Tracking Video Consumption with SiteCatalyst and the new Flash 10.3 release
Are you serving video content to your website visitors? How’s that working out for you? According to Industry research, it should be doing very well as Internet users are consuming video at an impressive rate. eMarketer reports that there were 145 Million video viewers in the US in 2010, projected to increase to 158 million viewers in 2011, or 68% of the US population. These numbers will continue to rise to a projected 76% of all US Internet users by 2015.
IDC reports that “Consumers are not only watching more online video than they were a year ago but they’re also engaging with content for longer periods of time” and “…we’ll see not only a greater percentage of the population engaging with online content but that they’ll also be spending more time online as they engage with content.” This is all great news, however, with all metrics that are aggregated across sources, there are winners and there are losers. What’s your piece of the pie, and are your metrics helping drive the positive trend in video consumption, and ultimately, your websites key performance indicators?
As more content gets pushed online, we won’t just see a steep adoption curve, it is likely that we will see more of a tipping point. This doesn’t’ mean that people will throw out the TV, instead, the Internet will become another channel in the living room, one that is accessible across all your devices. It’s happening now, and rapidly accelerating. Video is, and will continue to be an important part of Internet Marketing strategies.
So, what is Adobe doing to help make video more effective? A lot. In fact, Adobe is ideally positioned to help companies create the best possible content, manage video assets, deliver through the vast Flash platform and yes even HTML5, measure the interactions, and ultimately optimize the end user experience. This post focuses on measurement, but we will tie into some of the other areas in future posts.
In order to optimize content playback and experience, the first step is to capture the right data and analyze it. Implementing video measurement is done at the player level. The player is what loads the video and controls the playback, and the player is part of a runtime. There are many different players, but really only three major runtimes, Flash, Quicktime, and Windows Media - in order of popularity. Approximately 70% or more of Internet video is formatted for Flash playback. Flash has huge adoption rates because it is easy to deploy, the player is brand-able, it can be embedded directly into the web experience, and most importantly, “nearly” all devices support and have Flash installed on them. Millions of sites have Flash deployed on them, and nearly every major Internet brand uses Flash for video. It just work, and it works well. So, we invested in making it easier to measure and optimize.
Omniture/Adobe has long made it easy to track video metrics such as total and unique views, completion rates, time and percent viewed, conversion events, milestones reached, revenue contribution, and more for a large number of supported video players through a simple “auto-track” functionality. This means that for a wide variety of video players, such as OSMF, Brightcove, WMP and other technologies, it’s very simple to get data “automatically” into SiteCatalyst. If your video player isn’t supported via auto-track, we also provide a rich library of tools that allow you to configure your video player to send video metrics into SiteCatalyst, however, this could get a bit more complicated. To solve this problem, we invested in the Flash runtime to allow communication with any video playback. Media Measurement is the outcome, and is a new addition to Flash 10.3 that lets our analytics code talk directly to the runtime, getting the necessary video information and simplifying implementation for players that don’t use common Flash components.
This means that the ease of enabling auto-track to measure basic video consumption behavior in SiteCatalyst can now be applied to any Flash based video player just as easily with just a few lines of Actionscript.
From a high level, you’ll need to perform the following steps within your Flash project to send rich video consumption behavior into SiteCatalyst.
- Enable integrated video tracking — Add a line of code to your Actionscript that tells the Appmeasurement library to use context data for media tracking (rather than legacy methods used in previous versions of video measurement)
- Map conversion variables and Events - Define the SiteCatalyst variables that should receive the behavioral events
- Track Video Events - Add a line of code to your Actionscript to enable auto-track functionality for your Flash project
Once this has been added to your Flash project, you simply need to name the variables within the SiteCatalyst admin console and start collecting video behavioral data. Hopefully, you’ll quickly determine that you’re on the positive side of driving the increased trends in video consumption.
Media Measurement is intended to simplify analytics data capture for video. For this reason, it is not as configurable, and will provide basic data like video views, video segments viewed, video unique visitors, and completion. It gets the video name from the file location and name, which will look like a URL in reports unless classified or modified with “Processing Rules” in the Admin Console. Keep in mind, that if more advanced metrics, video naming, or other data is required, you may want to consider a custom video implementation. However, if you just need to get that critical data without an in-depth implementation, Media Measurement may be the choice for you.
Reach out to Client Care, your Account Manager, or your Adobe Consultant for additional information on tracking your videos. For additional technical details, please see this great article by Jozsef Vass, Adobe computer scientist.