Understanding Your Metrics of Success
Lastly, we have Chapter Three which is Outlining the Metrics of Success. Every platform has built-in metrics to help you track your success. The metrics that I'm gonna talk to you about today are more so metrics that are meant to help inform your creative decisions, or help you get money. It's a very light overview, if you wanna go deeper into it there are plenty of resources out there that you can use to go deeper. I felt like the most important things, or the content that would be valuable for you guys today are ones in which would help you make the best creative decisions, and help you get money. I have a question: Is a million views actually a million views, yes or no? No? Any yeses? Okay. Yes y'all. It's yes and no. The thing you wanna understand about views is that they're slightly unreliable. They're unreliable because a lot of the different platforms, especially when you think about autoplay, there's a tendency for those views to be slightly inflated. Views basically tell you h...
ow many people came across your content. They don't necessarily tell you how much of that content was consumed. When you look into the threshold for what constitutes a view, some of them are as low as three seconds. That's not really -- Right? Yes. If you're someone like me -- I wanna know that you're actually watching my content, and my content's actually having an impact on you. There's no way that just watching three seconds is going to have an impact on you. This is all to say that you shouldn't -- There are a lot of people that like to make views their sole metric of success. If I just have 1,000,000 views then I've made it. I would like to encourage you to think beyond that. You can still consider views as a metric of success, but I would look at views in relationship to some other metrics that I'm gonna share with you. Watch time and minutes viewed are metrics that Facebook and YouTube offer. They tell you how many minutes of content have been consumed overall. This is YouTube analytics. This is from a 16-minute blog that I did for my podcast. As you can see, the views for this video are about 1.4k views. The watch time is about 4.3. On the surface 1.4k views is pretty decent especially because I haven't really been promoting my YouTube channel. It's so funny. When I left buzzfeed I was like I'm gonna have the most fiery YouTube channel. I'm gonna -- I had all this spirit, and then I was like I'm burnt out, I am so burnt out. Which is why I am encouraging you to not necessarily go after virality 'cause it is hard to come back from that. I'm cool with that. Basically, what the watch time tells me is that about a fourth of the video was consumed. Because if we do the math -- If one view actually constituted somebody watching the entire video, that would mean my watch time would need to be at least somewhere above 22,000 watch time minutes. For this analysis I could take away that it would be helpful in the future to maybe try and do shorter blog videos. The key thing also in this process you're gonna learn is that this is all about testing and iterating. Nothing is perfect and nothing is right. Everything is very relative to your audience and their needs. The other key metric you wanna look at is view duration. This is the average length of time that was consumed. It tells you how long they typically watch for. This is also great to help you make informed modifications to the length of your videos. The way that I see it is if there's a higher view duration on your video, that means that you could stand to have a little bit of a longer video. People pretty much stayed through till the end. Whereas if you have a video that has a shorter view duration that means that you could stand to maybe shave off some time. If you have a 5 minute video and people are only, on average, watching a minute, then maybe you might wanna cut back a couple minutes. When it comes to higher watch time I would say that that allows you to get an understanding that those views were more reliable. Another amazing metric that I love, that I believe -- Oh Wow! (instructor laughing) We might have time for questions. Another amazing metric that I love, that YouTube and Facebook offer is audience retention. It shows you where the audience drops off in the video. It also will show you popular points of interest in the video which are also really great when we're considering how can we make informed decisions about the length. We used to do a lot of transformation videos at buzzfeed. One of the key things that you would see is that the points of interest were usually when we would talk about the tools, when we would show the process, and when we would get to the beauty shot. From that we were able to take away -- When you think about how a transformation video is structured it's usually the beginning is somebody talking about why they want to go on this journey, the tools, the process, the beauty shot, and then how the journey has impacted them. From looking at the audience retention and seeing where the spikes are you can take away that it might be more -- It might hit your audience a little bit better if you decreased the talking segment parts. That doesn't mean you have to take them away. I would say it just means you need to get a little bit more crafty. That might mean at the beginning maybe your doing more montage stuff so when the person is talking