Table of Content

What is Video Engagement and how to Measure it

Table of Content

Understand the science behind video engagement and its measurement

100 million.

That’s how may hours of video are watched on Facebook every day.

Add that to the hundreds of millions of Instagram story users, and you begin go gain a clear pattern:

Video is the undisputed king of content formats.

Our brains are wired in a way that makes us far more likely to retain visual content compared to text.

Accordingly, people stay on a website for as much as two minutes longer and are about 64% more likely to purchase something when it is presented using video.

As online viewing trends continue to spike, we, as marketing professionals, are going to need to make sure to stay ahead of the curve.

Given the incredible amount of diverse target markets out there, it would be impossible to offer a uniform, blanket formula that will work for every business out there. Video engagement, however, is a great place to begin with.

man looking at mobile


What is video engagement?

There isn’t a single, reliable definition of what video engagement means to every player in the market.  Total view count (i.e the number of people who watched a given video) and shares on social media are important, but they are mostly surface-level data, and do not provide the in-depth insights most companies value.

A variety of elements factor in here, such as your video length and how you typically structure it.

In general terms, video engagement is considered the primary factor that determines how much information viewers will retain from the videos they watch.

In other words, the number of viewers whom both stay to view your content and don’t tune out in the middle of your presentation. It goes without saying, that the higher the level of video engagement, the higher the effectiveness of the video.

A definition that will resonate with a significant number of people, however, focuses on what happens in the first ten seconds of a video. Companies can set aside certain elements that define user interaction and engagement. These can include the number of viewers retained over that period or the number of clicks your banner receives. Since this is not a consistent metric (and some companies’ videos’ run time is less than ten seconds) you may want to measure engagement in other ways. Actions like liking the video, sharing and subscribing are all viable, valid options.

Depending on the kind of data your video host provides, there are a lot of other metrics that can be put into the mix to fine-tune the data output.


sitting man computer

How to measure video engagement

The key to accurately gauging video engagement is collecting the right kind of data. Different video hosts provide a myriad of analytical metrics that you can then use to measure engagement on your videos.

One thing to remember is that as you create your video content, you will be better off building engagement strategically,  rather than use tricks and shortcuts lots of marketers tend to settle for. What you need more than anything is to find what your target audience thinks is relevant and discover new ways to leverage the information you already have. An end-user should be pulled into the viewership cycle and be provided with material that helps him or her learn more. If necessary, support-content and conversations can be thrown into the mix.

smile indian


Video viewing: Identifying a time threshold

A basic metric of video engagement is quarterly tracking. The chart showcasing the percentage of viewers who make it to 25%, 50%, 75%, and 100% marks reflect on how engaging your video is. Keep in mind that fewer people are likely to reach the 100% mark than reach the 25% mark. That’s completely normal, especially if your videos tend to be longer.

Videos that are just a minute long have the highest viewer retention up to the 30-second mark, with 80% retention; while relatively long videos that drag on for 5-10 minutes have just over 50% retention, according to data from Cincopa.

In other words, it’s nearly impossible to get 100% viewer retention. Don’t waste resources and times trying to pursue that target.

Once compiled, you can then use this data to create a report for each video to better understand which videos generate higher retention rates. It’s then possible to deduce which content and subjects are more engaging towards your target audience.

Better yet, if your videos are broken down into more specific categories, you can study each one of them individually and find out which content interests your users the most. If any ads appear at any point of the video, you can also use their completion rates to measure the effectiveness of your video.


man looking at mobile

How do people interact with your video?

Beyond hardcore metrics, the kind of interactions that take place within the video player itself can give you some more insight into the minds of your viewers. If, or when, the size of the video player is changed and whether the video is shared on social media are elements that can be factored into the engagement calculation equation.

Which leads us to the video interaction rate.

Video interaction rate is calculated by dividing the total number of interactions on all your videos against the number of times your video has started playing.

Here, the kind of interactions you want to measure are entirely up to you. However, it’s advisable to use metrics like video rewatches, player-related actions, resizing, and other such metrics over social media analytics. There’s no harm in using them if you’re confident they won’t disrupt your final report.

Video interaction rates can also be applied toward specific videos, rather than your whole collection. This will allow you to take note of which videos are doing better than the others. That way, you will be able to dig deeper into what’s helping keep your viewers engaged.

Create segments of your videos using collected metrics

Different people will interact with your content in different ways. To measure the impact of videos across the board, you can divvy up your market into different segments, depending on how various viewers interact with your content.

Take the modern example of a typical online store that offers a range of products to customers all over the globe.
To promote the products, it creates a few product videos and uses them on its detail pages. The ecommerce store can then use the viewership segmentation metric, and find out that, on average, higher completion rates of videos correlate with higher conversion rates. People who finish watching the video have completion rates that are 50% higher than those who don’t watch the video at all.

This information can then be integrated into various forms of marketing campaigns, such as paid advertising and social media outlets to bring in potential clients to your site. The video completion metric can be used to specifically target users who have completed about ¾ of the content or more. Various channels can then be tested, and whichever works for specific people can be used to increase eventual conversion rates. Once a user completes a purchase, the channel should be adapted accordingly.

This should be the beginning of how you properly use these metrics. Several strategies can be adopted, each of which has different implications. It’s up to you, the marketer, to understand how specific video content fits together with your target audience, and which kind of videos work best (i.e. have the highest engagement and conversion rates).


There are several ways to measure video engagement. Ultimately, however, a compelling video is defined as one that delivers the intended message to the viewer. And, despite common tropes, engagement encompasses much more than just the number of viewers or how many video minutes have been watched on your channel. If the video’s content  isn’t very interesting and fails to stimulate your audience, retention and recall rates will suffer. Depending on how complex the topic you are trying to address is, or how niche your market is, you may need to adjust your video marketing strategies to boost engagement.


Video metrics, such as click through rates and play rates are elementary stats. However, they are merely a stepping stone. Clicks on video calls-to-action, drop off points and other important metrics will paint a far more exact picture regarding your video’s performance.

Additionally, there’s no magic potion you can use to create an engaging video. It requires a lot of experimentation and tweaking to get things right. It won’t always work; not everyone will be interested in whatever you have to say. But with a little bit of effort, and a whole lot of research, it’s a lot easier to come up with a successful recipe. Every mistake you make serves as an opportunity to learn and refine your efforts.

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Originally published on August 23rd, 2018, updated on February 22nd, 2024
The Blog

What is Video Engagement and how to Measure it

by Tomer Iserovitch time to read: 6 min