Why the Best Video is a Science Experiment Conducted on Your Audience
If you’ve read our blog on why Effective video beats Good video (which you absolutely should if you haven’t), then you already understand that “the only way to know whether you succeeded is to define clear goals before you start”.
Knowing what you’re trying to get done right from the start – and how you’re going to measure success – should make every subsequent decision MUCH simpler. Every choice becomes a matter of “does this affect what I’m measuring, and does it affect it in a positive way?” If the answer is yes, proceed. If the answer is no, either discard the option or rework it to better support the goal.
“Okay, I’ll bite,” you say. “Now what?!”
- Set your goal: raise awareness, raise money, make the boss happy, etc.
- Craft an educated* guess on how to get your audience to help you.
- Frame that educated guess as a testable hypothesis.
- Run the experiment, aka make and distribute your video in alignment with your hypothesis.
- Compare the results against your hypothesis and adjust for next time.
*NOTE: Remember, you’re not taking a shot in the dark. Instead, you make an educated guess based on what you already know and what you have already learned from your research: like demographic and behavioral data, effectiveness of previous communications, surveys… basically anything you think you know about the motivations and interests of your audience.
“Educated guess, got it… What about choosing a goal for my video and measuring success?”
SET GOAL: Choose One, Inform or Inspire
In the best-case scenario, you watch a video and then 1) you learn something or 2) you are inspired to take some action. (For the purposes of this post “entertain” counts as “inspire to come back for the next installment”).
A video can try to do both, but, when push comes to budget, only one can be the ultimate goal.
THEN MEASURE: Quantity or Quality
Once you’ve confirmed the goal, there are lots of ways to measure success. You’ll have to choose what makes the most sense for you. What have you measured before that you have a baseline for? What can you measure now with existing tools and time available? What will your boss or board members be looking for?
Examples on how to Measure Success at Informing
- Quantity: Number of Participants, Course Completion Rates, Number of Course Consumed
- Quality: Before-and-After Knowledge or Skills Assessment, Error Reduction or Speed Increase
Examples on how to Measure Success at Inspiring
- Quantity: Number of Clicks/Shares/Comments, Letters Sent, Memberships, Donations
- Quality: Level of Engagement, Size of Donations, Improved Sentiment
“HELP! Give me a [MAD LIB] example!”
The words in CAPS below are pieces of your video hypothesis that should be defined before you start experimenting:
- A GOAL: Generally starts with “inspire people to ____” or “inform people about ____” or “teach people to ____”
- Brief description of RESEARCH: What have you or others tried before? What do you know about your current and potential audience(s)? What are your resource constraints? i.e.: “a look at previous similar videos and online behavior data”
- A MEASURABLE ACTION: must include a verb and a number, like “click 1,000 times” or “donate $20,000” or “send 2,500 letters”
- One or more AUDIENCEs: the fewer the better, and they must all share the same [MOTIVATIONs]
- One or more MOTIVATIONs: Both related to your goal AND unrelated to your goal, like “creating a more diverse workplace” and/or “a love of comic books”
Optional distribution-oriented elements:
- An approximate TIME AND DATE: “during work” or “Tuesday evenings” or “at the staff meeting” or even “at home”
- One or more CHANNELs: “on Facebook” or “YouTube” or “our website”
- One or more DEVICEs: “on their mobile phone” or “on a big screen in an auditorium”
Replace as appropriate in the following statement:
“We need to accomplish [GOAL]. One way video can help us reach that goal is by driving the right audience to [MEASURABLE ACTION]. Based on [RESEARCH], the audience in the best position to help us reach that goal is [AUDIENCE]. Further research seems to indicate that [AUDIENCE] are strongly motivated by [MOTIVATIONs]. It is our hypothesis that if we make a video which frames our [GOAL] in reference to [MOTIVATIONs], then [AUDIENCE] will [MEASURABLE ACTION].”
Optional: Fill in this part to help better target where, how, and when to deliver you video:
Finally, it is our understanding that [AUDIENCE] generally consumes the most video at [TIME AND DATE] on [CHANNEL] on [DEVICE], so we believe that creating content optimized for that [CHANNEL] and [DEVICE] and delivered at [TIME AND DATE] will improve our results.”
“ACK! Putting numbers on it is terrifying!”
Only the first time (or two). Take what you learn and add it to your RESEARCH.
After that, you’ll have enough data to make better predictions… and better video… next time.
“This is too Complicated, I won’t sleep for a week!”
No worries! Anything you don’t want to do, we can handle, from RESEARCH to targeting the AUDIENCE to defining the best MEASURABLE ACTION, just let us know.