we're seeing elements of the process being intermixed in either at the beginning or the end. It means that you definitely wanna use more of the visual shots as possible, less of the face to face stuff. Maybe you cut in-between the face-to-face stuff and then the experience that they had for the final thoughts. When you're looking at audience retention spikes and gradual drop off are fine. Spikes will tell you the points of interest and then over time people gradually check out of the video. Dips mean that this is an area that requires some TLC. It shows that there is a drop off point, and you wanna kind of really pay attention to that drop off point to figure out how you can modify. Maybe it's taking something out or, again, invoking some strategies. This is audience retention and the average view duration. This is for one of the blog videos that we did. You can see the drop off is pretty gradual which is good. There are a few spikes here and there, but nothing that I would be too concerned about. I could go back and look if I wanted to. It doesn't necessarily tell me a ton. The other great thing about spikes is that if you use them in conjunction with comments, comments will tell you the purpose behind the spike as well. You'll see on YouTube there are people who'll be like: "Oh my goodness, 3:02 that girl's dance moves were fire.", or: "3:02 oh my goodness, I don't like her makeup.", or something like that. But it will give you an indication as to why the spike exists. Over here you'll see that there's the average view duration. This was about a seven-minute video. We got an average view duration that was a little over 50% which is really good. I would say, on average, anywhere between 50%-60% is good. Anything above 70% is stellar because that means that they stayed through for pretty much 70% of the video. When we think about likes -- The value of likes is very platform-specific. On Instagram it's very valuable because that's one of their main metrics of success whereas on YouTube it's not as valuable because you have other robust metrics like the audience retention. As I was saying earlier comments are a great way to get qualitative analysis, and to understand the tone of how your work was being perceived, and the modifications that you can make based off of how people are thinking about it. I would say with comments -- Comments can be a very toxic place especially if you're very sensitive. I would say you definitely wanna have a plan in place for comments. If you feel like it's too much for you to look at them maybe it's having a comment moderator. They'll clean up some of the stuff that's unuseful, or having someone who will go in and extract the useful comments. Comments can take a huge toll on your soul so I would definitely -- I wouldn't underestimate that. They are very valuable, and they provide very useful information. The other metrics that you wanna think about are post clicks. Post clicks are a Facebook metric. They're really great when we think about autoplay, and how autoplay can inflate numbers. Post clicks will alow you to see who were the people who were actively compelled to want to click on your content. Post clicks also give you a really good idea as to how well your thumbnails and content were provoking people as well. I don't really promote videos on my Facebook. These are a bunch of posts that I did. As you can see, this particular post here had a lot of post clicks, and basically just a lot of engagement overall. When we think about what I said earlier which is the more engagement you have the more likely you are to get organic reach. You can see that this particular post had a lot of organic reach. It really is important when you're putting your content out there to impact your audience from the beginning. I know for a fact that one of the reasons why this probably impacted peopled is because of the before and after. I lost a lot of weight. I was sharing my journey on that. I'm sure that that picture was very engaging for people. Like I said if they're not compelled to engage with it -- This post in particular had very low engagement. It was a post about how to boost your productivity. No one in my audience really cared about that. It has one of the lowest amounts of reach and engagement overall. When it comes to shares and retweets those are also great metrics of success and that is for Facebook and Twitter. Shares and retweets are great because they show that your content really invoked an active desire in people to wanna spread it. It shows that your work had a very strong emotional response. A lot of people when they're either sharing or, well, retweeting is a little bit different. With sharing, a lot of people, they usually don't share things that they haven't really watched all the way through. That also gives you a good idea as to how many people are really engaging with your content. The other thing you might wanna consider looking at as well are share statements, and share statements, again, help with giving you a sense of the tone of how your content is being received, how people are talking about it. There's also something that happens that I like to call the private chair. For content that might be a little bit more vulnerable or a little bit more complex. So when I think about -- I did a video, it was Things I Wish I Could Tell My Mom. That was a spoken word poem. When you look at that video there weren't