify your campaign goals and the corresponding metrics:

  • Completion rate is best for brand recall. Completion rate is the percentage of times your video was played to the end. If high completion rate is your goal, create content which grabs audience attention quickly, and optimize toward audiences where you see high completion rates.
  • Clickthrough rate is ideal to direct traffic toward your website. While clickthrough rate demonstrates how often people who see your video click on it, remember that it is inversely related to completion rate. You’ll need to decide whether you want viewers to complete your video or click on it, because you cannot optimize one without weakening the other.
  • Share rate is most important if you want to foster word of mouth. To promote sharing, content should evoke strong emotions -- be it humor, empathy or nostalgia -- and have prominently displayed brand logo and sharing icons. The stronger the reaction, the higher the share rate.

2. Take advantage of key analytic tools.

In the modern digital landscape, there is infinite data on consumers’ purchasing habits, so why not use it to your advantage?

Here are three key analytic tools and what makes each tool valuable:

Related: 4 Tips for Telling Your Story in the Video Content Your Audience Demands

  • Third-party data: Tracking tags from Sizmek and Google Analytics verify whether your campaign is performing as expected in terms of views, completions, clickthroughs and shares.
  • Audience Tracking: Nielsen, OCR and comScore VCE provide you with third-party validation that your target audience is indeed being reached.
  • Surveys: Surveys provided by Insight Express can measure old-school metrics, such as brand recall and brand affinity. 

3. Select the right campaign strategist.

A steady, guiding hand is also needed to be truly effective in online video. With actual people monitoring your campaign, they can identify overarching themes and optimization opportunities that might not get picked up by an algorithm. The most successful campaigns don’t rely on algorithm alone and feature this personal supervision.

When selecting whom to hire to oversee your video campaign, choose someone with extensive experience in delivering campaigns, as well as interpreting data. Ask candidates to show you past case studies in which they were able to interpret and capitalize on analytics in real-time that an algorithm would have missed.

There is a saying in video marketing that it never pays to post and pray; if you want your video to be a success, you can’t just hope it gets picked up over the millions already out there. To achieve success, you need to know the relevant metrics, employ analytics and ensure that an expert is overseeing your campaign. With these tips, your video will be poised to achieve online success.

Related: 3 Keys to Developing a Video Strategy