Testing Higher Education Videos

Testing your higher education marketing videos before you publish them is a crucial step in the video production and promotion process. We’ll show you two ways to test your videos with your audience, and what tools to use to help you produce videos that convert.

Getting constructive feedback on your videos is easier than you may think. You can do it by creating a quick survey, inviting students to a focus group, or a few one-on-one interviews that can be in-person or online. 

The Quick Video Test

This video assessment is intended for in-person or online interviews or focus groups. Your interview or focus group subjects are asked to view a video — or collection of videos — and provide feedback about their attitudes and preferences. 

1. Setting Up Your Focus Group to Test a Higher Ed Video

Have your interview subjects take out a piece of paper and divide it into three columns. Have them label the top of each column HateNeutralLove

Hate Neutral Love

2. Testing and Rating the Videos

Show your video — or videos — to your interview subjects and/or focus groups. Give each video a unique number. If you show them 5 videos, make sure they know that the first one is #1, the second video is #2, etc.

#1 #2
#3 #4
#5 #6

Show each video to your interview subjects or focus groups. After each video, ask them to write the number of the video in the column that matches their opinions of the video. 

Record the interview subjects on your own version of the grid.

Interview Subject Hate Neutral Love
Mary 1, 3 5, 6 2, 4
Akeem 3 1, 4, 5 2, 6
Susan 1 2, 3, 5, 6 4


Priyanka 2, 3, 5 1 4, 6
Roger 5, 6, 3, 2 1 4
Randomizing Order

If you find it important to randomize the order of each video between interview subjects or focus groups, you may wish to name the videos with colors — Blue, Red, Green, Yellow, etc. Then ask them to rate each video by color. OHO has determined that video viewers who have participated in video Quick Test studies have not been overly sensitive to the order in which they view the videos they are evaluating. Randomized videos do not typically score differently than videos that are presented in a given order. For this reason, OHO typically does not alter the order between sessions.

3. Tabulating the Results

Create a scorecard for each of the videos. Record a +1 each time an interview subject placed a video in the Love column. Assign a 0 each time it received a neutral score. Record a -1 each time it was placed in the Hate column. The results for the video test above would look as follows.

Video Score
#4 + 4
#6 + 1
#2 0
#1 - 2
#5 - 2
#3 - 4

The favorite video of the group is video #4. The video that met with the most disfavor is video #3. 

4. Leading a Follow up Discussion

In addition to using the scores as a quantitative evaluation of the videos, you can use the scores to engage interview and focus group subjects in a discussion of their reasons for their evaluations. You may also wish for them to complete Likert Scale evaluations of the videos before you begin the discussion. Use questions that ask them to gauge the impact you wish for the video to have on viewers. 

Typical questions colleges ask about their videos include:

  • How likely the viewer would be to reach out for more information
  • How relevant the video is to the informational needs of the viewer
  • The quality of the video
  • The appeal of the person who narrates the video
  • How welcoming the video portrays the campus
  • How likely the video makes the viewer feel they would fit in on campus  
Sample Likert Scale Question

How likely would you be to apply to this university after seeing this video?

Extremely Unlikely Unlikely Neutral Likely Extremely Likely
A/B Testing

This approach is an excellent way to quickly test two versions of a video. Play both versions and ask the viewer to score their feelings and answer a few questions that will stimulate discussion. 

Using Alchemer to Test Your Higher Ed Videos

Creating a survey will allow you to test a single video or multiple videos over a broad range of survey participants in an unmoderated environment. OHO recommends using the video evaluation tools Alchemer offers to create your survey. 

Moment-by-Moment Evaluation

Alchemer provides an excellent way for you to gauge viewer response on a moment-by-moment basis throughout the length of the video. The tool presents the video and asks participants to use a slider to indicate their feelings as they watch it. Alchemer also provides an excellent service to help you assemble a panel of survey participants. 

Reports: Understanding Sentiment

When your survey is complete, you can use the reporting tools to see precisely which parts of the video they liked and which parts they disliked. This Alchemer report shows the results of 45 participants as they viewed a student-created video exploring her life as a student:

From this report you can see that interest in the video was flat -to relatively positive — until the 90-second mark. At that point in the video, positive associations build and plateau at a high level as it plays to the end. The makers of this video would benefit from examining what is happening at that point in the video and use the knowledge to edit this one and, perhaps, create new videos with this in mind. 

Quantitative Data

Other question templates will allow you to generate word associations and conduct Likert scale inquiry. This survey approach will allow you to provide more quantitative insight into the subjective response viewers have for the videos they experience. 

The tool is powerful enough for you to cross-tabulate data across user segments and create dashboards you can use to share the data with your colleagues.  

These surveys can be done unmoderated and online, of course. However, OHO has found that watching a test subject complete the survey activities and use think-aloud methodology often reveals even more useful data.

Ensuring Excellence

Creating a video is an expensive undertaking that is fraught with uncertainty. Follow these relatively simple approaches to evaluate the quality and impact of your video before you publish and you will be assured you have spent your marketing dollars wisely.