Video Content – why are we still searching for effective measurement tools?
Last year the CMA produced a report that looked at the issues surrounding measurement of content marketing. Key execs from leading CMA member companies offered their opinions on how brands should track the performance of their content, while a large number of CMA members took part in a survey.
The end result highlighted that we are still a long way from agreeing industry standards for the measurement and effectiveness of branded content. In the survey, for example, only half of the marketers agreed it is possible to accurately measure content marketing’s return on investment. A further 52% are unsure whether a universal metric is realistic.
One area that was especially hotly contested was video content. On the face of it there appears to be a very easy metric for brands to evaluate the effectiveness of video content and that is number of views. But as many contributors to the report pointed out even that figure can be quite misleading. A key issue is ‘what actually constitutes a view?’ Different social platforms take differing views on this.
Then there is the thorny issue of auto play. As Facebook users know videos leap to life as soon as a user hovers their mouse over them. Yet how many of them are truly being watched?
What too is the level of engagement? And how does this generate action? A friend of mine recently told me of her addiction to the food creation videos of sites like Tasty and Bosh, yet owned up to never having once made a dish inspired by the content. So, brands can invest heavily in this type of content and attract thousands of views, but how viewers many actually create the dish, or buy the ingredients? Of course, it is easy for marketers to point to increased brand awareness, but once again that is also very tricky to quantify.
There’s also the metric of viewing time. Surely the number of seconds a person views a video is the ultimate metric? Yet how do we know that the person is actually watching the video, and not off looking at another web page? Factor in the quirks of Instagram and Snapchat, alongside platforms admitting that they haven’t always been accurate in measuring video content, add click fraud, bot traffic and viewability and you have what sounds like the online equivalent of the wild west.
Maybe the future will yield more workable and effective metrics? In a fascinating article in the CMA report Mark Thompson, Account Director, ITN Productions looked at the metrics that might matter in the future. He argues “facial recognition software, for example, along with heart rate and GSR (galvanic skin response) measurements, can provide a specific set of data allowing us to work out if people are really saying what they feel, feeling what they say, and which of our messages are really streaming into the subconscious mind and effecting behaviour.”
There are also lots of technology companies experimenting in this space – Sticky leaps to mind – so maybe we will begin to see more sophisticated and accurate measuring tools arrive soon.
Another company that might have an answer is Moat. If you read one article on content marketing week then I suggest that you look at Contently’s take on how to fix video measurement. Sure the feature creates almost as many issues as it answers, but it does highlight a potential solution in the guise of the Moat Video Score.
As Contently explains “Moat incorporates how long someone watches a video, how long someone listens to it, and how much of the clip is visible on the screen. The metric consolidates the information into a rating between zero and 100, giving publishers and advertisers an easy way to measure complex insights. It also helps marketers translate results from different platforms. If a user watches a 30-second YouTube ad all the way through, in full-screen mode, and with the sound on, that gets scored a 100. But if someone watches that same ad on Facebook for 15 seconds and doesn’t turn on the sound, it would be less than 25, depending on how much real estate the video player took up on screen.”
It might not be the ultimate solution that marketers are looking for, but at least it is a start. Surely, we should be able to soon match this type approach with other technological innovations to deliver something more effective.
Commissioned by The CMA