Understanding VCR in Digital Marketing

Digital Marketing
Understanding VCR in Digital Marketing
Last Updated: April 12, 2024

Imagine a world where every video ad captures attention like a blockbuster movie premiere. That’s the power of having a high video completion rate (VCR).

Yet video advertising has long been a battleground for visibility. Many brands in the United States are investing in it more than ever, surpassing a staggering $69 billion in spending, which is the highest in the world. The competition is fierce, and companies that want to remain competitive can’t lag behind.

Whether you’re a marketer, content creator, or business owner, knowing how VCR works and taking full advantage of it could mean the difference between just blending in and standing out. Let’s dive in!

Table of Contents

What Is VCR in Digital Marketing?

VCR in digital marketing is a metric that tells us the percentage of video ads viewed through to the end by an audience. Essentially, it measures how often people watch a video ad from start to finish.

The best digital marketing companies use VCR, among other metrics, to gauge the effectiveness of their video content. A high VCR suggests that viewers find the video engaging or compelling. On the other hand, a low VCR might indicate that the content doesn’t resonate as well with the intended audience.

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Importance of Measuring Video Completion Rate

Measuring video completion rate is important because it provides clear insights into audience engagement. It allows marketers to know which videos hold viewers’ attention all the way through.

Gauging viewer behavior extends beyond just knowing if a video was watched to the end. It opens a window into the types of content that keep audiences hooked. For instance, a study found that 35% of viewers stopped watching videos because they weren't getting the information they expected, while more than 20% did so out of boredom.

By diving into analytics, companies can see patterns — like whether product demos, behind-the-scenes looks, or customer testimonials keep people watching. This isn’t just about engagement; it's about understanding preferences and dislikes on a nuanced level.

Such knowledge becomes a powerful tool for shaping video production and marketing strategies. Tailoring content to match viewer interests leads to better engagement and, ultimately, a stronger connection with the audience.

Furthermore, measuring VCR can spotlight other trends in viewer behavior that provide valuable data for future video marketing plans. The following are a few examples to consider:

  • Short vs. long videos: If shorter, humorous clips have a higher VCR than longer, informative ones, it suggests that pivoting towards more engaging and concise content could be beneficial.
  • Content type preferences: If you find that tutorials or how-to videos are getting high VCRs, it could indicate a strong viewer interest in educational long-form content.

How To Calculate VCR in Digital Marketing?

You calculate VCR by dividing the number of complete views of a video ad by the total number of video ad impressions, then multiplying its result by 100 to get the percentage.

The following is a simple breakdown of the formula:

VCR (%) = (Complete Views / Video Ad Impressions) x 100

  • Complete views: The total number of times the video ad was watched from start to finish.
  • Video ad impressions: The total number of times the video ad was served, regardless of whether it was watched to completion or not.

For example, if your video ad was viewed to completion 500 times and had 1,000 impressions, your VCR would be (500 / 1,000) x 100, resulting in a 50% video completion rate.

As we’ve ascertained, this calculation is crucial in assessing the benefits of video marketing. For example, if you notice a video on eco-friendly packaging maintains a high VCR among viewers aged 18-24, you can use this insight to create more content around sustainable practices tailored to this demographic.

How To Increase VCR

Increasing your VCR is essential to maximize the potential of your video ads across all types of digital marketing. Let’s take a look at the top tips to help increase VCR:

  1. Add value
  2. Start strong
  3. Use captivating thumbnails
  4. Optimize for mobile
  5. Keep it short
  6. Test different styles
  7. Call to action

1. Add Value

Be sure to provide valuable information to make viewers feel they’re gaining something from watching your video content. This approach fosters a deeper connection with your audience, making them more likely to return for more content.

The Dove video above showcases a personal story that many find relatable by focusing on societal pressures of beauty standards. The ad is an ideal example of providing value to viewers through meaningful content, exhibiting an understanding of your target audience.

2. Start Strong

Aim to grab viewer attention in the first few seconds of your video. A compelling start is crucial, as it sets the tone for the entire video and encourages viewers to stay tuned.

Amazon’s ad immediately captures viewer attention by opening up with the familiar faces of a celebrity couple. It blends humor and relatable concerns regarding digital privacy that are both entertaining and intriguing.

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3. Use Captivating Thumbnails

Having a good thumbnail can have a huge impact on a user’s decision to click play. It acts as the first impression of your video, so make it count by using high-quality images that accurately represent the content while also sparking curiosity.

thumbnail Does Your Mattress Pass The Human Egg Drop Test? - Purple Mattress

The thumbnail for the Purple Mattress ad perfectly encapsulates the intrigue and innovation at the heart of the brand’s message. It leverages curiosity, turning casual browsers into engaged viewers who’d like to know if the mattress can truly pass the “Human Egg Drop” test.

4. Optimize for Mobile

Ensure your videos are mobile-friendly, considering a significant portion of users consume content on their smartphones. Videos should load quickly and display correctly on various screen sizes to provide mobile users a seamless viewing experience.

This T-Mobile ad is optimized for mobile viewing and ensures that fans can catch it no matter their device. It leverages star power and clever banter that proves even big game spirit content can be made ideal for small screens.

5. Keep It Short

There’s a good chance viewers will watch shorter videos to the end. Aim for concise, impactful messaging that fits within a brief timeframe to maintain viewer interest and engagement.

The Ad Council’s innovative approach with a humorous, concise ad featuring “Smokey the Bear” as an AI assistant aligns perfectly with the strategy of keeping content brief yet engaging. This clever integration of comedy and technology delivers important wildfire prevention messages while keeping the audience’s attention.

6. Test Different Styles

While short and sweet is the way to go for most brands, don’t hesitate to experiment with various video styles and formats to discover what resonates best with your audience. This strategy involves trying out different storytelling techniques, visual effects, and even video lengths.

Apple’s “Swiped Mac” ad ventures into the realm of mini-movies by using humor and a touch of suspense to highlight product features in a narrative format. This extended creative storytelling angle demonstrates the effectiveness of testing different video creatives. It engages viewers with a blend of entertainment and information about the brand’s security features.

7. Call to Action

Encourage viewers to watch until the end by teasing what they can learn or how they can benefit. A well-placed call to action (CTA) not only boosts engagement but also directs viewers towards a desired action, such as subscribing, buying a product, or visiting a website.

Grammarly’s video ad underscores the power of a straightforward CTA by providing a compelling directive for downloading the app. The clear instruction combined with enticing taglines further articulates the product’s value.


Achieving a high VCR can transform views into valuable engagement. As you've seen from our examples, there’s no one way to get your audience to watch until the end. Instead, marketers shouldn’t be afraid to flex their creative muscles via some of the methods we explained.

Ultimately, VCR is one of the most important metrics to gauge the success of a video ad, and one that marketers, content creators, and publishers alike can improve to maximize the impact of their advertising efforts.


What does a high video completion rate mean?

A high video completion rate means that a significant portion of viewers are watching your video content all the way through to the end. This indicates that the content is engaging and meets the interests or needs of your audience.

What is the difference between view rate and video completion rate?

The difference between view rate and video completion rate is that view rate measures the percentage of people who watch a video, i.e., the total traffic, while video completion rate strictly focuses on the percentage of viewers who watch all the way to the end.

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