The marketer’s guide to reporting on social video engagement
“Have you seen this video?” Whether it’s used as an icebreaker with new friends or as a way to bond with besties, it’s a question we’ve all heard, or asked. People share video with friends twice as much as any other content. And with many social media platforms doubling down on video and TikTok-style shorts, it’s no question that video engagement is key.
If you haven’t brought video into your social media strategy, consider this your “twist my arm” moment.
But video creation requires work. You want your time and effort to go toward content that is effective for your channels and your brand. And to know what videos work, you need the right metrics.
Let’s explore video engagement metrics that help you understand organic performance across your biggest channels.
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Before we start, know your goals
If you feel overwhelmed by the dozens of video metrics out there, there’s good news—you can be choosy.
The best way to pick the right metrics is to ask yourself: what are my channel-specific goals?
As Sprout Social’s Senior Social Media Manager Rachael Samuels puts it, “On every network, the metric that relates to the goal or purpose of the video is what you should measure. If you want people to comment or take action, views aren’t the most important but view duration might be. If your goal is awareness, if it’s an ad, if you want your video in front of thousands of people—views are more important.”
Video engagement metrics you need to improve content performance
While everyone knows metrics like views and impressions can inform performance, they might not tell the full story.
Here are some key video engagement metrics to help you dive deeper into your performance data and know where to focus your production efforts.
TikTok metrics to track
As a short-form video app, views are everything on TikTok. The second your video starts playing, it’s counted as a view—including when a video is replayed. Views from you watching your own video, however, don’t add to your total count.
Here are some TikTok metrics to track.
Total likes and total views
These are two individual metrics, but they’re important to compare. A high total views count is exciting. But if your total likes are low, you’re not getting the most out of your content.
The TikTok algorithm uses likes as a key signal when it comes to identifying popular content to organically show to more users. If your likes are low, especially on videos with a high view count, experiment and find new ways to make your content more engaging.
Most newly-uploaded videos reach peak engagement soon after being published. Publish videos when your audience is more active to rack up more engagement earlier. Look at the post time of your most successful videos to identify your best times to post on TikTok.
Watched full video
Viewers watching your video to the end holds a lot of weight with TikTok’s algorithm. Luckily, the majority of consumers find short-form video to be the most engaging content type.
To achieve a better video completion rate, create engaging, bite-sized videos with sounds and text that keep viewers watching. Tracking this metric will help you understand how well you’re hitting this goal.
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Knowing whether the majority of your traffic comes from your followers or new users in the For You Page tells you how much organic reach your content is getting.
A little background: there are three TikTok feeds, including the Friends Tab, Following Feed and the For You Page. The For You page is where you want your content to show up, and where you can go viral. Tracking video views received from the For You feed will tell you which videos TikTok is pushing to more people.
Average watch time
Like we mentioned, completion rate matters on TikTok. Tracking the average time people watch your content will inform when people are falling off, and what your ideal video length might be.
Keep in mind—TikTok only keeps your data for 60 days. Using a tool, like Sprout Social’s reporting and analytics, empowers you to see your lifetime TikTok data, and even compare your TikTok performance to the performance of your other accounts.
Facebook video metrics to watch
A video view on Facebook counts when a user watches a video for at least three seconds.
Average video time watched
This can help you understand your audience’s preferred video length.
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Sound on vs. Sound off video views
The vast majority of video on the internet are watched without sound. Knowing whether your videos are watched with or without sound can help you prioritize captions, music, voiceover and more. Dig into how sound on vs. sound off video plays compare using Sprout Social’s Premium Analytics tools.
Full video views vs. partial
A partial view is the number of times users watch a video for at least three seconds, but no more than 30 seconds and not to the end.
A full video view is the number of times users view your post’s video for at least 30 seconds, or almost to the end for shorter videos.
Seeing these two metrics next to each other can help you visualize if your video retention improves over time.
