Once upon a time in the world of mass media, ‘broadcast’ was the name of the game. The most successful advertisers were the ones that could reach the widest audience at the most efficient price-points. But years of market research soon revealed that broadcast campaigns were less effective than marketers originally thought. More and more consumers were using commercial breaks to take breaks and grab snacks. As a result, advertisers were taking gambles on long-shot campaign theories that mask themselves as battle-tested facts.

Today, the most strategic path forward is “native,” and it’s a marketing concept that’s anchored around in-depth relationships and engagement.

With new technologies emerging and the market going through constant evolution, what are the best KPIs for measuring video ad engagement in the new world of native? How do you build the information you’re generating into your marketing campaigns? Here’s a quick list of ideas based on 7 years of insight into the fast-changing native video landscape, to incorporate into your next native video campaign.

Average Watchthrough

This metric captures the length of the video that viewers watch through, on average. Get a sense of how much time audiences are spending with your video content, and quantify how much content people are consuming. It’s a measure of engagement.

By tracking watchthrough, you’ll create marketing concepts that are better targeted and optimized around the unique video-watching patterns of your target audience. For instance, you may notice that audiences in younger demographic groups drop off at an earlier point than older counterparts. In this case, you could take one of a few steps: articulate your value proposition earlier in your video, condense your narrative, or create a new video that’s better tailored to your least engaged segments—the list goes on, but the bottom line is that aver age watchthrough can help ensure that your message is resonating with your target audience.

If you know that your video had an average watchthrough of two minutes before people stopped to drop off—you can rest assured that from a content engagement perspective, you’re on the right track.

Completion Rate

Defined as the percentage of viewers who completed the video, this metric tells you how closely your audience is paying attention to your marketing message. It builds upon watchthrough by adding an additional layer: it tells you how engaged audiences were with your campaign as a whole—providing an indicator of how likely they might be to progress through your company’s conversion funnel, as a result. And because this metric is platform-agnostic, it’s a strong indicator of whether or not your content itself was engaging.

Completion rates are a sign that your audiences enjoy what they’re viewing. Rather than x-ing out of your video content early, they actually pay attention to what you have to say.

Your company’s most engaged audiences are the ones who will best recognize your value, listen to your marketing messages, share what you have to offer with their friends and family, and eventually become customers. Video completion rates are among your strongest signals and earliest indicators of a happy viewer.

Like watchthrough, it’s a powerful way to measure engagement.

Click-through Rate

This metric measures secondary brand engagement.

At the end of the day, you want your audiences to do more than just watch your video: you want them to take action upon your marketing messages, browse your website, and become customers either now or down the road.

Click-through rates are a strong signal that you’ve connected with the right audience and they are eager to learn more about your brand. It’s an opportunity to redirect your line of communication from education and entertainment to sales—a powerful supplement to your video distribution campaigns. Launch more successful marketing programs by compelling your audiences to take action.

It’s a sign that you’ve targeted the right audiences and can drive secondary brand engagement. From this perspective, you might notice some interesting trends: for instance, audiences who spend more time watching your video may be more likely to click through to your website.


A video might be playing, but is it actually being seen?

The last thing that you want, as a marketer, is to pay for distribution that never reaches the human eye.

If you’ve been in advertising in a while, you know that the marketing ecosystem can be complex—and even a bit dicey at times. You need to make sure that your native video ad partner offers a strong publisher network and mechanism to measure view transparently and authentically.

Measure viewability so that you can accurately capture the performance of your campaign—measure real engagement, not technical tricks and glitches.

Knowing the Whole Story

Focus on more than just one metric: people are complex, which means that you need to measure engagement from multiple dimensions. Measure performance now, and compare those benchmarks with changes that you observe in the future. Strive to iterate upon your campaigns. The best native video distribution KPIs will help you measure progress and improve upon your campaigns.