Video Tracking

June 9, 2009

Video is starting to quickly become one of the most popular ways that sites are communicating and/or sharing information with its users. Sites like Hulu, Sling, and YouTube are growing in popularity. Portal sites, like AOL have a section that is completely dedicated to video. Media sites are putting more video on the sites than ever before, from video clips to full episodes. With this increased interest in video, it is important for accurate video tracking and to track the data that will help you understand how users are viewing the video. In this post, I am going to cover different tracking methodologies, video success metrics, the different pieces of information that you might want to capture about the video and video KPI’s.

Depending on which type of video player you have on your site will determine which type of video tracking that you need to use. I am going to lump the video players into two categories: non-flash and flash. A little simplistic, but it makes it easier to refer to these two players. Up until very recently non-flash players were very difficult to track in Omniture. You would typically have to look at the log or akamai files to get video plays or use some other tool that could capture these video plays (ex. Web Trends) from the log or akamai files and have a good reporting interface. About a year and half ago, Omniture announced their first attempt to capture video plays in non-flash players. The methodology would also would on flash players, but it was not without its issues. Though you are not going to capture all of the information, you do want to make sure you are as accurate as possible. With the new method, there was a real chance to lose some data which might not be as accurate as you might want. For media sites, this could be a big issue. Omniture then modified this method to allow you to customize the code to make calls more frequently. I would like to cover this new method in more detail, but Omniture has posted a blog post on how this new method works and some examples of some reports. Again, this modification will work with both non-flash and flash players. You are probably thinking, if this method captures both non-flash and flash players then how can there be a second method to capture video information. For non-flash players, this is really the only option. Though for flash players, there is a second option. The video tracking option that Omniture has is great and it can be customized, but if you need to a lot of customization I would recommend using ActionSource to track video plays. The only negative against this methodology is you can take advantage of some of the video reports that Omniture has. That being said, ActionSource allows greater customization and you have more control over the when the calls are made.

After you choose which method that you want to use to capture video information, next you need to decide what video success metrics that you want to capture. The video success metrics that you will want to capture will depend on the type of site. For example, an eCommerce site will probably not have any ads in the videos, so they will not need to capture that information. For the video content, they might want to only capture video start, video 50% and video 100%. A media site, for example, will have ads typically before the video content starts so media sites will probably want to track the ad plays as well as the content plays. The success metrics for the content plays can be tracked a couple of different ways. You can track, video starts, video 25%, video 50%, video 75%, and video 100%. There are different successes metrics that can be tracked for the content videos. VideoSuccessHere are the video success metrics that I capture for the sites that I work on. The next step for video tracking is to determine what information about the video that you want to track. There is a lot of information that you can capture about the video and you will want to pick up only the information that is going to help you figure out how users are interacting with the video. VideoVariablesHere is the information about the video that we capture. Each of these variables accomplishes something different and lets us know which videos the users are viewing, in which channel the videos reside, the slot number from where the video was played, and which player the video was in. One of the most important information that should be captured is the Channel Name. This will allow you to easily aggregate several videos together. The other reason the Channel Name is important is you can use the Channel Name to differentiate between short form videos and long form videos. With the emergence of sites putting full episodes on their site, tracking how well they perform is very important.

After you decide on which information about the video that you want to capture, there are a couple of different items that I would report. A lot of media sites these days have auto-play turned on for the videos. The question is how video is effecting the users experience. VideoTrafficVariablesOne way of looking at this information is passing the video title in a traffic variable and then turn on pathing on the traffic variable to see how many times users go on the second video, third video, etc. VideoTitlePathingHere is an example of the video title pathing report, which will show you if the users made it on the second video. The one thing to keep in mind about this report, when you see enter site it does not mean the user entered the site on the video, it means it is the first video that the user viewed during the visit and exit site means it is the last video the user viewed during the visit. Another thing that you can do for video tracking is to pass the page name and video title in the same traffic variable and then turn on pathing for the traffic variable. VideoURLPathingHere is an example of the video title/URL pathing report, which will show you how deep in the users path that the user viewed the video and if they played more than one video during the visit. The difference with this report is entered site means the user did enter the site on that page and exit site means the user exited the site either after viewing a page or video.

Here are some of the KPIs that you can report on for videos:
o Ad Completion Rate
o Content Completion Rate
o Video Player / Visit
o % of Video Visits
o % of 1 Video Visit
o % of 2 Videos Visit
o % of 3 Videos Visits
o % of 4+ Videos Visits
o Page Views / Video Visit

These KPIs will show you the percentage the user makes it through the ad (are users making it through the ad), the percentage the user makes it through the content (are users enjoying the video), and how many videos are the users watching during the visit. These will also show you how users are interacting with videos and the site.

Up next: Are more videos on the site impacting page views.


One Response to “Video Tracking”

  1. […] take you directly to the webinar. Optimizing Rich Media As I mentioned in one of my other posts, Video Tracking, video has been one of the bigger priorities for us and we are incorporating video in a more […]

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