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    Categories: MetricsTools & Resources

Why Publishers Shouldn’t Push into Video Without a Solid Strategy – and Metrics

This article was originally published on the Parse.ly blog. Sign up for our free online panel Jul. 27 on How to Get Better Video Metrics, sponsored by Parse.ly.

Watching a movie is a very different experience than reading a script.

Think about that memorable scene in “The Godfather” where Peter Clemenza orders his henchman to carry out a hit on another character that betrayed Don Vito Corleone. Clemenza’s original line was “leave the gun,” but the actor improvised by adding, “take the cannoli.”

“Leave the gun; take the cannoli” has since become one of the movie’s more quotable lines, but it is noticeably absent from the screenplay.

How Digital Publishers are ‘Leaving the Gun’ and ‘Taking the Cannoli’ with Video

We know that any successful content strategy hinges on an ability to identify what types of content resonate best with our audience (“leave the gun”), and then to make unique — sometimes off-script — decisions about how, and where, we present this content based on the data (“take the cannoli”).

Some online media companies are turning to video content as a way to “take the cannoli.” Austin Smith, CEO at Alley Interactive, a digital agency working with top publishers, has said: “Digital publishers are relying more and more on video, not just to improve engagement and bolster revenues, but to tell better stories.”

Vector Media Group’s Matt Weinberg elaborates:

“Digital publishers are using video to help their audiences better understand and engage with the topics they’re publishing information about. In many cases it’s being used to augment written content. Video isn’t just live action or interviews; things like video infographics and explainers are also very popular.”

Using Data to Improve the Success of Your Video Content

Relying on video without the data to back it up is a good example of improvisation gone wrong — of creating content that doesn’t make sense in the context of your editorial strategy. Nieman Lab reported that “news organizations have been producing loads of video content to fill social media feeds and attract higher ad rates,” while a recent post from Poynter said that media organizations hail “video ads as a possible remedy for the digital advertising slump.”

But video is not a silver bullet to monetization.

In fact, according to Parse.ly’s most recent Authority Report, video may not be as popular with viewers as it is with advertisers because audiences are engaging with video much less than with other content types. Instinct tells us to jump in with both feet and try to produce different types of video until something sticks; after all, if we know which written posts are most engaging for our audience, we can extrapolate what types of videos will work best, right?

Wrong. Just because publishers are producing videos does not mean that people are interested in viewing them. And because video is so expensive to produce, online media sites need to ensure that their video efforts are justified. The best way to create impactful video content is to look to your audience to see what they are interested in watching, and why.

DigitalEd Panel: How to Get Better Video Metrics

Next week, MediaShift is hosting an online panel with three publishers who are at the forefront of using video metrics to drive better engagement with their audience:

  • Adam Neuman, senior manager for analytics at Fusion Media Group
  • Meryl Ayres, content marketing manager at Wistia
  • Neil Solanky, director of insights at NowThis News.
  • Moderator: Jason Alcorn, metrics editor at MediaShift

We’ll discuss the reliability of video metrics and how to go beyond basic view counts to metrics such as over- and underperformance, recirculation and benchmarking. We’ll also hear tricks that leading publishers use to extract the most value out of the analytics tools they use in their own organizations. You can register for the free panel here.

Looking to Analytics as a Foundation for Your Video Strategy

How can online media companies reap the perceived rewards of video while creating the useful, engaging content their audiences desire? The key to any effective content strategy that includes video is to look at the data:

  • Are video posts more successful than text-only posts?
  • If you include more than one video in a post, which video performs better?
  • Which video topics resonate with your audience?
  • Are certain sections of your site more conducive to video content?
  • Where are your readers engaging with video, and why?

The questions above are a good starting point to learn what’s working — and not working — with respect to your video strategy. Data is increasingly becoming a top priority for digital newsrooms, who are encouraging writers, editors, freelancers, and others to understand and work with it. Video analytics is an extension of Parse.ly’s core analytics product, and it democratizes data by making it available — and actionable — to everyone.

Allie VanNest was previously a member of Parse.ly’s marketing team.

Allie VanNest: