YouTube

Understanding your YouTube campaign's view through rate

Do you regularly calculate your YouTube view-through rate (VTR)? What’s that, you ask? It’s understandable that in the online ad world, impressions are the reigning statistic that advertisers go off of to determine the value and effectiveness of an ad campaign. While impressions are great, they don’t paint the entire picture. To get an accurate count of an ad’s conversion you need to acquaint yourself with VTR.

View through rate

With skippable ads (ads that you have the option to skip over after five seconds), you are billed when the first frame renders even if users decide to skip over the ad. What you’re left with is an impression statistic that is not entirely representative of your ad’s performance.

VTR is measured as “the number of completed views of a skippable ad over the number of initial impressions.” Basically, VTR takes your impressions statistics and puts them into greater context, next to the raw number of people that have completed views of your skippable ad. This is important to note because it is not that impressions are an unimportant figure, but they are potentially misleading if left without a framework by which to compare them.

How to calculate VTR

VTR formula: VTR = Complete views (users didn’t skip the ad) / Impressions (ad rendered)

Related: How to calculate ROI and ROAS

Why is it important?

At the most basic level, the importance of calculating the VTR is that it gives advertisers a quantifiable way to know how their ad efforts engage consumers. From there, you can optimize your campaign to be more effective by assessing which sites convert the best for your advertisements and to gain new insights into your ad view data. This is the type of information that you, as an advertiser, can use to improve your ad campaigns proactively.

Perhaps most importantly, though, is that view-through conversions are a better representation of upper and middle funnel performance than other measures like click-through. It’s not exactly a secret that display ads have some tragically low click-through conversion rates. Instead of writing the medium off entirely, use view-through conversion to accurately assess how effective your ads spread your company’s influence.

Sometimes advertising seems like a losing game — consumers don’t want to be bothered by ads, and if they have a choice to skip or not, chances are they’ll do it. But, not everyone skips, if they did, we would not be deeply engaged in social media advertising. By paying attention to VTR, you are provided with a more refined scope with which to assess the value of your ad efforts and to afford yourself the opportunity to improve ad performance.

Lynn Pedotto

Lynn Pedotto is a writer who holds an MS from Medill. In addition to covering all things social, she’s a policy wonk who loves to write about government.