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View Through Rate: The Essential Statistic to Creating a Great YouTube Ad Campaign

Rich Drees
Rich Drees

VTR stands for “view through rate” and is the most overlooked statistic in YouTube Ads.

VTR stands for “view through rate” and is an essential piece of data for understanding the efficiency of your ad campaign. It is commonly assumed that impressions and click-throughs are the ruling statistics for determining the value of an ad. Using these figure alone will not give you a complete impression of how your ad is doing. To understand your ad’s conversion rate, you need to look at your VTR.

VTR is calculated by dividing the number of completed views on a skippable ad by the number of its initial impressions, or VTR= (completed views)/(initial impressions). While the calculation is quite simple, it will give you a much greater idea about the performance of your ad.

The Most Common Measurement for YouTube Ad Success

The metrics commonly measured to understand the success of an ad campaign are the click-through rate, and impressions. However, these two measures do not capture the way that consumers interact with ads. You need a full understanding of how exactly you can track your ROI for YouTube video marketing efforts and performance of your different tactics.Seldom does one see a banner ad on the highway and immediately pull over to the store to buy that product. However, the prevalence of certain brands images in consumer’s lives does affect whether or not they buy it in the long run. In other words, while banner ads might seem ineffective because they do not garner immediate results, if you look at their efficacy long term, you might be surprised. Banner ads have a way of working their way into a consumer’s understanding of a market. Consumers are more likely to purchase something they’ve seen advertised than something they’ve never seen before. Ergo, banner ads can help shape future markets, even if they do not create immediate effects.

Measuring Conversion Vs. Measuring Effectiveness in Ads

Obviously, it’s great to know how many people click through an ad. That’s a measure of conversion. However, these numbers tend to be so low as to prove ineffective. In fact, less than 0.1 percent of ad viewers actually click through an ad. To put that percentage in perspective, an ad viewer is more likely to be admitted to Harvard than click on an ad link. This number is so small because it does not provide adequate data about the audience interested in your product. So, while it’s great to know how many consumers are ready to purchase your product after viewing an ad, the small amount of data this collects is not good for determining who your market is or how to shape your advertisement better. Moreover, it might be a good measure of conversion in a moment but doesn’t give you an accurate grasp of an ads conversion ability overall.

Looking at impressions also doesn’t gauge interest. Impressions are a way to measure how many people see the ad. This too is a critical measurement. Reach is an incredibly important component of advertising and getting your product seen by as many people as you can is an excellent way to make your presence known. However, impressions are unimportant if the people you’re reaching have no interest in or need for your product. If you reach three million people on a website for the blind and your product is a lamp, it’s clear that having an impressive impression number will not result in more conversion. While impressions are great at determining the reach and scale of your YouTube remarketing campaigns, they don’t help indicate whether you are reaching the right people.

View Through Rate Is a Measurement of Interest on YouTube

VTR, on the other hand, gives a real idea of who is interested in your company. VTR measures how many people don’t click away. In an age where ad video’s play before content, it is natural for a viewer to simply want to get rid of the ad and get to what they actually intended to see. If you create an ad that keeps people with you, you know you’ve done something right. Of course, there are always factors that affect whether or not the data is accurate (maybe a viewer went to the bathroom and left an ad playing in the background), but it’s still data that gives some measure of who is interested in your brand.

So, while click-through rate might make you a good idea of possible immediate consumers, and impressions gives you an idea of your reach, your VTR helps you understand how many people are interested in your company. Mainly, the VTR is helping you understand who your future markets might be. People who, perhaps aren’t interested in completing a sale at that moment, but are interested in your company and perhaps buying in the future. In other words, this metric allows you to see your potential reach. Understanding your potential reach is also important because it can give you data essential for continuing to improve your marketing. Run filters on the people who clicked through to better understand the demographics you are most effective in and then refine your advertisements to better appeal to those markets.

Measuring Loyalty and Comprehension for Ads 

Because click-through rates are often devastatingly low, and a number of impressions are so broad as to be unhelpful, it is easy to get disheartened over the efficacy of advertising. However, this is partial because these commonly used measures fail to understand an ad’s long term effects on the conversion rate. Advertisements have never had their strength in immediate conversion, rather building up brand presence and loyalty over time. By measuring VTR, it is possible for your marketing team to get a better grasp of who has an interest in the product and, therefore, who might buy in the future. While this measure is by no means perfect, it is important for understanding who your ad is reaching. This leads to better assessment and improvement on ad performance.

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Rich Drees
Rich Drees Member
Rich is the resident Video Producer, Social Media Strategist, and Owner/Manager of VR. He frequently writes about cutting edge ideas for Video Distribution and how Brands need to harness the Social Media Platforms of today to reach the customers of tomorrow. Stay tuned for more!