How to improve the Play Rate of your videos

Here are some proven tactics for improving your play rate, dashboards to track your progress, and ways to share results as they happen.

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What is video Play Rate?

Play Rate is a ratio measured by the number of plays an individual video receives divided by the overall impressions on that same video.

Of all the people that came across an individual video online, what percentage of them hit play?

This metric is similar to an email open, in that it is only a measure of how engaging the presentation/pitch of your content is (thumbnails, title content, etc..), it is not a measurement of how engaging the actual content is.

Here are some longer-form articles you might find helpful:

There are many proven methods that can help optimize specific metrics, but which methods should you be applying to all of your video efforts? Here are some proven tactics.
List of Tactics
  • Consider page placement. If your video is embedded at the bottom of a large page, chances are nobody is reaching the part of the page to play it. Use tools like Lucky Orange or Hotjar to see how users are interacting with your pages and then put your video content on pages where your users are currently engaging with your website.
  • Optimize the thumbnail. Adjusting the thumbnail of a video can help create engagement. It’s important to test different thumbnails with the audience you’re trying to engage with because not all tactics work the same for everyone. Some suggestions for thumbnail optimizations are, 1) Show people, 2) Add some text, like a title, and 3) Use software like Wistia to create a motion thumbnail.
  • Optimize the player size. The size of the video embedded on your website plays a significant role in your play rate success. Wistia did research and found that the dimension sweet spot for increased play rate is between 401-600 px width and 301-450px height.
  • Add branding to the player. Some video platforms allow you to customize your video player by adding branding and changing the player color. The research found that videos with a custom player color saw an 18% increase in play rate.
  • Add Chapters. If your video content is long, add chapters to allow users to skip ahead to content that may be more relevant to them. Giving the users more control over this experience and allowing them to choose the information they want to consume from your long-form content, helps improve your play rate.
  • Match Content with Visitor Intent. It’s not just about visual engagement, it is also important to match the video content with the visitors intent on the page. If your video’s content isn’t relevant to the visitor, your video play rate will suffer.
  • Video A/B Testing. Some video hosting companies allow you to a/b test your videos to prove which tactics work better than others. We recommend taking an a/b testing approach to all of the above tactics by testing one thing at a time. For example: Test a still thumbnail vs a motion thumbnail, then learn how your audience responds to those iterations.
How to Track Play Rate

When you monitor your impact as you implement your plan, you're also empowered to adapt your approach as needed in order to stay on track.

The following dashboard templates are plug-and-play and will allow you and your team to track progress toward the KPI and goal you've outlined.

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Wistia Performance Overview

Wistia Performance Overview

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Get a detailed overview on the performance of your projects and indivusual videos.

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Share results as they happen

Sharing results - good and bad - as things happen, allows you and your team to celebrate victories, do more of the activities that produce results, and course-correct when things aren't working.

Most importantly, it creates an environment where everyone feels in control of the company's performance next week, month, quarter, and beyond.

Set up a Scorecard and Alert in order to keep you and your team up-to-date on your progress toward the goal you selected earlier.

Track your progress toward these KPIs in real time

With Databox free, you can pull all your data into one place, set goals around specific KPIs, and track performance and discover insights in real-time.

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