So you want to get started using YouTube for your business. Or you have started and now your being asked to justify what you’re doing. As you start to look at the metrics provided by YouTube you’ll notice one of two things. First, there is a ridiculous amount of data available, and you probably don’t care about most of it. Second, you can report out on a single video or the entire channel. You’ve created or planned all these great playlists for organization and now you can’t download a report based on them. (Scratches Head… Thanks YouTube). At least you can look at them and write down the numbers in a separate spreadsheet. Sure, that won’t be annoying. Oh well, I’m angry rambling and maybe it will get better soon. The playlist metrics functionality is new and will probably improve, we only requested it 6 years ago. Point is, you’re going to need metrics to explain to your boss why you play on YouTube all day. Hopefully this will explain to you how and why I did the things I did for my 3 channels and 8,000+ videos.
From what I’ve seen, there are two types of people that want to get metrics on their YouTube video library. The first group I’m going to call the “Big Thing” guys. They’re producing mostly marketing and PR related content, and they want to see what is trending on their channel. They are looking at their channel as a whole, and most likely reporting out to their leadership what their total views and demographics are. However, they really care about what is HOT on their channel. The good news for them is that YouTube does everything they want. All you have to do is go to the overview page of the analytics section, and it’s all there.
Unfortunately, that isn’t going to quite cut if for the second group, which I’ll call the “Long Haul” squad. The reality is, that every large company and most medium companies are going to fall into this subset. The problem with the Big Thing concept is that it only works if you have a really small set of videos that you track, because it is going to be very manual to pull those numbers. Honestly, who has time for that? The reason that we, as a company, fell into the Long Haul category is that we had multiple teams, covering multiple products and services, targeting multiple strategies. This doesn’t fall into anyone’s version of Simple.
When I first started to track the video library on YouTube I was looking for a way to simply track groups of videos that existed on three different channels. I needed a form of bulk reporting that didn’t exist within YouTube, or any of the current metrics platforms. What I ended up having to do was work with a small vendor to create what I wanted. What follows is an example of my pain points that needed to be addressed by the tool, which many of you might find familiar.
Marketing: Multiple marketing groups were running 1/3/6 month video campaigns with anywhere from 3 to 30 videos. They needed to report out weekly on what their subset of videos was doing.
Support: We had 600 videos (now 2,200+) available on our two channels that had a minimum of 2.5 year lifespans. These videos were split up by device, service and language, and we were reporting out monthly to leadership.
Using YouTube’s native metrics platform, support alone would take me three months to complete each month’s report. Because of this I started to work with a company called RippleFire to build out the consumer portal that they had to be more Enterprise friendly. We worked with them to develop a list of criteria that would make it easy for businesses to track and report out on their YouTube activity.
These criteria were:
- The tool automatically organizes videos based on the playlists created on YouTube.
- You can build groups of videos for reporting purposes (Marketing Campaigns)
- You can automate reporting on a set time period to be sent to email addresses.
- You can track multiple channels in one platform.
- Publish videos to Twitter and Facebook for tracking purposes.
- All sorts of filters and widgets to modify the content pulled.
- A report that includes the url of each and every video on your channels. (When you’re dealing with 8,000+ videos, this is important)
- And a recent inclusion, we have added tracking for embedded videos on the Lithium Community platform.
The overall concept we ended up on, and that I would recommend to other businesses, is a single metrics platform for all of our channels. This platform allows each individual group within the company to organize and track their subset of videos in a standardized system with standardized metrics. No matter which group’s report ends up going to C-suite and executive levels, we know that the metrics will be the same, and based on the same system. Which many of you know, is a huge issue in social media. Below is an example of the dashboard we ended up creating.
In summary, nothing will beat YouTube’s own metrics if you are investigating how a specific video has performed. However, any company seriously leveraging YouTube as a resource needs to investing in a tool that will allow them to quickly and efficiently report on the platform’s impact. Especially if you are sharing support videos that will be available to customers for months or years to come.
Point of Note: Other Things You Should Measure
Every video should have a link in the description. This is not a suggestion. If you’re not doing it, you are missing out on an opportunity to send customers to your buy-flow or care-flow. Make sure that the link is in the first two lines of the description, and that you use a shortener so that you can track click through rates.
If you’re using annotations and Call-to-action overlays, always use short trackable urls to get click through rates.
Why Should You Measure?
This one is simple. You, your boss and probably some other people would like to see how those videos you paid for are performing on YouTube.
Why Can’t You Just Use YouTube?
If you have one product/service and only care about the most recent videos you’ve posted then you can. Otherwise, you need to create groups of videos that you want to report on, and YouTube doesn’t output these reports.
What’s The Answer?
A vendor like RippleFire can provide a solution to track your videos by group, playlist, device service or any other breakdown you want.