If you’re thinking of smart ways to advance your content marketing efforts, chances are a video has crossed your mind. It’s obviously one of the best ways to tell your story in a visual way...but how do you know if a video is working for your audience? What does success look like in the age of streaming? Read on to figure out how you can earn a bronze, silver or gold medal in video measurement and some common pitfalls to avoid.

Bronze: The most basic measure you can use to check up on your video’s performance is view count. This is a number that tells you how many people watched your video (or part of it). This number will come straight from the site you uploaded it to, whether that is YouTube or Facebook or Vimeo. Many of these platforms will also tell you how much of a video your audience watched - for instance, how many people watched it for three seconds or ten seconds.

While view count is a valuable metric, it is one that too many people use in a vacuum. They present a big number that they pull from YouTube, but they don’t put it into any real context. You must compare that number to something. How does the video you’re reporting on compare to the last video your team did in terms of views? What about your competitor’s videos — did they upload one around the same time with higher or lower views? Giving additional data in this way helps contextualize the report you’re creating and will go much further in showing how the investment in multimedia resources paid off.

Silver: The next level up from reporting view counts is reporting video engagement. Engagement refers to people on social who don’t just watch your video, but give it a like, comment, share, retweet, etc. By taking this additional step, viewers are letting you know that the video resonated with them enough to take some action.

Engagement data is often reported as a percentage - for example, you’d report that of the people who watched your video, X of them took action, which results in an engagement rate of X percent. The number of engagements you get will almost certainly be smaller than the number of views. This can give some folks pause when reporting, because wouldn’t you always want to report the bigger number? The answer is not necessarily. You want to report the most impactful number. And engagement is more impactful than video views.

Gold: The best thing you can do when reporting video performance is actually show that the video prompted consumer action in the form of calls, emails, sign-ups, registrations or sales. This level of reporting also requires the highest amount of front-end strategy and planning. Creating a video should never be an aimless part of your strategic content marketing plan. It should be a component you use to help meet your goal and should drive consumers to a place where they can take the action you’re looking for.

Here’s an example of how to do it: if you have a content marketing initiative about a new type of t-shirt your brand is selling, you may want to create a video showing off different ways to style the shirt. In the video, you should feature a custom link or bit.ly that will drive viewers of the video to your site to purchase the shirt. Here’s the kicker - only people who watch the video will see that particular vanity link. That means you can attribute all traffic to your site through that link to the video. If there’s a huge uptick in traffic to your e-commerce site via the custom link you created for your video, voilá — you can show that your video did its job.