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Do you work hard on content and then get disappointed if the view count is low? Did you know that views don’t necessarily matter?

Views don’t matter

Views, on their own, don’t matter. Judging a video based only on the number of views it has is like judging a person by how many friends they have on Facebook. Views do not indicate the quality of a video or how successful it is.

Admittedly this is a controversial statement. The truth is views do have value but only when they are looked at in context.

There is always a lot of focus on the view count. It is one of the only analytics that is almost always shown publicly. I know businesses that avoid publishing content on YouTube because they don’t want customers to see how poorly their videos are performing with regards to views. I find it amazing especially given that:

  • Often these videos have generated thousands of pounds of income for the company.
  • Putting video content on YouTube could help them generate more revenue
  • The video’s strategic purpose was never going to attract views in the first place.

Video views dont matterLet me explain…

Whether views matter or not is entirely dependent on what you are trying to accomplish strategically.

If you are trying to raise awareness of a brand I concede that views are definitely an important statistic to measure.

But for almost anything else views have relatively little impact.

There’s a story of a plumber that calls a video producer. He works in a small village with a population of about 150 people. He asks the producer to make him a video he can put online that will not only help him get work but will go viral.

Believe it or not I have encountered this situation before. If you have not worked out the problem it is this… The plumber’s target audience (the people that could possibly hire him) is only 150 people strong (149 not including himself). Getting millions of views, although good for the ego, is not going to guarantee he gets work. Instead he should be aiming to get everyone in the village to watch the video, engage all the way through and then call him.

Views are vanity

I see views as a vanity metric. It is always nice when content goes viral or you get a view count you can be proud of but focussing on views takes attention away from more important analytics.

Has your video achieved your marketing objectives? 

If your goal is sales then has the video progressed customers further down the funnel. How much of the video did the viewers engage with? Did they get to the call to action? Did they click through to the sales page? Did they purchase?

This article by Roberto Blake looks a the same issue with an interesting perspective.

Engagement is king

Of all the analytics available, for me, engagement is the most important. If people are engaging with content then the views genuinely matter. I would much rather have 10 people watch a video completely and maybe share or interact with it than 1000s of people that don’t get beyond the first 10-15 seconds.

Strategy is what makes all the difference. At the beginning of your planning process ask yourself the 5 magic questions. Identify how you are going to judge success for your video content. If you do this then you will always know which analytics to look at and your view count, whatever number it shows, will no longer be something to be ashamed of.

Views do matter

Although contradictory views do play a role in measuring a videos success. They help you understand the reach of a video, the success of a thumbnail or splash screen and the power of your title, description and tags.

What is important is not to see views as the only measure of video success. If you do this you will almost always create ineffective content.

It is the ‘play’ button for a reason. Video should be interacted with, it should spark the imagination and connect with its audience.

For more information about Smarter Video take a look here.

Please get in touch and let me know what you would like to learn or read about.

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