Track and measure your live video content on YouTube

Author bio:
Justin Champion is a part-time digital nomad, author of Inbound Content and Principal Content Professor for HubSpot Academy. Justin created HubSpot Academy's Content Marketing Course, which has awarded over 100,000 certifications to professionals across the globe. You can find him on Twitter @JustinRChampion.

LinkedIn URL: https://www.linkedin.com/in/championjr
Twitter URL: https://twitter.com/justinrchampion


85% of all internet users in the United States watched online video content monthly on any of their devices.

Let that sink in for a minute.

At this point, it should come as no shock that video is a highly engaged medium. If you’re looking for an opportunity to engage your audience even more with video, then consider creating live videos that they can engage with in real time.

If you’re new to creating live video content, then check out this resource.

If you’re just getting started or relatively new to live videos, producing something will be a big deal. But if you want to learn from your experience and use that to inform and update your business’s process, then make it a point to set goals for each live video you create and pair them with metrics to track, measure, and analyze them accordingly.

Video is just one part of how your business engages with your audience. If your business uses content marketing to attract and engage your audience, then it’s possible you have a blog, social media channels, and other forms of communication. Think of video as another asset to your business, not the centerpiece or ultimate solution to your problems.

Your live video content should be tied to goals that come from the campaign and project level, not the other way around. Let’s say you publish a how-to video on YouTube that you embed on your site to support a larger brand-awareness campaign meant to generate more leads for your business. In this case, it makes sense to track things like:

  • How many times was the video viewed?
  • How many leads did it generate through any calls-to-action in the video or links in the description?
  • How did it improve time-on-page by reducing bounce rate?

Want to learn how to improve your video marketing efforts with your blog? Check out HubSpot Academy’s free Blogging Course.

Tracking and measuring videos appropriately like this can lead to insights you can use to understand how to best support campaign and project initiatives in the future. That’s a smart and efficient way to help your business grow better.

Setting marketing goals for your live video content

Before creating a live video, you need to define your goals and identify the best key performance indicators for determining whether you’ve accomplished those goals. Key performance indicators, or KPIs for short, are metrics used to track the performance of a business, a department, or individuals. This could be to increase brand awareness, engagement, or even a conversion to speak with a sales rep. This will help make sure you’re focusing on the right KPIs you want to track. Here’s what Andrew Capland, Director of Marketing for Wistia, had to say:

“Thinking about the different metrics by campaign to me really goes back to the goals. If it's a lead generation goal, then it makes sense to think about what is the conversion rate, where inside of the video is the most optimal place to place a form or something like that. Or if it's a video that's on a landing page, seeing how maybe different videos might influence conversion. But obviously, that's pretty self-contained.”

You may be asking yourself: “Which KPIs should we be tracking to understand if our video initiative is successful?" Well, you’re not alone.

Google Brandlab, the company's brand-building arm that helps brands build YouTube content strategies, has worked with thousands of companies to learn about their challenges and develop ways to overcome them.

With each new video your business launches, it’s important to keep in mind which stage of the buyer’s journey it’s meant to support. For example:

  • Is it meant to increase brand awareness and attract newcomers to your website?
  • Is it meant to help your prospects consider your business offerings as a solution to one of their problems?
  • Or is it meant to help your leads make a decision to do business with you?

Knowing which stage of the buyer’s journey you’re intending to support will ultimately help you identify your primary goal.

Tracking and measuring live video on YouTube

When it comes to creating live video, each channel will offer different metrics to report on.

If you’re looking for a platform to do live video on, then consider YouTube; YouTube has the most monthly active users. It reached 2 billion in the first half of 2019.

In this section, let’s review a list of live video stats you should be tracking and measuring for YouTube.

YouTube live video metrics include:

  • Watch Time — Watch time is the total amount of minutes viewers have spent watching your videos. It’s an important metric because YouTube surfaces videos and channels with higher watch times in their search results. YouTube does this because the more watch time a video has, the more engaging their algorithm presumes it is.
  • Audience Retention Audience retention shows you the percentage of viewers who watch and leave your video at every single second of the video. YouTube surfaces videos with high audience retention in their search rankings and suggestions because these videos can effectively capture viewers' attention.
  • Demographics In YouTube’s demographics report, you can see the various types of people who watch your videos, segmented by age, gender, and location. This data provides information on the different levels of engagement for different persona types.
  • Playback Locations YouTube videos can be watched in a variety of places (i.e. social media, embedded on a website, etc.). Playback locations allow you to see which locations your video receives the most views. You can use this data to prioritize where you distribute your live videos.
  • Traffic Sources and Devices The Traffic Sources report shows you how viewers found your videos and what sources account for the most views and watch time. You can use this data to better optimize your video creation and promotion strategy.

