Described as “Google Analytics for Online Video” by TechCrunch (ultra-creative, I know) InPlay, TubeMogul’s video player analytics package has now gone free-to-use. All that it requires is some account sign ups and some configuration.The process consists of three steps

Well, not actually below here but below at TubeMogul. It really is a bit more complicated that this three step diagram. First, sign up for TubeMogul, then activate InPlay. To do that you have to add a site, add a tracker, add a player and then… well, they don’t exactly tell you. I mean they do, but it’s different for each player and there are lengthy tutorials that you have to manage. I even spied some video tutorials which would make sense, since we’re talking about online video here.

Over at Gamers Daily News, we use trusty old JWplayer, which is in that list mentioned above. Oddly, not an option in the pull down menu, but I’m guessing it’s listed as LongTail from what I see in the code because really, they’re sort of the same thing if you know what I mean.

However, if we were up to speed and using HTML 5, they say to contact them (not sure if that means yes they can do it or no not yet) or Silverlight (that one is all ready to go they say) that support is available upon request.

Now, I’m going to set it up and run it over at GDN and then get back to you and let you know how easy/difficult I found it, what kind of problems I’ve encountered and what kind of analytics I’m seeing.

However, before I go I can give you some notes on what’s available. You’ve got two options, publisher reports and video reports.

Publisher Reports

The first category of video metrics features is connected to your video sharing accounts on a variety of place like YouTube, DailyMotion, MySpace, MetaCafe, Veoh and more. This will then allow you to track how videos you’ve uploaded to those places are doing.

Video Reports

There are also video reports, which is where InPlay really comes in handy. It offers everything and the kitchen sink including real-time statistics for views, viewed minutes, audience geography, embeds, referring sites and search terms, video delivery metrics (i.e. rebuffers) and more. If you’re using it on more than one site you can get some cross-site data as well as track the metrics per player (for those using multiple players).

You can also export all of that data and share it with others (no more fearing that dreaded question from the flappy heads at the top of the company ‘What’s the ROI on that?”)

The reports can include customized segments and can be shared with TubeMogul users, customers, advertisers and yes, those aforementioned flappy heads. As a bonus, you get to lock them out of whatever you don’t want them to see (like the metrics you’re tracking for your online porn collection). Or you can simply export it and give it to them in Excel (and other ways far more complex).

It all sounds really grand and I’m hoping it works as advertised. I’ll get back to you on that when I know more. That translates into – After I find time to push some stuff to the side of my desk and get it all implemented which I’m guessing will be a couple days. I am after all, one of the flappy heads over at GDN ironically.

Personally, I would call InPlay the best online video metrics you can hope to get…free or otherwise. OK, not as creative as Google Analytics for online video, but certainly more descriptive right? (No offense meant to my friends over at TechCrunch. I’m still waiting for the next meeting in Prague gents…)