A video audit does not need to be a one of those miserable tasks that you push to the bottom of your list, after ‘clean the curtains’ and ‘reconcile your bank account’. Yes, they can be extremely complicated and time consuming, leaving you with endless data that you simply cannot make sense of.
However, at TopLine, we like to take a more simplistic and pragmatic approach, because when a client asks us to conduct a video audit, they usually want it done quickly and they don’t want to spend too much of their precious video budget going down an Excel rabbit hole of view-through-rates, site page prioritisation and video engagement analyses.
So we’ve developed a process that helps us quickly get a good overview of the data and make recommendations that will have the most impact. Here’s our secret to conducting a video audit, broken down into steps:
We start with the goals
Before we start auditing any video content, we need to understand the relevant goals. And by that we mean the organisation’s goals, the goals of the marketing strategy, how video is used to meet those goals alongside other tools, and the goals of the audit. Yes, there might be many goals, but we really just want to drill down to the three most important, as they will keep us focussed throughout the process. It could look something like this:
Organisation goals: to grow by 50% over the next year.
To identify the best way to achieve the video goals.
Then we learn more about the business
In order to conduct an effective video audit, we need to understand the client’s products and services and the target market they are going for. This information needs to be current as so many companies have heaps of video content relating to old products or services that are no longer available, or no longer a priority for the business. It could be that keeping this content active is detrimental to the business as it’s sending completely the wrong message to the market. So we need to understand:
Who are we targeting (it’s ideal if the client already has persona research)?
What are the products or services that the business wants to focus on?
Are there any products or services that have been discontinued or markets that the business is no longer serving?
We build our video inventory
We are now in a position to build our video inventory, which is simply a list in a spreadsheet of all the historical content produced by this business. We do this by:
Exporting a list of videos from the company’s YouTube channel.
Trawling their social feeds for native video content.
Crawling their site with a tool like Screaming Frog to identify which pages contain video.
This is a pretty thorough method for creating a list of all video content produced by this company.
Then we pause
Now we have to make a decision based on the practicalities of conducting this audit. If we have 100 videos, then great. We simply proceed to the next step.
However, if our inventory contains 10,000 videos, we need to decide which ones we are going to analyse. We’ll talk to the client to come up with a plan for how to choose which video content to include in our analysis. We will usually base this on which videos have had the most traffic and views over the last 12 months – that will help us to get our database down to a manageable level. If the client wanted every single video analysed, we would probably just allocate loads of resource to the project – but that’s never happened because the client has always agreed that there’s a point at which returns on additional investment start to diminish.
Next, we gather data
This means populating the video inventory with heaps of data. It’s an admin-heavy task, and it needs to be done thoroughly.
We’ll typically include columns for basic video information
Video location (e.g. YouTube, LinkedIn, client website)
Produced by (the client will have to help us with this)
The more thorough and comprehensive we can be here, the better, as this data will inform the next few steps.
Now, we review
In order to complete the next part of our video audit, there is no alternative but to watch the content (see now why we don’t want to analyse a database of 10,000 videos). And we like our producers to do this, because they can quickly spot issues that need to be recorded in the next few columns in our spreadsheet. They will need to look at:
Production value – we stick to high, medium and low
Whether the video is still on-brand – on-brand / off-brand in the spreadsheet
How long does it take the video get to the point? – we usually cover this in a column called “intro length” which is measured in seconds.
How current is this video? Is it current or out of date? For example, if the video refers to Donald Trump as a captain of industry, rather than the 45th president of the United States, then it’s out of date.
Is it right for the target audience? Our producers will have a good feel for this based on the persona research.
In addition to completing these five columns, our producers will make notes on anything that crops up and needs to be discussed with the client. Which brings us nicely to our next step.
We discuss the results so far with our client
Before we make any recommendations, we run through the data with our client, to make sure that they agree with the evaluations we have made. This is usually a call where we talk through our reasoning on the five points above. We like to end this call with agreement.
Then we categorise our videos
If we’ve done all the previous steps well, then this one is relatively easy. We simply categorise each video into one of the following groups.
Great content that is performing well.
Leave it as it is.
Content that is no longer needed and is detracting from the company’s ability to meet its goals
Remove this content and, if necessary, redirect the link on the page where the video is hosted.
Where the content is needed but the current video doesn’t quite meet the purpose.
Update or repurpose this content. Hopefully the client still has access to the raw footage. This category represents some quick wins as the work can be done relatively quickly.
Where the content is needed but the current video fails to deliver its purpose, requiring it to be replaced with a new video.
Add this to the video production plan.
For content that is good but where the distribution strategy has failed.
Identify where this content might perform better – e.g. on a page on the client’s website, or on a social feed. It might require re-editing. This category also represents an easy win.
For some clients, this represents the end of the video audit. However, for many others, this is a starting point to planning out their video strategy for the year. Our next step.
Build out the video strategy
Based on the results of the video audit, we would then look to build out the video strategy. Our first step, would be to advise on a plan for retiring, refreshing and relocating videos as per the recommendations from the video audit.
Then, we would create a long list of potential new content. This would include:
The ‘redo’ videos from the audit.
Videos that meet the gaps left after the audit is complete. For example, products or services that are not yet covered, target personas that have not been reached, or decision stages that are not represented.
This typically leaves us with a very long list of potential videos. In an ideal world the client would give us unlimited budget as their chosen video production company to produce every video on the list. But that’s never happened.
Instead we work with the client to evaluate new content requirements, creating a list of priorities. We then work out how best we can produce the most important videos on the list within the client’s budget. It’s a process that involves friendly arguing, discussion and debate. But it’s totally worth it, because in the end, we feel confident that the client is investing in the videos that will deliver the best results.