1. What are the biggest challenges of measuring internet video?Videos can become extremely popular overnight (for example Funny or Die's ‘The Landlord') and then flame out within a few days. While each video may represent a terrific advertising platform, real time speed and resolution are required if advertisers and publishers are to capitalize on such transient popularity.
From a technology point of view, there are a number of challenges. Primarily, as with the web overall, a new methodology is required that combines panel-based data with directly measured data.
- Panel-data alone does not suffice. (As with measuring other Internet media, panel based measurement is deeply flawed especially when it comes to understanding the consumption of long tail content and interpreting short-term trends.)
2. The only thing I've seen actively measured currently is the number of times a video is accessed or downloaded. Do you think this is a valuable metric, especially for advertisers?
Sure it's useful, but not in isolation. Metrics of access/download alone can be quite limited. Just because a video is downloaded does not mean it is watched, and items such as YouTube videos are frequently embedded in web pages, resulting in an impression without getting played.
User-engagement - the playing of videos, amount of time watching, progress reports, interactivity, etc. - is vital to understanding video consumption and audience characteristics. At Quantcast, we have recently started supporting all of these measures for video content producers, free of charge.
3. Are we in for another round of "hits vs. page views" when it comes to measuring Internet video?
Probably, but that's just part of different constituents determining the metrics that are most useful to them. Note that for the Web, hits vs. page views has given way to reach vs. time on site, so metrics continue to evolve.
4. What do you think is the most valuable metric when it comes to internet video? What year (if ever) do you think we'll be able to start measuring it?
See #2. Measurement is a priority now for anyone seeking their share of the $4.3 billion spend on online video advertising that is expected by the end of this decade.*
Our free Quantified Publisher program supports an extensive range of video distribution and consumption metrics including:
- Impressions (embeds)
- Progress (by time or for key frames)
- Seeks (fast forwarding, rewinding, or jumping in to a bookmark)
Within those we can track by a number of characteristics/dimensions:
- Tags: multiple publisher-defined category hierarchies
- Site where embedded (when available)
- Video URL
For most, user engagement will be the most valuable measure for online video, but different secondary metrics will matter to different constituents.
- For many publishers, it will be the total amount of ad inventory that a video allows them to sell over its lifetime.
- For advertisers, it will be the exposure opportunity a video affords them.
- For content creators, it may be the total number of compete plays achieved.
Increasingly we will see video measurement integrated with overall audience measurement to allow for improved targeting. Ultimately, measurement will be sufficiently integrated with delivery to enable advertising to be priced and purchased on a target ratings point basis.
5. Will things ultimately evolve to the point where actual viewership can be tracked via software and not require panels?
Yes, at Quantcast we are already working with thousands of publishers large and small to enable direct measurement. We've recently started directly measuring viewership of online videos and widgets. We believe in convergent models of measurement whereby panel and directly measured data are combined to provide increased accuracy and detail.
6. Simultaneous viewers seems to be what advertisers really get excited about when it comes to traditional television. Does simultaneous viewing play a role when measuring Internet video?
For live streamed events maybe, but the on-demand nature of Internet video will likely result in other metrics talking precedence. Simultaneous viewership is changing rapidly in the face of DVR and on demand distribution, even for traditional TV.
Reach and engagement are going to be more important for Internet video. When a new video suddenly gets popular, it becomes a very valuable commodity. The fact that many users are watching it - and watching it all the way through, even repeatedly - is important.
7. Is "number of times replayed" a valuable metric? Some short-form Internet videos have much higher replay than say, a 42 minute episode of LOST. I know I have watched the "Will it Blend?" short for the iPhone at least 5 times.
Yes definitely, but it's going to be interesting to see how the advertising opportunity for watching short videos many times compares to watching longer segments. Of course, there's a lot of interest today in short videos online, and we're going to see much more innovation in non-obtrusive and short form video ads. When we find the right model to integrate advertising with short form video -- in a way that doesn't detract from the viewing experience -- then multiple plays = multiple ad impression opportunities.
8. While many of the short videos have no advertising (or are themselves some type of advertising) regular television programming that's available for streaming over the Internet is starting to incorporate advertising/sponsorships. (ABC for example has a few - but only a few -- 30 second breaks during its streams). How important is it to measure viewership of these spots?
Just as with the recent round of TV upfronts, the currency of Internet video advertising will be based on measures of exposure to advertising. Properly measuring video advertising enables us to understand both who may be exposed to these segments as well as who actually lets the player run through them. For interactive ads like those distributed by the VideoEgg Egg Network, engagement is important too: e.g., do users click on the ads, and at what point?
9. If I download an episode of LOST from iTunes and then watch 15 minutes of it via iTunes or Apple TV, when I sync my iPhone and choose that episode, it picks up wherever I left off (the reverse is true as well). All the information is "tracked" (at least via iTunes/iPod/iPhone). How important is this sort of information when it comes to measurement?
It would be very valuable to track this kind of integrated usage. We believe there is great value in integrating content measurement into all players, and that content owners should be able to decide what measurement services to use for interpreting the distribution of their content.
NOTES: *Budgets for online video advertising are expected to reach $4.3 billion by 2011, according to eMarketer.)