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New Strategies for Measuring Video Success
Brainient, GoViral, and Ooyala offer insights into the social graph and how they're using it to help brands like Volvo, Nike, and Coca-Cola evaluate the impact of their video campaigns

I had the pleasure of moderating two panels on analytics at this year's Streaming Media Europe event in October. The first covered ways in which analytics help drive online revenues; the second, as part of the Online Video Strategies joint event, was titled "Measuring Success" for online video delivery and consumption.

The mixture of panelists was quite diverse. On the first panel, for instance, I had Emi Gal, CEO of Brainient, which builds tools that help agencies and publishers create interactive video ads. I also had Nick Roveta, product director of GoViral, an agency helping content owners create and place premium video on the web; and Jonathan Milne, Senior Director Sales & Operations, EMEA, for Ooyala, a well-known online video platform and analytics firm.

All three participants in the first session-even with their distinctly different approaches to the market-agreed that it's not just enough to know how many views a video might have.  Instead, more granular information about how much of a video is shown, which site it is shown on, and client interaction with the video is key.

Roveta, for instance, pointed out that social interaction, or the "social graph" as many are calling it, is more than just about compelling content. Using Volvo as an example, he talked about the difference between a standard video player experience versus a social experience.

"We use social tracking to measure Facebook, Twitter and over 150 other platforms," said Roveta, "so we did an A/B test with Volvo around a standard player that had interaction items in the player menu, and a fully-interactive player, which measured various features in real time.

"The interactive player allowed viewers to take action on a number of interactive options:  comments, sharing with friends in a Facebook-like environment, as well as consumer rating of content."

"The testing and optimisation was a huge success for Volvo," said Roveta, "with the number of Facebook likes, shares, and comments 1400% higher than the standard player."

Gal says that Branient also sees a tie between interaction, social network tracking, and premium video content.

"We are a team of passionate creatives, marketers, and engineers, based in London and Bucharest, Romania," said Gal, who was funded in part by the UK Arts Alliance, SeedCamp, and UK Trade & Investment. "Our BrainStudio tool is used by agencies and content creators to add layers of interactivity."

For Gal and Branient, it's not just about hotspots, although the tool does make those available: instead, it includes forms, polls, text and social network tracking all within the video player window.

The reasons for this type of interaction? Gal says it drives action, measurable action.

Roveta says GoViral works with Coca-Cola, Nike and the like, pushing 60-90 second ads to specific websites.

"We place football video on football sites," said Roveta, "to drive the idea of video commercials as a destination. We work with 1,000 content owners, who then tie in to 15,000 publishers and have achieved 1 billion views."

Ooyala's Milne talked about the key ingredients in monetisation: targeting by geography and by optimal ad placement.

"Better data informs you on where to put ads," said Milne, "what videos your consumers will find interesting and which syndication partners reach the right target audience. We feel that leveraging granular geographic reporting,  to better understand reach and frequency information for regions and cities, is just as important as understanding video performance."

To do so, Milne said experimentation is critical.

"Experiment with prices, experiment with preview window length, experiment with paywall video content," said Milne. "Without solid, performance-based metrics, there's no way to measure the ROI of your video content."

Milne's statements-and indeed those of all the first day's panelists-played nicely into the Measuring Success session on Friday, which looked at what issues need to be addressed to measure traffic beyond ‘views' including audience drop-off, geography, and behavior.

Milne was joined on the second panel by Ade Adeosun, commercial director of Nedstat, a UK-based firm recently acquired by comScore.

Adeosun emphasized the point that 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."

Adeosun and Milne both encouraged the Online Video Strategies audiences, in a highly interactive question-and-answer session, to remember that putting content online with a video platform is not the end of the video strategy.

"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. "Go where the audience is - to start with - but don't rest on the video plays that happen on that site. Referral models-and well-negotiated ad-sharing models-are key."

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