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YouTube Launches New Video Conversion Tracking

Engaged View Conversions Could Solve Video Attribution Conundrum 

Since 2013, the amount of time people spend viewing online video has multiplied across the world, at an average rate of around 32% per annum.

The consistent upswing in consumption is mainly attributable to improvements in display sizes and quality of mobile devices, faster mobile data connections, and the spread of connected TV sets.

And then along came COVID-19…

Sundar Pitchai, Alphabet CEO, April 2020

“People are turning to YouTube. Our watch-time has increased across the board. People are also looking for our authoritative news content. Viewership on YouTube has increased significantly compared to the last year or two.”

As eyeballs have shifted online, ad spend has naturally followed. However, the challenge specifically for online video is being able to demonstrate that online video views turn into real-world outcomes.

Something which proves difficult for both YouTube and Facebook video campaigns, not to mention the wider digital ad landscape.

That’s why YouTube has launched a new video conversation tracking tool, called engaged-view conversations (EVC), offering a better way to measure conversions and track campaigns.

Nicky Rettke, Director, Product Manager, YouTube Ads

“EVCs measure the conversions that take place after someone views 10 seconds or more of your skippable ad, but doesn’t click, and then converts within a set amount of days.

EVCs are a more robust way to measure conversions than view-through conversions (VTCs), an industry-standard that measures the conversions that take place after a person views an impression of your ad, but doesn’t click.

By the end of 2020, EVCs will become the industry standard way of measuring conversions for TrueView skippable in-stream ads, Local campaigns and App campaigns.

Online Conversion Tracking For Non-Clickers

In some ways, engaged-view conversations are a more sophisticated version of view-through conversions.

View-through conversions (VTC) measure conversions that happens after an ad view, where a recipient doesn’t click. Something offered in multiple online channels for video campaigns.

For video campaigns, view-through conversions tell you when an impression of your video ad leads to a conversion on your site. The last impression of a video ad will get credit for the view-through conversion.

It’s important to be mindful of the difference between a video view and an impression. Within YouTube, the definition of a view is when 30 seconds, or the whole video if the ad is shorter than 30 seconds, is watched, or a part of the ad is clicked. That counts as a view.

The value of view-through conversions has been disputed, and they can be hard to quantify. Unless you’re running A/B tests, it’s difficult to know whether your conversion has come from a view-through conversions or through an additional source.

The new steps towards EVC should help to address this and provide a handy little boost to marketers, too. The latest shift in campaign key performance indicators forms part of a more sweeping move by Google to upgrade both explicit and more subtle modes of analysis.

Nicky Rettke, Director, Product Manager, YouTube Ads

“Our vision for the coming year is to give you more transparent reporting across both click and engaged-view conversions, aggregated and anonymously, and new configurability options for conversion measurement to make data-driven media decisions for your business.”

In line with YouTube EVCs, the idea of more implicit forms of engagement online has been gathering momentum in recent times.

Implicit VS Explicit Engagement Signals

In May, a group of engineers at LinkedIn explained some recent tweaks to the LinkedIn algorithm as they formally announced dwell time as a ranking signal for content, decrying clicks as “noisy indicators of engagement”.

Siddharth Dangi, Senior Software Engineer at LinkedIn

“Aside from a few notable exceptions, we assume that members value their time, and will spend it appropriately on feed content that they’re interested in.”

EVCs share a similar idea, with over 60% of all skips on YouTube direct response in-stream video ads happening before 10 seconds. Therefore, the decision to watch 10 seconds of a skippable ad is a user choice that signals an ‘engaged-view’.

When these engaged-views result in conversions within a set amount of days, engaged-view conversions are included in the conversion report.

The default attribution window for EVCs is tailored based on consumer behaviour for each campaign goal and is set to:

  • Three days for TrueView for action
  • Two days for App campaigns for Install
  • One day for App campaigns for engagement

However, YouTube does offer the opportunity to customise the EVC attribution window to suit each business.

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