Click-through rate (CTR) is the number of times users clicked in your post as a percentage of impressions during its lifetime—especially important if your goal is to boost conversions or leads.
Cut out the manual calculation that goes into CTR. Sprout Social’s Premium Analytics feature calculates this metric in a downloadable report in seconds.
Unique video views
This is the number of unique users who viewed your video. If one person watches a video 10 times, it counts as one unique view.
Using Sprout’s Premium Analytics, compare this number against your total views to get a sense of how often your video is being replayed—an important metric considering Facebook favors content that keeps people coming back.
Click to play vs. Autoplay metrics
This can tell you how many people click to play your videos and which videos inspired interest. While videos on Facebook generally autoplay, this feature can be turned off.
If livestreaming is a part of your video strategy, using Facebook’s Live video metrics can help you refine your approach to live audience.
Shares and comments
Facebook post engagements include reactions (Like, Love, Haha, Wow, Sad or Angry), shares, clicks and comments. Total engagements can give you a sense of how effective your video was overall.
People sharing your content is one of the best ways to organically reach new eyes in an algorithm-satisfying way.
95% video views
Facebook prioritizes content that sustains viewer attention. This metric highlights when viewers have watched at least 95% of your video, including those who skip ahead. Find this when you download your Post Performance Report with Sprout’s Premium Analytics.
Stand-out YouTube video metrics
YouTube has more than 2 billion active users and their newest video type—YouTube Shorts—generates more than 15 billion daily views. But beyond its popularity as a social platform, YouTube also has SEO and search applications. The platform is often touted as the most popular search engine behind Google.
Here are a few YouTube metrics to measure whether your videos are standing out.
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Average view duration
YouTube prioritizes how much time is spent watching a video. It’s important to know which videos inspire people to keep watching, and how to recreate their success.
YouTube cards are the main type of pop-up you see during a video. There are four different kinds:
- Video: allows you to link to another YouTube video (see example below)
- Channel: allows you to link to another YouTube channel
- Link: YouTube Partners can link to an external website
- Playlist: can link to a public YouTube playlist
Card teaser impressions
This is the number of times that card teasers were displayed to viewers.
Subscribers gained/lost from video
Looking at how many people subscribed to or unsubscribed from your channel from one video can tell you a lot about its impact.
While this may just seem like a vanity metric, YouTube’s algorithm weighs Likes and Dislikes when determining which videos to serve.
Key Instagram video metrics
On Instagram, a view is counted when someone has watched a video for three seconds or more.
When someone saves a video on Instagram, it means they liked it so much that they want to easily rewatch it. Instagram also uses saves as an indicator of what to show in the Explore feed.
Looking at Instagram Story analytics can help you understand their impact and which ones to recreate or turn into Highlights. Keep an eye on:
- Story taps back: Could indicate people are rewatching your Story, or the previous frame contained too much information
- Story taps forward: Could indicate people don’t want to stay on your Story
- Story exits: Who dropped off of or swiped out of your story
- Story replies: Who took the time to respond to your Stories, if you offer replies
Looking at the following profile metrics can indicate if a recent video post led to a spike in profile actions:
- Website clicks
- Email link clicks
- Get Directions Clicks
- Phone Call Clicks
Using Sprout Social’s Premium Analytics feature, you can quickly pull these numbers to understand your audience behavior.
Essential LinkedIn video metrics
Like Facebook, LinkedIn counts a view after three seconds, and your video view count doesn’t display publicly on your post until your video has reached 500 views.
LinkedIn prefers native content that keeps users on the platform. Make sure your external links, like the job posting link below, are worth it by looking at which videos drive the most clicks to post links.
Pro tip: LinkedIn’s paid ad analytics open up opportunities for a deeper understanding of video performance. In Sprout’s Premium Analytics, you can look at view conversions to understand how your video directly impacted engagement.