a ton of shares and that's because if you share that video -- if your friends with your mom on Facebook, she might be: "Oh, are you trying to say something to me?" That's hard, I put you in a very sticky situation. What I did see though with that video is that you saw a ton of comments of people tagging. People being like look at this video, or this video represents me, or yada yada yada. I would definitely also look into the comments as well when you have videos that are a little bit more personal or complex because that could mean that people are, they're sharing it, but they don't feel necessarily comfortable enough to share it with their whole community. They're trying to find ways to share it. For Instagram the engagement rate is a very key metric especially if you're trying to get sponsorship from brands. Your engagement rate is basically an average of how actively engaged your audience is whenever you post content. It's your likes, your comments, and a few other things. To calculate that there are 3rd party sites that you can use. There's Hype Auditor, and there's Phlanx, I believe is how it's pronounced. If you have an audience that's under 1,000 then I would use Phlanx to get an idea of your engagement rate. If you have an audience that's over 1, you can use either Phlanx or Hype Auditor. Both have free options and I think that both of them provide information for free that is very valuable. I think that if you can use both, you can use both. If you don't hit the number requirement then Phlanx is really good. The other thing for Instagram if you are trying to get sponsorship that brands will ask you for is impressions. Impressions show how many people your content was exposed to. It's typically your impressions are boosted by your engagements. The more engaged your content is the more likely it is to have higher impressions. Where to find this data if you wanna dig a little bit deeper yourself. YouTube, it's called YouTube Analytics, Facebook, it's called Facebook Insights, Instagram Insights, and then Twitter Analytics. I wanna encourage you guys to -- We talked about the numerical metrics of success and now I want to encourage you guys to think about the non-numerical metrics of success as well. I think it's so important to have goals outside of numbers because when you're starting out your numbers are gonna be small, and that's fine. You still wanna be giving yourself opportunities to create quick and small wins so as to keep yourself motivated to continue. When you're thinking about your non-metrics of success I would think about goals that fuel you or drive your growth and your craft. These are some examples for me: I know for me, I wanted to have an all female or all people of color crew. That was really important to me to have that at some point. Mastering block shooting. When I worked at buzzfeed we had to -- At one point I had to deliver six videos in a month. The only way in which you were gonna be able to do that was by getting multiple videos out of one shoot. Coordinating that was a very big goal for me. Reaching a certain demographic. Something that was really important to me was trying to bring in a more black audience, and black viewership to buzzfeed with the content that I was making. Experimenting with new frames or styles of video. I have a very docu-style background. While I was there I really wanted to get experience on doing like hack and recipe kind of videos. I did a residency with Tasty for a little bit. I also did a lot of scripted, post-literate, beat type videos. Collaborating with a team. This one is also in relationship to doing a cross-cultural video. I did a mini-doc about a woman who lost her daughter based to some of the politics on the US-Mexico border. That was amazing for me because I got to work with someone who -- She spoke Spanish and so I had to have a translator to do the interview as well as translate the video and put captions on it. I had to edit it and still make sure that it conveyed the message that I wanted to get across. I worked with a DP on that video. Thinking about what are the resources that you can gather for yourself as you evolve as an artist is a really great metric of success. Having a long-term goal. As I mentioned I'm a spoken-word artist. When I got to buzzfeed one of my biggest goals was to make spoken word go viral. I didn't know how but I was like I'm gonna figure it out. When I first started doing it -- My first spoken word video, and you'll have to keep in mind this is by buzzfeed standards, was considered a flop. It got 300k views in the first week. I know a lot of people that said on there: "Are you kidding me." And I'm like. My average lowest video while I was there was about like 500k views. This was low for them and low for me. However, I didn't let that deter me because this was very important to me. What I did was that I took time to try and test and iterate. I played around with the type of content that I was producing. I played around with the different visual languages that I was using. Some of them were more straight to camera with like text popups versus some of them had more of that visual storytelling going on. It was through being committed to that goal that I saw increases on all the videos that I kept creating that led to my mega-viral hit, which was that: What I wish Someone Told Me About Having Sex. That video got 32,000,000 in a week on Facebook.