View Through Rate (VTR)

What is View Through Rate?

View Through Rate (VTR) is a marketing metric that can give you valuable insight into how effectively your video advertisements are connecting with your target audience.

VTR% = (views/impressions) x 100

VTR measures how frequently an impression of your video advertisement resulted in a video view. Depending on the platform, a video view may be defined as:

  • The user watching the entire video,
  • The user watching a certain length of the video (e.g. 10 seconds, 30 seconds, etc.), or
  • The user watching a certain percentage of the video.


Why is View Through Rate (VTR) Important?

With text or image-based advertising, messaging is necessarily concise because the time-frame for audience engagement is very short. If a text or image-based ad can effectively grab the user’s attention, it takes just two or three seconds for them to read and process all of the information that’s available.

Video advertising gives marketers the opportunity to educate their prospective customers, tell a more meaningful story, and deliver a stronger call-to-action by keeping audiences engaged for much longer than the few seconds they might spend looking at a banner or text ad. 

The positive impact of video advertising on conversion rates and revenue generation are well known, but much of that impact can be lost if audiences aren’t making it through the full video.

By measuring VTR, marketers can get a sense of how well their video advertisements are engaging audiences and keeping their attention to deliver the high-impact storytelling and CTAs that drive genuine interest.

Video platforms like YouTube provide feedback on video viewership using a system called quartile reporting, which reports how frequently a video was played to 25%, 50%, 75%, and 100% of its length. This enables marketers to identify the areas of their videos with the largest drop-off in viewership and adjust their creative strategies to keep audiences engaged.


How to Calculate View Through Rate

To calculate the View Through Rate for a video advertisement, you’ll need two pieces of information:

  1. Impressions – An impression is counted every time your video advertisement is shown to a user. Depending in your ad server, 
  2. Video Views – Video views may be counted in different ways depending on the platform where the video is published. Our examples will cover several methods of counting and reporting on video views.

The general formula for calculating View Through Rate (VTR) is:

VTR = Video Views Video Ad Impressions


Example 1:  Google Video Ads

You are the marketing manager at a B2B SaaS company. You decide to run a video advertising campaign on the Google Ads Network. After a week, you check the results of your campaign in your Google Advertising account. 

You learn that your video received 5,276 impressions over the past week. You also find that Google Ads counted a total of 78 engagements with your video ad (Google defines an engagement as a video view that lasts for at least 10 seconds). 

You may calculate your VTR as:

VTR = (78 Video Views)(5,276 Video Ad Impressions)1.48%


VTR vs VCR – What’s the Difference?

VTR and Video Completion Rate (VCR) are both marketing metrics that measure audience engagement with video advertisements, but it’s important to draw a clear distinction between the two.

Stated simply, the VTR metric measures how frequently a video was viewed, while the VCR metric measures how often a video was viewed to the end.

When measuring VTR, marketers may set their own definition of a “Video View” or adopt the definition used by the network that distributes the advertisement and provides the data . In contrast, the VCR metric is more narrowly defined and measures how frequently an impression of the video resulted in a 100% completed view.


What is the View Through Rate Paradox?

The paradox of measuring View Through Rates is that low VTR doesn’t necessarily correlate to poor ad performance.

After all, the goal of a video advertisement is still to generate clicks and downstream conversions – two actions that aren’t necessarily 100% correlated with VTR. 

If a user sees your video advertisement, clicks through to your landing page without watching the video, and eventually converts into a customer, that’s clearly a success. 

On the other hand, if a user watches 100% of your video and doesn’t click through, that’s probably not a success…but it’s still better than if they had watched 50%, or not engaged at all.

The key take-away here is that you can’t judge the success of a video ad campaign using VTR alone. It’s important to look at overall performance and use metrics like VTR as a way to troubleshoot performance or target improvements.

Measuring Campaign Performance with View Through Rate

As a leading creative agency for tech companies, we rely on marketing metrics like VTR as part of our Customer Generation methodology to help us measure engagement and optimize video advertising results for our clients.

Want to learn more?

Book an intro call with a member of our team and see how our expertise can boost the impact of your video advertising spend.

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