Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Getting Online Video to Measure Up - Dan Piech, comScore

2010 was massive year of growth for online video, throughout the industry and the way consumers accessed video content. Analysts are seeing a sharp rise in online video viewing compared to traditional television, which has huge implications for online video advertising and marketing. Digital media measurement firm comScore noted in its “The 2010 U.S. Digital Year in Review” that eCommerce spending in 2010 grew 9% to $227 billion in sales. Social networking site continue to drive views as audiences build, share and engage on sites like YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Tumblr. For businesses, there's no other tool more important than online video analytics to capture how your video content is consumed on the web.

Dan Piech, Senior Product Management Analyst with comScore says, the best way online video publishers and marketers create and sustain value is through differentiation, and the way you do that is through your data.
"It's not just about understanding your audience," Piech says, "but then putting together a pitch that sells that audience to advertisers."

Piech says that online publishers will not have the reach of a television audience, and for small publishers it will be even harder. So he suggests that publishers find that niche audience, develop it and sell that niche based on what you've learned about it from your metrics, because the agencies are not going to do that for you. He says that digital market intelligence services like comScore help you better understand your audience.

comScore believes that they have the most accurate methodology for measuring digital media. Each month, the digital media measurement firm comScore releases its Online Video Rankings from its Video Metrix service, with the most recent comScore May 2011 U.S. Online Video Rankings, that showed 83.3 percent of the U.S. Internet audience (176 million) watched online video content in May for an average of 15.9 hours per viewer. Video ads accounted for 12.6 percent of all videos viewed and 1.2 percent of all minutes spent viewing video online.

How comScore gets at the data is a secret sauce merged from two sources. The first source is a panel of two million Internet users worldwide that they track their behavior. One aspect of that behavior is watching videos. So they're able to understand where they are watching videos, how long they're watching videos, get a good sense of unique viewers , and project that to the total populations. The second source is census-level data collection method, commonly referred to as unified digital measurement, and comScore works with all the top publishers in the video and media space to get that data. In the method, publishers send data every time a video is viewed.
"By that we're able to get a very census-level, total population look at the video activity on that site," Piech says. "and furthermore, break that video activity down to very granular levels."

As an example, for clients like NBC, CBS or MTV, comScore is able to break down how people are engaging with those shows on a a census level from that unified digital measurement, as well as on the panel. Like Nielsen, comScore tracks that activity across all screens and as Piech notes
"Obviously we're paying close attention to the cross-media space and the three screen developments that are taking place. Because at the end of the day, content is king, as you always hear and to the extent that that's the case, we have to follow that content wherever it goes."
Piech says, currently that's mostly online but we're at a turning point in the space where mobile and OTT are growing very fast. So comScore is working on developing the indicators to know where the space will be in five years, mostly through surveys that help forecast audience perceptions. In a recent survey, comScore was working to understand the level of ad loads that users would be willing to watch, or rather willing to endure. What they found was that online viewers are perfectly willing to watch twice as many ads for their content. Piech says that when it comes down to it, the numbers are people, and by putting a face to the numbers puts an emphasis not just on numbers, but attitudinal changes happening in the space which helps publishers better understand how their content is consumed so they can best monetize it moving forward.

As the current trends in online video continue to show massive growth, so does the opportunities for online video publishers and marketers. Many analysts say that for the last several years we've reached a tipping point for online video.
"We've reached a state in the online video space now where almost everyone online is watching video at some point in the month," says Piech, "so we've now got that reach. But what's interesting that we're finding out is that now that everyone is watching online video, people are starting to watch a lot more."
He says it's more than doubled in the last year and is fascinated by the trend, because online video is still a small part of the overall activity of any individual day as compared to television, but what's happening is that's growing incredibly fast. Engagement levels are up, number of videos views are up and that's across all demographics and all across the board, and it's happening at a very high rate.
"So if you do a simple extrapolation that, in the very near future where online video is a major, major player out there," Piech notes, "and that's what makes me really excited about the space. We're not a dying industry, we're in our birth and really high growth state which makes this a very exciting space and a space that changes quickly."
This interview in this post was conducted at the Online Video Platform Summit where Piech was a panelist on the session, Online Video by the Numbers: Analytics, Reporting, and Metrics. He was joined by an all-star panel that examined what type of important data you should be collecting and how to use that data to improve the effectiveness of your video and increase your ROI.

Piech also spoke earlier this year at OMMA Video on, The State of Online Video, where he provided a picture of today’s online video consumer which can be viewed in the video below.

Video streaming by Ustream
"Who is watching, how engaged are they and what has changed over time? Where are we seeing the biggest shifts – long-form or short-form videos? What impact is online video having on traditional TV viewing, and when it comes to online advertising how are consumers’ preferences shaping the market?"

About comScore
comScore, Inc. (NASDAQ: SCOR) is a global leader in measuring the digital world and preferred source of digital business analytics. For more information, please visit Follow comScore, Inc. (comscore) on Twitter

About Dan Piech

Dan is a Senior Product Management Analyst at comScore, Inc. and President and Founder at evoxio. At comScore, Dan manages comScore’s online video measurement products and is responsible for ensuring that measurement insights support the growth and development of the online video industry. Previously, he was anInteractive Strategy Intern at McKinney, Project Manager at HG Media, Inc and Advertising Intern at Success Communications Group. comScore is a marketing research company that provides marketing data and services to many of the Internet's largest businesses. Follow Dan Piech (danpiech) on Twitter