Video Essentials

OVPS Preview: Five Things Analytics Can Do for You

If you’re working in online video, you hear about the importance of analytics constantly, and you hear different online video providers extolling the richness of their particular analytics packages. But how can analytics actually help your day-to-day business?

The 2010 Online Video Platform Summit is taking place next week in Los Angles, and one panel is called “Online Video by the Numbers: Analytics, Reporting, and Metrics.” If you have questions about what analytics matter, it’s a good place to start.

Sitting on the panel will be AJ McGowan, the chief technology officer for Arizona-based Unicorn Media, an online video platform. While online video consumption has been growing steadily, it will soon grow exponentially, McGowan says. He wants attendees at the panel to “get a sense for the magnitude of traffic that’s coming to this industry and the need for scalable solutions.”

The challenges now, McGowan says, are to get reliable tracking systems in place to collect data, and then to pull meaningful results out of those numbers.

Also on the panel will be Bismarck Lepe, co-founder and president of products at California-based Ooyala, also an online video platform.

Lepe would like people to leave the panel knowing that “analytics aren’t just reports.” Data needs to be actionable, he says, and lead to business solutions.

Five Ways Analytics Can Improve Your Business
To show you that analytics aren’t just numbers, and to whet your appetite for the Online Video Platform Summit, we asked both panelists for concrete examples of how video analytics can lead to smarter business decisions.

1. You Can Make More Money from Ads
You need real-time analytics, says McGowan, if you’re going to make informed business decisions. Don’t settle for platforms that make you wait a day or two for numbers. Imagine that you’re serving ads on your content and you’ve got three campaigns running at different costs. You need timely data to ensure that your more lucrative deals are fulfilled on time. Otherwise, you might find out after a campaign is over that you didn’t stream all the ads you needed to (and now you have to return some of the fee).

2. You Can Prioritize Content Better
If you’re serving news or other timely content, you need to know from moment to moment what’s getting the most traffic, says McGowan. Knowing what’s hot means that you can syndicate higher-traffic stories to your partners. You can also make business decisions depending on what’s diving the highest return. For example, if you’re serving a one minute video and a two minute video and both are doing equally well, emphasize the shorter video. It has the same number of ads on it, but it costs less to stream.

3. You Can Fine-Tune Your Business
With a rich set of analytics, says McGowan, you can fine-tune your business in ways you would never have thought of. If you find you’re serving more videos to iPad users than Web surfers, for example, you could choose to built up your iPad model, since that’s your strength, or you might want to find out what’s missing from your Web site and improve that area. If you discover that none of your ad campaigns extend to a certain geographical region, you can then sell ads in that area and charge a premium for the geographical targeting. Having a large breadth of data lets you find problem areas and experiment with solutions, monitoring the results in real-time. “We allow customers to solve their problems, not the problems we think they might have,” says McGowan.

4. You Can Sign Better Deals
You need analytics that shows not only what videos are popular, says Lepe, but where they’re popular. If you know that your content is big in a certain geographic region, you can have your sales team sell to that area.

5. You Can Plan a Social Networking Strategy
Social networking is a hot topic right now, says Lepe, but not every product does well with social networking. Good analytics can show you how your videos are being shared, so you’ll know if your viewers are interested in social networks. If they are, analytics can help you deliver the right content. One of Ooyala’s customers, the shoe company Vans, live-streamed an event, and used analytics afterwards to find out which videos were shared and liked most often on Facebook. It then posted those same videos on its own Facebook page.


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