Analytics is not a dirty word, but it is a requirement if you want to do more than just post a video online and walk away from it.
The online video industry uses the term analytics interchangeably with terms like metrics or measurements. These metrics come in all shapes and sizes: from number of views to length of view to number of viewers that comment or merely press “like” on Facebook.
The reason for measuring success isn’t just to stoke one’s ego on the popularity of a particular video. For those who find their videos consistently eliciting comments or high rankings on YouTube or other online video platforms (OVPs), the measurements can lead to action and, perhaps, to better ad-sharing revenues.
At the Online Video Strategies conference held in London last week, two panelists on the Measuring Success panel spent almost an hour answering questions from the audience on the best ways to measure successful online video placement.
Ade Adeosun, Commercial Director of Nedstat, a UK-based firm recently acquired by ComScore, a U.S. Web analytics firm, reminded the audience that it’s not just about putting the video on one site and hoping that people will find it.
“Have a strategy where you seed the video everywhere, but work toward driving viewers to the sites where you have the best ad revenue sharing model,” said Adeosun.
He further reminded the audience that it’s not always the most popular sites that give the best referral fees.
“Go where the audience is—to start with—but don’t rest on your laurels,” he said. “While the video plays that happen on a popular site help spread word-of-mouth and social buzz about your video, if you want to make money with your video, also put the video on sites where well-negotiated referral or ad-sharing models can double or triple your revenues.”
For those who aren’t looking to make money but want to change the world, such as not-for-profit organizations, Adeosun emphasized that the points of measurements have to be actionable.
“It’s not just about how long the video should be,” Adeosun said. “It’s about whether or not the customer engages with the video, and whether they move towards the action you require.”
Jonathan Milne, another panelist in the Measuring Success panel, said that putting content online is not the end of the video strategy.
“Too often video measurements are an afterthought,” he said. “Even when analytics are added to a video from the outset, the way that metrics are used fall short of the information available in a good OVP.”
Milne said that videos are often only measured by the number of views, without taking into account whether viewership starts out strong but drops off at a particular point.
Adeosun agrees, adding that views only tell a small part of the story.
“It’s tricky to accurately measure total video views,” said Adeosun. “Some of our clients find the video is so popular that no one can get to it, especially on some of the smaller sites. So there are lots of restarts, which each count as a video view. As a result, you really need analytics that allow filtering out of viewers that only watched the first 10-12 seconds.”
Ooyala offers just those types of metrics. According to an online demo, not only can Ooyala’s BackLot service provide a total number of video views, including views for platforms such as YouTube, but it also tracks the average length of each video played, showing which videos are “stickier” than others.
“Use the power of measurement in video analytics to see where users rewind a portion of a video and watch the section over again,” he said. “This type of measurement—along with tracking of the places in the video where a user clicks ‘like’ or shares it with others in their social networks—can really help you hone your message, or just your comedic timing.”