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.

So What?

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.

  1. 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)
  2. Map con­ver­sion vari­ables and Events - Define the Site­Cat­a­lyst vari­ables that should receive the behav­ioral events
  3. 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.