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Dipstick: Can ‘views’ alone measure performance of online videos?

Apart from views, many other factors such as engagement, watch-time and audience retention play an important role in measuring digital audience, say experts and players

Dipstick: Can ‘views’ alone measure performance of online videos?

Apart from views, many other factors such as engagement, watch-time and audience retention play an important role in measuring digital audience, say experts and players

Archit Ambekar | Mumbai | November 15, 2016


In the digital medium, views are a possible tool of measurement. But do views really constitute as metrics on the digital medium? We all know that views can be either organic or paid. Most of the time they are paid, unless if the content is viral.

Taking engagement as a factor to see how successful the brand has been, asked some digital players and experts to know how the digital medium is really measured. Are views a currency for digital measurement? Here is what they had to say:


Gopa Menon Gopa Menon

Gopa Kumar, Vice-President, Isobar:

Views are one currency, yes. But it is not the only way of measuring the success of campaign. One also needs to look at engagement and the kind of interactions the brand has garnered. For some brands, views are easy metrics. But one needs to see the level of engagement as well. I think one needs to go beyond views and look at the engagement level too.


Ruchir Joshi Ruchir Joshi

Ruchir Joshi, Content Head, Culture Machine:

Views were an important factor to measure success but not anymore because they can be manipulated through paid media. The real aspect to consider is the watch-time, audience retention and the level of engagement received for the video. These factors help to further leverage the video through earned media and PR.


Anil K Nair Anil K Nair

Anil Nair, CEO and Managing Partner, Digital L&K, Saatchi and Saatchi:

Views are definitely a currency but a more superficial metric for the digital platform. There are ways which are not organic to increase the views for a particular digital video. While that is one part, the other part is the duration of the view.

Views is a basic level of measuring, shares is the next level and co-creation is the last. Co-creation will further proliferate the content and will actually define the success of a video or an advertisement on the digital medium.


Ajay Chacko Ajay Chacko

Ajay Chacko, Co-founder and CEO, Arre:

Yes, engagement is as important or perhaps more important than views on the digital medium. While views is the most base level metric, the success of a show is really measured through the combination of various engagement metrics such as time spent, likes, shares, comments, subscribers and what viewers are saying about the show. All of these put together create impact for the content piece and that’s what ultimately matters to creators, advertisers and other stakeholders.


Shantanu Sirohi, COO, Interactive Avenues:

For a medium like Facebook, where you are mostly logged in, it is easy for a user to like, share and comment. Hence, from an engagement point of view, Facebook is a good platform. Speaking from a views perspective, ‘YouTube’ is primarily a platform where people come to consumer videos, hence views is an important currency on a platform like YouTube. One might not care about liking and commenting on YouTube because they need to log in from a Google account, although it is changing. We are seeing how the digital medium is being used for engagement.

While views can be bought, content discovery can be organic or paid and measurement will vary from platform-to-platform.


Ashwin Suresh Ashwin Suresh

Ashwin Suresh, Co-Founder, Pocket Aces:

At Pocket Aces, we use a few different metrics to understand how our video content is performing.

For our shareable content channels FilterCopy and Gobble, which have been built primarily on Facebook, we focus on virality from sharing as well as engagement through audience comments. Most of our viewership is completely organic and for that to happen, we rely on social proof from the audience. When someone shares the video to their timeline, their network is made aware of it through the newsfeed, and then someone from that network shares the video and the cycle continues. We look at the velocity of sharing as well as the views-per-share ratio to understand the nature of virality.

For our storytelling and long-form content channel Dice Media, we focus on watch-time on both Facebook and YouTube, as well as engagement metrics such as engagement percentage, like-to-dislike ratios, and so on.

Ultimately when we work with advertisers and brands, regardless of whether the reach is organic or paid, we strive to deliver engaged viewership -- and that's what our metrics are geared towards.


Upasana Roy Upasana Roy

Upasana Roy, Head, Strategy, Strategic Planning, DigitasLBi, India:

In my opinion, most of the metrics on the digital medium are interdependent, and therefore cannot be viewed in isolation of one another. That is essentially the beauty of the medium, and having said that, yes, video views matter. Barring auto-play, every view on a video format is extending the reach of the content and that means the message is spreading out.

While that’s great, if we only look at video views in isolation, namely, minus the medium (Facebook/YouTube etc), play rate and engagement rate, then it just becomes a checkbox to tick, devoid of any real value. Simply put, reach without resonance is rarely of any value to any brand. I probably won’t call video views a digital currency, since that would mean that the metric holds absolute value in itself. I would rather call it a KPI, which can be used to evaluate a brand’s true digital value.

As a creative agency, at DigitasLBi, it is important for us to keep learning how to optimise our content – and we also want to uncover new things about our consumers all the time. Therefore for us, a combination of video views, watch time, comment clouds and engagement rate, often display all the tell-tale signs of what’s working and what’s not to create incremental mindshare.

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