How to Establish Goals and KPIs for your Videos


You want to make a video that resonates with your audience and gets them to act. But how do you measure that? What does success look like?

It’s important to break this down into two pieces: first you must establish goals and then you can determine which metrics to monitor (KPIs).

After reading this post, you’ll be able to plan your videos more effectively and know if they're actually performing well. Then the conversation with your boss will go something like this: “BOOM!”

 How to establish goals and KPIs for your marketing videos.

Ok, let's jump in...

Why do you want to make a video? The answer to that question should help you get started with establishing goals (unless you said “because it’s cool”).

Let’s fill in the blank:

I want to make a video that  ________________.

Example: I want to make a video that gets people to sign up for our service.

Each video should have one primary goal and it should be based on past performance if possible. It’s best to compare results to other videos that had the same goal.

Example: If your last video had 55 conversions, the goal of your new video could be 65 conversions.

But let’s say you don’t have another video to compare. Take a look at other assets that had a similar goal: blog post, whitepaper, webinar, ebook, PDF. Even though it’s different media, it will give you an idea to the effectiveness of your video in comparison to those assets.

After you’ve established your goals, it’s time to determine your KPIs. These are the key metrics to review after your video is published.

The KPIs are unique to your business and directly correlated with your goals. I think it’s best to list some examples:

Explainer Video (B2C) - Primary goal is new customers.
KPI #1: conversions (new customers).
KPI #2: return visitors (current customers).
KPI #3: average time watched (engagement).
KPI #4: time on site (user experience).
KPI #5: feedback from customers (user experience).

Explainer Video (B2B) - Primary goal is sales leads.
KPI #1: conversions (sales leads).
KPI #2: offline sales rep feedback (user experience).
KPI #3: average time watched (engagement).
KPI #4: time on site (user experience).
KPI #5: feedback from customers (user experience).

Branding Video (B2C and B2B) - Primary goal is brand awareness.
KPI #1: views (branding).
KPI #2: shares (engagement).
KPI #3: average time watched (engagement).
KPI #4: time on site (user experience).
KPI #5: feedback from customers (user experience).

Typically, your top two metrics will be: engagement and conversions.

Let’s walk through a few scenarios:

Does the viewer watch your video until completion (engagement).

Most of the engagement metrics will be found in your video hosting analytics. This is why it’s important where you host your videos! I wrote a post about video hosting and talked about the three best options: Vimeo, YouTube, and Wistia.

But when it comes to analytics, YouTube and Wistia take the cake. Vimeo just doesn’t give enough information to make an informed decision.

Here are the metrics to monitor per hosting platform (click the names to read more detail):


  • Plays
  • Loads (when player loads, like an impression for display ads)
  • Comments
  • Shares
  • Finishes (how many viewers watched video until completion)


  • Audience Retention (see where viewers are dropping off)
  • Watch time (on average, how long are viewers watching)
  • Views
  • Shares
  • Comments


  • Average engagement (on average viewers watched __% of the video)
  • Play rate (out of __ video loads, __ played the video)
  • Heatmap (how long are viewers watching and which parts get multiple views/rewatch)
  • Plays
  • Shares

Does the video inspire them to take action (conversion).

On the hosting side you can look at how many people clicked-through on your call-to-action. For example: you can have an annotation at the end of your YouTube video that links through to a landing page. YouTube will provide those analytics.

But you’ll want to dive deeper to see if viewers are actually converting to customers. This is where Google Analytics comes into play.

If possible, create a dedicated landing page for your videos. Then any conversions that come from that page can be attributed to the videos. Otherwise you’ll have to look at the referral sources to determine if the customer came from your video hosting platform.

Bottom line: make sure your goals are set-up in Google Analytics, before you post the video!

Let’s wrap it up!

First establish your goals, then determine your KPIs. 

The most important question to ask yourself: why do I want to make a video?

I’m still learning how to read analytics to make informed decisions with my videos. It’s a work-in-progress and I plan to learn out loud.

But more importantly, I would love to hear from you! What is the goal of your next video and what KPIs will you be measuring?


Lance Miller

Level Set Films, San Francisco Bay Area

Lance Miller is a filmmaker and owner of Level Set Films, a video production company in the San Francisco Bay Area. He also teaches what he's learned about business on his site Freedom Everything.