What Is the Effectiveness Rate and Why Do Brands Love it?

Gillian Proudfoot
May 21, 2021

The effectiveness rate hits the measurement sweet spot for brands who truly value every interaction with their content, and also want hard data to see what is inspiring that action. For marketers who may be new to the effectiveness rate, it’s calculated as follows: likes + comments + saves + video views / reach. By utilizing reach, brands can understand how content performed without numbers being skewed by a high follower count and lower reach. This is an important consideration, especially when one looks at 2020 to 2021 and all of the ups and downs that played out on social.

A valuable aspect of the effectiveness rate is that it illuminates that even if a particular post wasn't seen by many people, the inclusion of reach helps brands understand if the content resonated with the people who did have the opportunity to see it. If you were only analyzing from an engagement perspective, it might appear as if the content was a flop when this isn’t the case. Leading brands are now using effectiveness rate alongside engagement rate in their reporting to gain a more informed and holistic view of content performance, and incorporate those learnings into strategy moving forward.

Measuring True Video Interactions

Video has seen amazing growth on social, with more video-specific formats being added to channels all the time. It is, however, one of the trickier forms of content to measure properly and accurately. Audiences engage with video differently than photos, so expecting your video content to perform in the same way as photos can lead brands down a path that misses strategic opportunities. When looking at a photo, a user quickly intakes the information at a glance, and then chooses how to engage with it i.e. like, comment, or save. When a video comes across their screen, the primary action is now watching the video, and more is being asked of the user. That is why video views are the primary action, and likes, comments, and saves are the secondary actions when the user goes above and beyond to interact. These video specific attributes are why so many brands lean on effectiveness as their main metric to understand video performance. Weighting video views equal to likes, comments, and saves is what makes effectiveness such a strong indicator of video success.

Photos and Videos are Sisters Not Twins

When diving into content performance, the team at Dash Hudson have always been proponents of content segmentation, and our community of marketers has backed that up with Boards being one of their favorite tools. Content segmentation is crucial when it comes to measurement, and even more so when looking at effectiveness. Because video views are part of the calculation, this typically leads to lower effectiveness rates for photos and higher rates for videos—which you’ll see in action in the benchmarks below. By always segmenting photo and video effectiveness, you are comparing apples to apples and can set more accurate goals.

Slicing and Dicing the Numbers

When incorporating a new metric, it’s important to have context on both where your brand is currently sitting, and benchmarks for how your specific industry performs on social. Industries like Beauty,  which was an early adopter of video, or media and publishing whose messaging lends itself well to video, will have higher video effectiveness rates (see below). While Fashion and Retail’s overall numbers are a bit lower for both photo and video, that should be taken into account when setting goals and judging the success of content. Ensure that you’re viewing your effectiveness numbers in not only the context of your industry performance, but also the way the numbers are trending.

Ex: If you’re noticing a 0.75% drop in effectiveness over the last quarter but your industry as a whole saw a 1.5% drop, that will be essential information to provide during your quarterly reporting.

Effectiveness Rate Benchmarks by Industry

We looked at the average effectiveness rate for each month during Q4 of 2020 and Q1 of 2021 to identify industry trends for photo and video performance. These highlight six key industries: Fashion, Retail, DTC, Media & Publishing, Beauty, and Home. An effectiveness rate of 4-5% for photos and 25-30% for videos, appears to be the general performance range that marketers should aim to hit with some fluctuation depending on your specific industry.

Key Takeaways

The effectiveness rate is a powerful metric that keeps up with the demanding nature of content measurement in 2021. For brands who are, or planning to incorporate video into their strategy, the effectiveness rate will quickly become your best friend. Segment your photos and videos and keep track of industry benchmarks to properly gauge your brand’s performance and set better, more well-informed goals. Happy reporting!

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