On Animation
December 18, 2015

How to check the popularity of your animated video

If you read our previous article on how to make your company’s animated video stand out, you’ll know that getting your video in front of eyeballs can be a challenging and oft times hit-and-miss process. But when you start to notice interest picking up, how do you truly get an idea of your video’s effectiveness? Is your explainer video reaching its intended audience, and are those views converting to sales? In today’s blog we’ll be looking at several different methods for checking the statistics of your video, as well as different ways of considering what makes a popular explainer video.

video sharing site analytics (youtube/vimeo)

Most video sharing sites come with at least a basic set of analytics to help track the popularity of your videos. Vimeo has a standard graph of view counts for Basic members, and advanced statistics for Vimeo PRO subscribers. Youtube has a fairly extensive analytics toolset for all members (under ‘Creator Studio > Analytics) which includes breakdowns of view numbers, watch times, average view duration, traffic sources and audience demographics. Analytics are available for both individual videos and your Youtube channel as a whole.

But how do we use these statistics in a meaningful way? For starters, the audience demographics can be used to study whether your video is reaching its intended target market, or whether you’re picking up an unexpected group that you could be marketing to. Traffic sources and playback locations can help show you where most of your viewers are finding your video on the internet, whether directly through the video site search, or embedded in an external location such as your company website.

Another useful stat is the Device chart, which lays out the percentage of viewers watching on different devices (computer, mobile, tablet, game console or TV). The default for most content creators is to cater to computer screens, however if you’re finding an unusually large portion of your audience watches your video through mobile, then it could be time to start specifically catering to, and targeting, heavy mobile users.

website analytics (free, paid)

Of course, if the pride of place for your video content is on your website, you’ll want to discover the wide range of website analytics available. If you constructed your website through a host like WordPress, you’ll find a small amount of built-in analytics tools in the Stats section of your website’s admin settings.

If the tools freely available don’t suit your needs, you can purchase analytic tools and website reports from external providers. The big one is Google Analytics, though there are an almost endless host of other services available if you, ironically, just Google it.

Website analytics aim to provide information about the way your viewership evolves over time, such as before and after the launch of a new ad campaign. Similarly the launch of a new explainer video, coupled with a complementary social media marketing campaign, could be an ideal time to test out the response using your analytic tools of choice.

heat map tools

If your explainer video sits on the front page of your website but you’re unsure if visitors are actually hitting the play button or moving right along, you can utilise a heat map tool to give a visual representation of exactly how visitors are interacting with your site. Several kinds of heat maps exists, including scroll, click, mouse cursor, and engagement heat maps, which visually show which parts of the web page visitors are spending the most time on.

There are many popular heat map tool providers currently on the market, each with their own advantages. Crazy Egg offers a ‘confetti’ heat map, which splits up the different traffic sources arriving to your website to show how each one responds. This is particularly useful if your campaign is targeting more than one platform, as it will help reveal where your advertising efforts are paying off. Clicktale has a strong focus on screen recording, which can be useful if you’re looking to discover if visitors are watching your front page explainer video all the way through.

If you’re looking into purchasing heat map tools for your website, the main consideration is to find a provider that will most strongly cater to your individual needs as a company and provide clear insights as to how your visitors are interacting with your video content.

conversion rates

Pure view numbers mean nothing if it’s not working to produce an end result for your service or product. The more valuable number to look at is your conversion rate. This is calculated by dividing the amount of website visitors by the amount of follow-through achievements. For online businesses, achievements are usually sales-based: for example, your conversion rate could be the amount of website visitors who turn into customers.

It can sometimes be difficult to determine how your explainer video is affecting your conversion rate directly, particularly if large parts of your business are operated offline. However, coupling the changes of this rate with a heat map study or basic before-and-after analytics can provide some valuable insights into what’s turning your website traffic into paying customers.

engagement and discussion

Popularity isn’t all about numbers though. Another way to gauge the reception of your explainer video (and your business as a whole) is to look at the level and type of engagement it develops across video sharing and social media sites.

As video virality and general sharing habits are organic processes that span across multiple platforms (eg. Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, Reddit) this can be harder to track than the analytics of any one site. At very least, Google and its reverse image search are your friends in this situation, as they’ll help you find any shared instances of your video outside the ones you set up.

But don’t expect your video to share itself—most especially with corporate videos. Alongside a large dose of luck, it often takes a lot self-sharing, and researching the more effective sites to share your video to, to get the ball rolling. Check out our blog ‘How to make your company’s explainer video stand out’ for tips on fostering a sense of community between your online followers and your brand.


There are many different tools on the market for measuring the statistics of your explainer video viewership. Whichever your method for gauging popularity, the most important thing to keep in mind is what you do with this information once you have it. The internet is a rapidly changing marketplace, and learning to keep on your toes is quickly becoming a vital skill of being an online retailer. Adjusting and readjusting your online presence to best attract your target audience while keeping a balance between transparency and business image is a skill made slightly easier when you have the stats and analytics to back up your choices.

Written by
Maree Railton

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