These metrics are available in YouTube analytics 48-72 hours after your live stream ends. If you want to learn more about YouTube live stream metrics, then check out this resource.

Tracking and measuring your live YouTube videos once they become a recording

Once your live YouTube video becomes a recorded video it can still provide a lot of value for your business. Let’s review a list of video marketing metrics you can track and analyze for your recorded video.

1. View count, also known as impressions

View count is the number of times your video has been viewed — also referred to as impressions. This metric is great to track if your goal is to increase brand awareness and have your content seen by as many people as possible. However, it’s important to remember that every video hosting platform measures a view differently. For example, a view on YouTube is 30 seconds while a view on Facebook and Instagram is only 3 seconds. Be sure to review each platform to make sure you understand what a view actually is.

2. Play rate

Play rate is the percentage of people who played your video divided by the number of impressions it received. This metric helps determine how relevant or appealing your video is to your audience. If hundreds of thousands of people see your video, but only a few hundred people play it, it’s probably time to optimize your content, such as updating the thumbnail of the video.

3. Social engagements — likes, shares, and comments

How do people react to your video? Did it receive a lot of likes? If so, then you’re doing a good job creating engaging content for your audience. What did people like or dislike about the video? You can check this out in the comments section.

Here’s a pro tip: If your audience is going to take the time to comment on one of your videos, whether it be negative or positive, then engage with them. This could be an opportunity to delight someone who loves what you’re doing or help turn a disgruntled viewer into a fan.

Social shares are a good indicator of how relevant your content is with your target audience. If a viewer watches your video and takes the time to share it with their network, you probably created a great piece of content.

Social engagements are important because the more your video is engaged with, the more it’ll be viewed. Platforms want to show content that people are engaging with. If your goal is to reach a lot of people, then social engagements are an effective metric to track.

4. Total watch time

Total watch time is the amount of time that a viewer watched a video. This gives you a sense of what content viewers actually watch (as opposed to videos that they click on and then abandon).

Video completions are the number of times a video is played in its entirety. This metric can be more reliable than view count when trying to determine your video’s success. That’s because someone who watches your video to the end is generally more engaged. Keep in mind, the longer the video, the harder it’ll be to keep people tuned in until the end. A video completion for a two-minute video is a lot different than a 20-minute video.

5. Video completion rate

Video completion rate is the number of people who completed your video divided by the number of people who played it. Video completion rate is a great way to gauge a viewer’s reaction to your video. Do you have a low completion rate? Is a large portion of your audience dropping off at a certain point in the video? This might be a sign that your video content is not resonating with your target audience or it’s not engaging them enough to keep them tuned in.

6. Clickthrough rate

Clickthrough rate is the number of times your call-to-action is clicked divided by the number of times it’s viewed. Clickthrough rate is a great indicator of how effective your video is at encouraging people to take your desired action. If your clickthrough is low, consider editing the design, copy, or placement of your call-to-action.

7. Conversion rate

Conversion rate is the number of times visitors completed your desired action divided by the number of clicks on your call-to-action. If your goal is to have your viewers complete an action like downloading one of your educational offers, try adding a video to your website or landing pages to see if your conversion rate increases.

8. Bounce rate

Bounce rate is the percentage of people who land on a page on your website, then leave. Are you thinking about embedding a video on your website? Take note of the page’s bounce rate and the amount of time people spent on the page before you add the video. Be sure to check the metrics after you embed the video on one of your website pages to see if it changes the way people interact with your other content.

If your goal is to get your educational website content ranking on search engines like Google, then bounce rate is an important metric to track. Of the people who find your site using Google, the longer they stay on your site shows the search engine that your content is helping viewers. If Google thinks your content is helpful and solves for searcher intent, then that can lead to first- page rankings for the topics you want to show up for.

How to improve your live video marketing efforts

Once you determine your metrics and how you’re going to measure them, set a competitive benchmark. Naturally, you’ll want to compare yourself to others in your industry. But it can be difficult to get an accurate comparison. For example, your competitor using live video could be tracking different metrics, have a wider audience, and even have more budget to work with.

Instead of focusing too hard on what your competitors are doing, consider comparing your initiative to your previous initiatives. If this is your first time setting goals for a live video, then make an educated guess, and document what happens. This way, you’ll have a benchmark to work with next time.

Start your broadcast today.
Reach a wider audience across all social platforms.
Get Started