Posts with a lot of longer comments, like the post below, get the platform’s attention—even more so than reactions (Like, Celebrate, Support, Love, Insightful, Curious.) They’re richer in content and can potentially increase time spent on a post, or dwell time, which LinkedIn’s algorithm favors.
Followers gained or lost
Looking at this number after you’ve posted a video vs other types of content can reveal whether video is a powerful tool for you, or hurts you.
Helpful Twitter video metrics
A video view on Twitter is counted when someone has watched your video for at least two seconds with at least 50% of the video visible in their window.
Twitter’s algorithm favors engagement as one of several key signals. The more engagements, the more attention. On Twitter, engagements include:
- URL clicks
- Hashtag clicks
- Media views
Tweets that are Liked or commented on by one person may show up in their followers’ feeds, connecting you to new potential fans.
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Follow or Unfollow from posts
Use this metric in Sprout’s Premium Analytics to understand which of your videos drive people away, and what videos attract new audience members.
Post media clicks
Post media clicks can tell you how many times viewers clicked your video—to pause it, for example—while watching.
What’s next: Turn video engagement information into action items
You’ve published videos on your social channels.
You have a sleek report highlighting their performance.
Data has a million stories to tell about your brand and channels. Here are a few ways you can level up your social media analytics from data points to actionable insights.
Report impact to stakeholders
Data provides a window into your strategy. It can also back you up when you need more resources for video creation by illustrating video’s impact on your brand to senior leaders.
Similarly, if your higher ups are pushing you to publish video formats that you know are not performing well, data can help prove your point. Use Sprout’s presentation-ready reports to present clear findings to your leadership team, and use Premium Analytics to answer some of their biggest questions about how social affects your business.
Know where to allocate your ad spend
It doesn’t make sense to boost or make an ad out of a video that doesn’t resonate. Knowing which videos are your most engaging can help you determine where to distribute your budget.
Guide your content strategy
Video content is a lot of work. Especially if you have to coordinate remote video production.
You want to make sure the work and energy you invest goes into the type of content that works best.
Looking at your video engagement data can highlight successful content to recreate and content that’s underperforming.
Here are a few factors that metrics can help you determine:
- Video length: Looking at view duration and video lengths with higher engagement can help you prioritize the right type of video content.
- Theme: What types of videos garnered the most engagement? Were they about your product? Funny? Informative?
- Quality: If all of your viewers drop off of a video at the same time, what’s turning them away? What can you fix?
- Card clicks: Specifically on YouTube, are a lot of people clicking a card at a specific time? Or is your card missing your audience?
- Frequency: Use video engagement data to determine how often to post, and when to pull back.
- Time of day: With social platforms like Facebook and Twitter putting a lot of value on posting time, video engagement data can help inform when your best times to post on social might be.
- Titles and description copy: Did your top-performing videos have particularly keyword-rich descriptions? What were their titles like?
- Preview images: Is there imagery that worked particularly well for video clicks?
Identify which videos to repurpose
The more mileage you can get out of one video, the better.
Identifying your high performers can help you determine which videos are worth repurposing and posting on other channels—even beyond social.
Connect content to intent
Going viral for the right reasons is every social media manager’s dream. But at the end of the day, your social efforts have to positively impact your business’ bottom line.
Video engagement data, when paired with other metrics, can help you connect content interactions with audience intent.
Looking at a successful video and comparing it to website clicks, event registrations, profile views, email signups, etc. at the time it was posted can connect content to action. This can illustrate the real business impact your efforts make to your senior leaders.
Make an impact with video engagement metrics
Video engagement metrics and social media analytics don’t exist in a silo.
By combining some of these metrics with awareness metrics—like impressions—and more, you can start to form a full picture of how video can drive your social strategy, and your business, forward.
It’s hard to be decisive when it comes to social data, but you’re not alone. Use our social media metrics cheat sheet to find the metrics that matter most to you. Then, level up your insights and make data analysis a breeze—request a demo of Sprout’s Analytics tools today.
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