I interviewed Ooyala co-Founder and President of Products’ Bismarck Lepe, on today’s release of their new Facebook video analytics solution, allowing publishers to track Facebook users engaging with their online video across audience segmentations in real time. Could we be getting a glimpse of the future of web video usability, marrying real-time web video analytics with in-depth audience profiling?

Already fresh off their announcement earlier this week of their “Social TV” program for Facebook, Ooyala today announced their Custom Analytics with Business Dimension Reporting program, which they say will allow publishers to track demographic and psychographic information with Facebook connect.

To quote from Ooyala’s press release and website blog: “Publishers leveraging Facebook Connect can track detailed demographic and psychographic statistics like age, gender, hometowns and interests to create more targeted and relevant video viewing experiences for their users… Simply put, you can track just about any metric imaginable.”

“In a connected world, it’s all about real data that is produced in real-time.” says Bismark Lepe, president of products and co-founder of Ooyala.  “The future of targeted video campaigns will revolve around making analytics much more actionable and personalized. Our Custom Analytics offering and Facebook integration marks the beginning of this evolution.”

Demographics & Psychographics in Online Video User Experience

For those of us who aren’t in the statistics profession, here are some definitions that should prove handy for distinguishing between the two types of statistics that Ooyala is claiming they can now gather and organize for publishers – whom in turn can use this data for their own more-targeted marketing and advertising:

  • Demographics are statistics relating to populations. Commonly measured demographics for online audience profiling and segmentation include: location, gender, race, age, income level, and employment status.
  • Psychographics – any attributes relating to personality, values, attitudes, interests, aspirations, lifestyle choices – and other psychological criteria. Psychographics are are also called “IAO variables” (for Interests, Activities, and Opinions).

Usually usability professionals and statisticians doing research, will create what are called “audience profiles” based on market research and existing web/online analytics, to help better understand and market to audience segments that are deemed as desirable consumers. These audience profiles, also referred to as “audience personas,” can include both a demographic profile and a psychographic profile, where an audience segment’s demographic psychographic make-up is constructed, and usually given an individual name to the group traits it more humanistic and memorable for marketing purposes. For more information about online audience personas, I recommend the book, “The User is Always Right: A Practical Guide to Creating and Using Personas for the Web” by Steve Mulder with Ziv Yaar. (I think it’s the only book in history where the authors sound like names for both the male investigator and an alien on the former TV show, The X-Files.)

Here are some screenshots of the Ooyala video analytics program with real-time data of Facebook users engaging with online video content:

Demographic filtering…

Time-of-day (“day parting”) filtering…

Bismark Lepe on Ooyala’s Facebook Connect Video Analytics

I had the opportunity earlier this week to interview Ooyala’s co-Founder Bismarck Lepe, and answer some questions about their new program. Here’s an excerpt of that interview:

Bismarck, do you think your custom video analytics program could work well with people who are user experience professionals or usability professionals looking to do video testing?

Absolutely.  The most important part about any user testing is being able to have an equal distribution of an audience around your control group and your experimental group. So the ability to actually feed segmentation data from Facebook or other data sources that allow you to segment your audience can definitely help with user experience testing and driving different experiences for distinct audiences to see what increases engagement, what increases revenue, and what increases overall customer satisfaction.

Facebook seems to lend itself ideally to gathering demographic and behavioral data of its users. Are there other platforms online where this could be achieved as well? 

Well obviously credit card companies have a tremendous amount of individual user data that they can use for segmentation.  But there aren’t any credit card companies that actually open up that data, so Facebook is the best source of segmentation information around audiences (for marketers and advertisers to work with). That’s primarily because people are using their real names and their real profiles, and their real likes and dislikes, to provide Facebook with their demographic and psychographic information.

Would it also make sense to have this kind of audience data from video engagement applied in different ways within the same company? For example, if different groups or departments at a company are doing different types of video activities online?

Yes. Now for certain groups, they may not care about the broader and more extensive social graph. For example, our business users they may actually want to segment their audiences by business divisions. So the Sales Team versus the HR Team versus the Business Development Team – they may all have training videos or live webcasts of 2012 strategy planning and they’ll actually be able to see where did the sale team come in and out of the video, when were they engaged?  Were they only interested in their pump planning sessions or were they watching the entire video?

So I guess it really depends on the individual business owner.  And that’s why at least our customer analytics launch is so powerful because it actually puts our processing engines in the hands of our publishers and allows them to look at a lot of our behavioral tracking.  Down and into the matrix, that they care and that they consider relevant.

Can this custom video analytics solution be just as valuable for publishers on a much smaller scale than a national or regional market?

The coverage that Facebook has across the U.S. is pretty extensive. So on a very local and hyper-local level, publishers are able to look at engagement matrix and then break it down by the psychographics and the demographics of the people who are actually consuming that content.  So they may find that there’s a demographic that has higher average income, higher educational level and interests that are around trips to Napa, luxury cars and luxury trips and therefore they can actually sell advertising that’s directly tied to that demographic and that audience.

Publishers, advertisers, and marketers can really take advantage of this data. For example, they can actually sell a segment of their audience at a significantly higher CPM than the rest of their audience.  From a content engagement standpoint and content marketing standpoint, seeing a nice distribution of your audience will also allow you to have a better understanding of what kind of video content is going to be relevant and keep your consumers engaged.

Additional Resources from Ooyala on Custom Video Analytics

Ooyala is offering a free Custom Analytics eBook for download, which requires filling out a form on their site. For more information on the program, you can also check out their blog post.