Career Development

How To Calculate and Improve Your Video Completion Rate

September 30, 2021

Companies commonly measure the effectiveness of online videos with analytics, such as the number of views, click-through rates, likes and shares. Another popular way is with video completion rate, which can help you track how effective your videos are and discover trends in viewership. Learning how to calculate this can help your business make more compelling videos and more views. In this article, we define video completion rate, explain how to calculate it, discuss the importance of this measurement and share tips on how to increase it in your videos.

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What is video completion rate?

Video completion rate (VCR) is a metric that shows what percentage of viewers watch a video from start to finish. Some businesses use the term view-through rate (VTR) instead of VCR, but they are usually interchangeable. VCR measures the percentage of videos that play completely through without the user skipping portions or leaving the page before it ends. VCR is one way of determining how engaging a video is to viewers, and a higher VCR represents media that's fully watched more frequently. The formula for VCR is:

VCR = (View-throughs x 100) ÷ Impressions

How to calculate VCR

Here are the formula and steps to calculate the VCR of a video:

1. Collect necessary data from site analytics

To calculate VCR, there are two pieces of data to attain from your webpage analytics. The first is the number of view-throughs, which is the number of times users watched the video all the way to the end. The second metric necessary is the number of impressions, which is the number of times a user started a video. Your analytics software should display this information on the program's dashboard in an easy-to-find location.

2. Multiply view-throughs by 100

For example, you work for a company that released a video promoting an upcoming product launch. Between social media accounts and your website, your analytics determine 4,653 people watched the video in its entirety. So plugging this into the first part of the formula, you multiply that 4,653 by 100, which equals 465,300.

3. Divide that value by your total number of impressions

When reviewing analytics, you determine 20,834 people started to watch your video at some point. The next step is to input these impressions in the formula to determine your VCR. In this case, you would do 465,300 divided by 20,843, which equals 22.32. Therefore, your video completion rate is 22.32%.

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Importance of measuring VCR

VCR is an important metric because social media platforms often drive more traffic to brands that consistently create videos with a higher VCR. Impressions used to be a key metric to determine the effectiveness of a clip, but VCR has gained popularity in recent years as a more accurate representation of a video's value.

VCR also is important because it measures the performance and ROI of video content. The more time viewers watch ads or content on your social media channels, the more the site's algorithms promote the content to additional viewers. Video marketing metrics like VCR help marketers establish goals for online campaigns and analyze where videos are overperforming or underperforming. For instance, analyzing how much of a video consumers watch can help marketers improve video ads and better determine what people want to see in their videos.

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Tips for increasing VCR

Marketers invest advertising money in content with a high VCR to get the best return on investment (ROI). Some tips for increasing VCR on your videos include:

Make videos that are 20 seconds or shorter

Short video duration is a key factor for increasing VCR. Keeping videos very short, under 20 seconds, may improve VCR. One technique for making shorter videos is to break a longer one-minute video into a series of short 15-second reels. This creates continuity between different videos and might increase viewers' interest.

Create engaging content

Creating engagement can be one of the most valuable methods of advertising. Some brands develop expertise at creating exceptional content and create ads customers enjoy watching, which boosts sharing on social media. Ads shared on social media can have a higher VCR because social influence and comments may generate more user curiosity than targeted ads. To create engaging content, designers study viewer activity and page analytics to gain an understanding of viewer interest and behavior on the site. Analytics reveal which pages and sections receive the most attention from viewers.

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Provide relevant content

Marketers often study customer profiles and interests to make content that's relevant to customers. Clearly defining the demographics of the target audience, such as age, education level and occupation, can help an organization create content that is relevant. Using humor and other entertainment tactics effectively can make videos more interesting for viewers and increase VCR.

Improve viewability

Viewability is an online metric that measures how often users see ads. Placing ads at the top of the page improves visibility because users see them immediately. Larger video players generally have a higher viewability than smaller players. Optimizing video players and minimizing buffering times also increase an ad's viewability, so testing video content on a variety of platforms and devices is important to improve these factors. The collapsing video player, which minimizes but stays on the screen as the viewer scrolls down the page, also can be an effective method of improving viewability.

Understand the platform

Different platforms use different view metrics and definitions. There also are different methods of increasing VCR on various social media platforms. For instance, some platforms allow users to create a channel, which can improve VCR for your target audience. Channels group-related content relevant to a specific audience in one area, so interested users are more likely to watch several videos, increasing VCR. Some platforms allow end screens with links, so marketers can use a strong call to action to encourage users to watch more of their videos. This can increase VCR on additional content and improve reach on the platform.

Create compelling thumbnails for each video

A thumbnail is a reduced-size image of a screenshot of a video. Creating effective thumbnails that compel users to click on them, combined with engaging content, can improve VCR. Techniques for creating thumbnails that might increase interest include using a photo in the background of the thumbnail, including title text to describe video content and using a readable font in thumbnail text.

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Add engaging visual elements, including subtitles and copy clips

Many videos on social media start automatically with the sound off. Using subtitles and engaging visuals that capture the viewer's attention can have a positive impact on VCR. Combining visual elements that tell the story with brief copy in the clip is another way to increase VCR when a user has the sound off on a video.

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