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5 Questions to Evaluate Your Nonprofit Video ROI

It used to be that everyone was asking us for a “viral” video. Now everyone is asking us how to measure video Return on Investment (ROI).

Video ROI is a topic we think a lot about at See3 and, unfortunately, there isn’t a simple answer or one that fits every organization.

Generally, we think video should be measured in similar ways that you measure other content investments by connecting the ROI of video to broader organizational goals. Views are fine—just as website visitors are fine—but it only gets you a sense of the total amount of engagement.

Here are 5 questions to ask yourself when evaluating your organization’s video ROI.

1. Does Video Move the Needle?

Let’s say you make a video designed to influence a small group of elites (lawmakers, corporate decision makers, etc.). In that case, video views don’t seem so important at all.

Like in any communications effort, your key metrics should reflect your key objectives. A video that we created for the Maryland State Teachers Association only received a couple thousand views, but we consider it a big success.

Why? Because the goal of the video was to influence a debate about education funding and the state-level policymakers and journalists that matter in that debate all heard about the video, passed it on, and watched it. It worked.

2. Does Video Help Your SEO Strategy?

Many people forget about this fact, but SEO is a huge part of your video strategy.

YouTube is the second most popular search engine. That means more and more people are discovering content on your issue through YouTube—if you don’t have content that’s strategically titled, described, and tagged, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity.

Video can also jump you up in Google rankings.

In fact, a Forrester study found that “any given video stands about a 50 times better chance of appearing on the first page of results than any given text page that Google has indexed”. Make sure to submit a Video Sitemap to Google and chart how it affects your rankings on target keywords.

3. Does Video Improve Your Conversion Rates?

Video is now used widely on websites, landing pages, and even as a hook in emails. Are you testing these conversion rates with and without video? When does it work and when not?

The answer isn’t the same for every organization, so make it a point to test how video affects conversion rates for each use.

4. Does Video Help Spread Your Message?

We often find that video helps in blog and social network outreach.

Facebook fans respond well to multimedia content and are accustomed to sharing videos among their own networks. Similarly, we’ve noticed that online campaigns with embeddable video gets picked up by bloggers more easily. Do you have a similar experience? If you’ve had trouble building relationships with bloggers, video may be the element that greases the wheel.

5. Does Video Engage Your Constituents?

YouTube and TubeMogul both offer analytics tools that help you assess viewership and engagement.

These tools let you see spikes and trends in views, where your video was embedded and viewed, and how long viewers tend to watch each of your videos. Take a look at this data and see if you can gather any insights about which video content works best, what is the optimal length, and how much coverage your video received beyond your own network.

Final Thoughts: We are moving toward a world where a website and a TV channel morph into the same thing. Determine your organization’s video ROI is a central question you have to answer in order to take full advantage of this new world.

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