a woman looking at analytics on a computer

When done right, video can be a strong acquisition channel. It’s where your customers are and how they want to consume information. Facebook video sees an average of 135% more organic reach than static images. For freelancing website Upwork, their YouTube videos can drive up to 5.3X higher conversion rates than static ads.

When ThirdLove shifted its Facebook campaigns from photo to mobile video ads, the bra and underwear company quickly improved their sales metrics. One May 1–June 30, 2017 campaign resulted in:

  • 25% decrease in cost per user acquisition
  • 20% decrease in cost per click
  • 27% increase in click-through rate

Not bad for a few 15-second videos, right? But don’t go tossing a bunch of videos up just yet.

Where marketers go wrong

Raise your hand if your acquisition strategy includes a plan for video testing.

If your hand’s still down, you’re not alone.

A CMI survey found 80% of marketers will focus on lead gen as a content marketing goal over the next 12 months. But only 37% have a documented plan for how to achieve it.

The reason why companies like Upwork and ThirdLove realize so much success with video is because they include video optimization in their acquisition strategy. A critical component of video optimization is testing.

Start with a video testing plan

Too often, a company has a video and a budget, then they toss it out on the web to see what happens. It’s an expensive way to figure out what works and what doesn’t.

Instead of rushing out to publish something, it’s worth spending the time to put together a test plan behind your campaign. A test plan should include all the basics such as a hypothesis, target audience, and budget. Yung Le, acquisition director at Upwork, says:

“If you throw it on the wall and see what works and what doesn’t work, you’ll realize lots of mistakes like picking the wrong audience. Take the hour or so to do the legwork in the beginning. It’ll save you lots of time and money later. You’ll avoid going after multiple opportunities that are premature and the test plan will give you some basis for determining success.”


Before you can test a video, you need to know what you’re testing for and how to define whether the video is a success or failure. Here are four elements to consider when creating your plan.

1. Create a hypothesis

Avoid time wasters, create a solid hypothesis that gets results and insights. If you’re testing a new call-to-action (CTA), your hypothesis could be something like: Changing “see plan options” to “start a free demo” can increase click-throughs by 35% because the viewer isn’t far along enough in the funnel to purchase yet.

If you see a rise in click-throughs, it may indicate your audience requires more information before deciding. This can inform what other videos to create and the email sequence to write to answer your audience’s questions and move them further down the funnel.

2. Identify your audience

Most social platforms provide a menu of options to fine-tune your audience targeting. Some platforms enable you to narrow down who sees an ad, when they see it, and who doesn’t see it. Filtering demographics may include age, location, gender, and other factors to help stretch your budget.

3. Establish your KPIs

Key performance indicators (KPIs) should align with how you optimize videos on the channels they’re appearing in. A KPI may be the number of conversions for an ad. Or the maximum number of impressions to bid for an ad.

When defining KPI, think about the audience, your budget, flight time (how long the campaign will run), and the baseline you’re comparing it to. To make the most of your budget, be sure to define what the KPI is worth too.

4. Know your business latency

One of the most common mistakes in measuring a video campaign’s success is not letting the campaign run long enough. If you don’t give a campaign enough time to capture results, you won’t see accurate numbers. For instance, if 80% of your conversions occurred in 30+ days, bake that number in before ending a campaign.

Now that your plan is in place, it’s time to produce a video then test, test, and test it some more. If you can multiply your conversions at a lower cost per user acquisition, it’s worth the extra effort, isn’t it?