Digital video is hot and growing fast, ultimately influencing video viewing habits and behaviors, which are clearly changing. It used to be that only short clips were viewed and shared with friends on a desktop computer. Today, however, digital video is exploding as viewers are watching linear television, live sporting events, and full episodes of their favorite TV shows, among other things, on all kinds of devices, including tablets, smartphones, game consoles, and smart TVs. With this, publishers and programmers are facing a new set of opportunities and challenges as they work to find new and improved ways to monetize content while still meeting demands and optimizing the viewer’s experience.
We have been watching these trends closely at Adobe, and with our newest video analytics release, I am delighted that we have been able to address the needs of publishers and programmers by providing new and improved measurement for both content and ads. Our new video analytics capabilities are designed to help publishers and programmers better understand how content is being leveraged and then how they can maximize ad monetization opportunities while also ensuring that viewers get the best viewing experience possible.
New Heartbeat Tracking
Over the past several years the average video has grown in length. With longer duration periods, it has become clear that being able to effectively measure “time spent” on any given video provides marketers with a better understanding of viewer engagement. We have addressed this need head on with a whole new heartbeat measurement model.
Adobe Analytics’ new measurement model is designed to help marketers better understand video engagement (time spent) with “heartbeats” that will be sent every 10 seconds during a video playback and/or during a live event. The initial start server call will be sent directly into Adobe Analytics, but all heartbeats will be sent to a new processing layer, which aggregates those heartbeats until the viewer completes the video and/or abandons it by closing the browser, moving to a new video, etc. When the viewing session is complete, a second and final server call will be sent into Adobe Analytics to complete the playback data set. The new 10-second heartbeat measurements will provide time spent with a rolled-up minute granularity that offers a more complete picture of how content is being consumed.
The new heartbeat measurement solution has also allowed us to move to a new stream-based pricing model. If, for example, a viewer watches five minutes or 20 minutes, customers will only pay one stream price. This will make it easier for marketers to forecast and budget their video analytics spend because price is solely dependent on stream starts (with a stream defined as a 30-minute increment). Customers can leverage this new stream pricing by implementing and/or upgrading their current player code so they can take advantage of this new heartbeat measurement solution.
Video Ad Tracking
The good news about video ads, which are still the prevalent way to monetize video content, is that the number of video ads delivered continues to grow for all lengths and types of video. The key is to try to deliver as many ads as possible while minimizing the impact and the experience of the viewer with the content. Video ad measurement will now be a standard piece of Adobe’s video analytics solution and is also included in the overall stream price.
Similar to video content, a call will be sent into Adobe Analytics at the start of an ad, then 10-second heartbeats during the ad, and finally one final server call back into Adobe Analytics at the end of the ad. Every ad within each pod and/or commercial break will be measured the same way.
These new measurement capabilities are only the beginning. We have also added new metrics within the video reports, such as impressions, average ads per video, time spent on ads, and ad bounce rates. It takes more than just knowing the metrics, however; it is critical to be able to see how ads are impacting engagement. Within the new video drop-off report, ad pods will overlay the content to see how a pod and/or commercial break impacts the viewer’s decision to continue watching the content. With this knowledge, marketers will be able to optimize ad loads based on ad location, ad length, viewer segments, etc.
New Video Reports
Adobe is also adding three new/updated beta video reports—Video Overview, Video Detail, and Video Daypart—with this Fall 2013 release, which we’ll be updating and improving over the next several months.
The Overview Report is an aggregate of all your video assets that lets you filter by device and geography. In each report, there are core metrics centered around video, video ads, and video viewers.
You can also drill down to one individual video asset, using the Video Detail report, to view metrics and (as mentioned above) look at how ads are impacting viewer engagement.
Video Daypart will look at video starts over a 24-hour period, allowing marketers to compare previous days and/or date ranges.
These new reports will be available for all Adobe Analytics customers who have enabled and configured video reports within Adobe Analytics. These reports will be available even as you work to reimplement our new heartbeat measurement model.
One of our key goals moving forward is to provide a standardized video implementation across all our video customers. Similar implementations will produce metrics that are collected and reported in the same way. One way we are standardizing implementations is by introducing solution (reserved) variables for both video and video ads. There will be seven variables, for both content and ads, available for you to use instead of consuming any of your existing custom variables. These variables include starts, completes, time spent, content/ad name, etc. Developers and IT teams will no longer need to know anything about variables or how to map them. One final note: while we are trying to standardize implementation and some core video metrics, marketers will still have the flexibility to use as many variables as they want to send as much video data and metadata as desired into Adobe Analytics at the video and/or video ad start call.
As video content and video viewing behaviors are changing, Adobe is committed to keeping up with those changes to allow you to better measure and monetize your content. This new video analytics release will help marketers do just that across multiple devices.