Video Analytics Essentials In A Web 2.0 World

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As investment in video-based content and advertising grows, measurement of that video content requires better measurement distinctions than what traditional web ‘page view’ analytics programs can provide. We recently interviewed Eric Peterson of Web Analytics Demystified about his white paper, Measuring Multimedia Content in a Web 2.0 World to talk about his proposed guidelines for websites to effectively track their investment in video-based content.

The problem today – most web analytics programs don’t measure video effectively

Despite the spectacular growth in interest and deployment of video-based content, available technology designed to help producers and site operators track the popularity and long-term effect of this content are largely lacking.” Says Peterson.

Peterson says that with the incredible popularity of video sharing sites such as YouTube, that “video is often designed to be viewed outside of the creator’s web site. Given this, site operators cannot necessarily rely on traditional measures of page view and visitors.”

Because video is delivered so many different ways, from both the server and client side, relying on the “old 1.0” web analytics model of page data collection is wholly unreliable for accurate measurement of video online.

Without standards and trustworthy systems, it is likely that the adoption rates and shift of advertising dollars will be slow as each new site and each new advertiser will need to work out their own ability to measure adoption.” he adds.

The solution – new metrics for web video measurement

According to Peterson, we are now moving into the “Web Analytics 2.0″ era – a new era of measurement that will be characterized by more flexible and appropriate data schemas reflective of the challenges posted by Web 2.0 technologies and the integration of qualitative data used to paint a more accurate picture of visitor behavior.

This Web 2.0 model is about “event-based data collection,” “enabling far more accurate and appropriate tracking for online video.

“Improved data collections support the definition of more appropriate business objectives around video, new metric definitions, and a suite of new key performance indicators that can be deployed to evaluate the performance of one’s investment in multimedia content.” He says.

“With video, most sites are looking for measures of Attention and Interaction typically measured using metrics like Percent of Clip Played, Rate of Rewind plus social networking measures examining propensity to bookmark clips, share clips, and comment about the content.”

The steps – proper planning for video analytics

Peterson’s white paper details all of the following steps to have a proper performance measurement program with web video:

  • Understanding the common objectives for businesses with their online video content
  • Understanding the basic definitions and KPI’s associated with measuring video online. (I.e., presenting the metrics in a business context), and defining which of those KPIs will best benefit the business.
  • Coming up with a measurement strategy for the business’ video.
  • Implementing a technology solution that delivers on that strategy, and that supports both client-side and server-side collection for video-based content

Video analytics essentials – defining your business objectives with video

The first step to your a video analytics strategy involves determining which of the following common objectives applies to your business.

  • Drive Visitor Engagement. By “engagement,” Peterson refers to the events that occur “after the first clip has been viewed, tracking whether visitor click through to the web site, whether visitors watch additional videos, and whether these visitors exhibit different behaviors than the non-video watching population interacting with the site.”
  • Promote Viral Marketing. While direct measurement is not always the best way to track the viral distribution of video, marketers looking to leverage this strategy need to pay special attention to the following measures: The total number of views and total duration of clips; the distribution of referring sources; The URL’s where the video content is displayed; The frequency with which viewers are using commonly available social networking tools associated with video such as “Share”, “Favorites” and “Add to Playlist”.
  • Sell Video Advertising. “Sites selling video-based advertising units need to pay careful attention to which ads are being seen, which ads are being clicked, and which placements (pre-roll, post-roll, in-banner, in-video, etc.) are most effective at generating brand exposure and clicks.

Video analytics essentials – understanding and defining your KPIs with video

Key performance indicators (KPIs, have been traditionally been used to make web analytics more palatable and more widely useful throughout the organization, and for determining what is successful from a cost and performance standpoint. They are just as essential to have in place for making the business case for video.

Peterson recommends that any site owner, advertiser, or content publisher looking to leverage video content on the Internet “either provide or emphatically request the following measures as a bare minimum before committing resources”:

  • Average Duration for Clips Viewed. This can be gathered for all clips, clip categories, or individual clips.
  • Percent Viewing Sessions. Duration can also be further sorted by high/medium/low duration views.
  • Percent Repeat Views and Viewers. People who watch more than one piece of video content on a website.
  • Clip Interaction Rates. Similar to the click-through rate but is a measure of viewer engagement with the application being used to present the video content. Typically used to measure the start, stop, pause and other interaction events.
  • Clip Click-Through Rates (CTRs). “If the video is designed to drive viewers to take some type of action, it is imperative that clicks are tracked. And, if the click is designed to bring the viewer to the producer’s web site, normal campaign tracking functionality should be used to best leverage the web analytics application already in place.” Says Peterson.

Some things can be immediately determined, like CTR’s. Other things need to be measured over a given period of time.

Other notable Web 2.0 KPI’s for video analytics include:

  • Completion rate. This refers to watching a video clip through its entirety, or defining a certain threshold in the video that counts as a completion, which allow you to measure true engagement rates of your video with viewers.
  • Cost per view. With the exception of user contributed content, all professional video content has some production cost. “Given that these costs are often substantially higher than other types of web-based content, it is appropriate for producers to keep track of the relationship between creation costs and the total number of views generated.” Says Peterson. “This helps determine which videos have particularly low and high costs compared to the relative volume of viewers.”
  • Clip conversion rate. “For many efforts leveraging online video, the clip conversion rate is the ultimate measure of success, essentially describing the rate at which people are so engaged with the content of the ad that they click through to the site and complete some important success event. This activity can be a purchase, a download, providing personal information, or any number of activities that support core site business objectives. Making this calculation usually requires that the web analytics application is set up for campaign tracking and that success events are defined in advance, or that moderately robust visitor segmentation capabilities are available to differentiate sessions originating from clicks on video-based content located elsewhere on the Internet.” Says Peterson.
  • Percent visitors who are viewers. This refers to the total # viewers of video content, vs. total visitors to a website.
  • Ratio of video views to page views. “Depending on the distribution strategy in place for video-based content, site operators may want to make this calculation for video views exclusively on-site, exclusively off-site, or the sum of views regardless of where those views occurred.”

Peterson does clarify that whatever advanced KPIs for video used will ultimately do depend on the marketing strategy of the business and the content type of the video. (E.g., long format vs. short format, general audiences vs. niche, live streaming vs. pre-recorded, professional high-production vs. quick budget and user generated, etc.)

The white paper ‘Measuring Multimedia Content in a Web 2.0 World’ is freely available as a download at


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