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Gabriel Marguglio June 6, 2019 4 min read

5 Ways to Improve Video Play Rate


Video is becoming an incredibly important tool for marketers everywhere. Video Marketing is effective at grabbing and holding the attention of your audience, getting started is easy, and you can do it with equipment you’re probably using right now. There are no excuses left for not doing video. With video comes a lot of opportunities to strengthen your content as well as the ability to learn more about it through the multitude of metrics available.

With so much information available, deciding on which metrics to track can be daunting. Find the right one by asking the right question: What percentage of people who get to your video are actually playing it?

Start tracking your Play Rate, and keep a thumb on the pulse of your video, your website, and your audience.


What is Video Play Rate?

Play Rate represents the percentage of users who visit or see the video that actually press play.

For example, if your play rate is 50%, then half the people who end up seeing your video are pressing that play button.


Why is Video Play Rate Important?

Video play rate can tell you a lot about your videos, your website, and your audience. Is your video on the wrong page? Are you promoting it in the wrong way? Does your audience not want this type of content? There are a million and one things to learn by tracking Play Rate.

Learning these things will help you improve the videos you produce, how you use those videos, and how you promote them. While the information will tell you a lot, it won’t tell you exactly what you need to do to increase it.

For example, knowing that nobody clicks on videos about blogs might mean you should slow down on creating content on that topic, but it could also mean that you should promote that content more or in different ways. It’s up to you to continue to try new things. This process of testing to see what works will eventually guide you down the correct path, but the definitive thing you should be learning from tracked metrics is that something does need to be changed.

What are some ways for you to improve your video play rate? Start by tracking it.


Track it to Improve it

Screen Shot 2019-06-13 at 5.52.42 PM
Databox Board: Video Play Rate from Wistia

The more you track it, the more ways you’ll find to improve it. These can include:

1. Placement of the video on your site: Changing where the video is located on the page can affect the play rate significantly.Lets say you created a pillar page with a lot of written content on it and at the very end you embed a video on the page. Out of the number of people that visited that page, how many of them do you think made it to the end to watch your video? Consider putting your video towards the top of the page to get more eyes, and eventually plays to your video content.

2. Optimize the thumbnail: Stats say thumbnails with people will always do better than a landscape or just text.  With Wistia, you can even make a video thumbnail to make your video more engaging and improve the play rate. Learn from the videos you have that are performing well and find what is consistent amongst those videos. Maybe videos with motion thumbnails are driving the most plays. Take that information and test it with other videos.

3. Improve the player: Change the colors, adapt your branding, change the size. Do anything to improve the player and make your video more inviting to a visitor. By adding your branding to the player, it gives your site users a more consistent experience that may encourage them to engage with your content more. Wistia provides many tools in this vein as well.

4. Chapters: Long videos can be intimidating. Break them up with chapters and let people go straight to the relevant information that they seek.

5. Test and repeat: A/B testing is tedious sometimes, but necessary. The more you can learn and fine-tune your videos and content the more successful they will be. Wistia’s A/B testing feature lets you compare two videos using a custom embed code. This really simplifies the process of analyzing each video’s performance by seeing what’s working and what isn’t.


How to set goals and report on the performance of your video play rate

Play Rate is an unheralded statistic but one you should be striving to improve on.  There are a number of ways to measure and report on your play rate, depending on where your videos are hosted. Databox offers a variety of visual templates where you can track and report on your video play rate using sources like Wistia or Youtube. Pull data from all your sources and put them onto one graphic for easy-to-use analysis and reporting.

Examples of high play rates

examples of great play rates and the videos that they are on

At the end of the day, the audience will always point you in the right direction and metrics like play rate are the way they do it. Listen to them.