One of the best ways to drive more online conversions is to understand not just your buyers, but those at a higher stage in your marketing funnel, who are avidly consuming your content and ideally, watching your videos. These “viewer personas” are people who are more engaged, more likely to become a lead, and more likely to eventually convert. For example, check out these stats on shoppers who watched video:

So, how can you replicate these results with online video? Simple, get to know your viewers. Here is a breakdown of how to do exactly that, and what to look for.

First and foremost, pick a video hosting provider with great analytics. You need to be able to get the data on your viewers in order to understand their behavior, where you can improve your content, and how to keep them coming back for more. The key metrics to look for are the total number of impressions and plays your video gets, the unique number of impressions and plays, the amount of the video your viewers actually watched, their physical location, the device they used, and the URL of the page where they watched your video. Depending on your industry, the number of email addresses captured or leads generated might also be important. If you are trying to increase viral shares of your video, then sharing stats from different social networks would also be important. If this sounds like a lot of data, it is, but a video hosting provider with robust analytics will make these numbers readily available for you.

So what do you do with all that data? There are numerous approaches, but a methodological process works best: you want to drill down from total traffic, to viewers, to conversions. You can start from the top, and see if your most popular videos based on play rate (plays divided by impressions) are generating the most leads or conversions for your business. A popular video might not actually be high performing. Look at your less popular videos, and try to analyze if viewers are dropping off at a certain point in the video, or not clicking play in the first place. Look at all the data again, but use the number of social shares to identify your most popular video. The idea is to get a very clear sense of what is working based on your business goals, and what is not.

Closely analyzing this data can help you improve the performance of your content by placing a call-to-action at an earlier point in the video, or with further editing if it seems your viewers that convert are responding to different types of content than those that do not. If possible, test different video landing pages, poster frames (the image shown before someone clicks play on a video), or video titles and descriptions. An a/b test where you make a side-by-side comparison with incremental changes is ideal, but if you have a small team, sometimes just getting a new idea out there is more important, so long as you can track the difference it is making.

Rinse, and repeat.

Have you ever waded through the data on your audience, with unexpected results? How did you use it to optimize the way you use video? Let us know in the comments below or on Facebook and Twitter!