How to Use Video Analytics to Improve Your Audience Response

As Web-based video becomes more prominent and more useful for businesses, the biggest issue is figuring out what resonates with your audience. You post a video and then what: how many people watch it all the way through? Should you have broken it up into shorter segments? Did you need additional details? Did people like the video and link back to it? Depending on the video site you use to share your content, you have a number of cloud-based analytic and tracking tools at your disposal.

Lots of companies are using video to spread the word on their products and engage their customers. Here are a couple of notable examples:

  • Wingsuits’s Vimeo channel shows more than 100 videos of those crazy folks that don a suit and jump off high cliffs and pretend to fly. I admit the visuals are stunning, but I sure wouldn’t want to be a customer!
  • MadMapper has more than 60 videos showcasing how their customers use their advanced projector mapping tools to create some stunning visual displays.
  • Infusionsoft has this YouTube channel with 500 subscribers and more than 120,000 views with quotes of dozens of employees about their experience using the company’s software. They also have this Vimeo channel which shows in-depth demos and longer tutorials about how to use their products.

YouTube, first and foremost

Certainly, when it comes to video, YouTube is first and foremost. More than 30 hours of video are uploaded every minute, or is it every second?

Whatever the number, YouTube still has the lion’s share of the traffic and is great for beginners. It is easy to upload a video, embed it or share it across your Web site, and collect some very basic traffic statistics too. But you get what you pay for. Here is an example of the kind of analysis that you can get from one of my more popular videos that I have on YouTube:

In addition to the overall viewership report shown above, you can review demographic information (age and gender of viewer), whether the video was played from the main YouTube Web page or a mobile device or embedded on another site, and whether your audience abandoned watching the video at some point before its end. This last point is very important in terms of feedback. The longer the video the more the audience drop-off will probably be, and this should be good ammunition to create shorter and to-the-point videos.

Wistia

There are other video hosting services besides YouTube, and one that I use frequently is from Wistia.com. They actually provide several things in one neat package:

First is its own flash embedded player that allows you to easily adjust the size of your video window to match the dimensions of your Web pages. You can easily choose the thumbnail that you want displayed when the Web page is first viewed. Wistia isn’t alone in this particular space: Kaltura for example has a popular WordPress plug-in. But adding a Wistia embed tag to a custom WordPress self-hosted site is easier and no plug-ins are required to play your videos.

It is also a video hosting and sharing site. You have up to 20 GB of storage included, with additional storage available at $2/GB/month. Included this 20 GB figure is just the size of the uploaded video files, and not any additional storage for encoding or processing.  Videos can be shared with your project team, where they can make comments (like Facebook) and downloaded, saving you the trouble of trying to send videos as email attachments. As video files can be larger than email attachment limits, this saves a lot of time and frustration.

Finally, Wistia has excellent analytics too.  Like YouTube, you can see gross viewership by day, some demographics, how they got to your video (via organic search or some other Web site). But unlike YouTube they go into lots more detail with these “heat maps” as you see below.

This is a nice service: you can see who your potential customers might be and what part of the world they live. (I’ve masked the IP addresses visible in the above screenshot.) You can also see here where each viewer stopped watching, or rewound it to see again (in red). Again, this provides valuable feedback on whether your subject is relevant to your viewers. It is also a good report to share with your management to convince them of the value of your efforts.

Wistia has three differently priced plans, starting at $79 a month. You can try it out for 15 days for free.