Know Your Video Metrics: Play Rate vs Play-Through Rate

Many marketing activities are difficult to evaluate, because they are based on soft metrics, or there are simply no good ways to collect data. Video is different. You can track the raw data of video in many ways: views, referring sites, length of time spent watching, etc., but you should also track hard engagement metrics such as shares, ratings, likes, and other interactivity.

It is important to know WHAT each metric means and HOW to track them. For instance, do you know the difference between a Play Rate and Play-Through Rate?

1. Play Rate

This is a measure of whether the video was actually viewed once it loaded. The play rate refers to the number of people who clicked the ‘play’ button, and watched any part of your video. This is generally the first metric you’ll want to track in the conversion cycle.

What should you do to increase your Play Rate?

– Change your still image: Do some A/B testing with different still images – it could be as simple as that!

– Try auto-play: The jury is still out, and the debate rages on about whether or not auto-play is considered bad Internet manners. However, if you’re finding that your video play-rate is low, set your video to auto-play as soon as the page loads.

– Give it better real estate and promotion: Stick your video front and centre on your homepage, and make sure to include it on other subpages, along with links from as many pages as seems fit. Many of our customers use their video as a permanent sidebar element, that way you’ll capture the attention of browsers on every page!

2. Play-through Rate

Once people find your videos, the percentage of time they spend watching them tells you whether you’ve given them what they were looking for. Where do your viewers drop off? Do they reach the end of your video, or are you losing them somewhere in the middle? It is critically important to figure out what percentage of people are seeing your entire video, and make changes if that percentage is low.

How can I increase Play-through?

– Maximize your first 10-15 seconds: Give them what they’re looking for within the first 10-15 seconds, if possible. That way, even if a large percentage tune out after 15 seconds, they swill have still gotten the main message.

– Create a casual intro: For example, start your videos by telling your viewer what questions you’ll be answering. Journalists will tell you “don’t bury the lead”. That means, you should be upfront with your audience about the WHO, WHAT, WHERE, WHY and HOW.

– Keep a brisk pace: Your script should be light and entertaining from start to finish, be careful not to lag near the end.

Both metrics are key to determining your video’s overall conversion rate – the most important metric of all. Now you know!

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