Kantar Videolytics recently trotted out a long list of premier partners which included some of the major players in online video (Brightcove, Brightroll, Adap.tv, LiveRail, Tremor, ScanScout, you get the picture) for their new Videolytics (video analytics) offering. So what better reason to get on the horn with Bill Lederer, CEO and Trevor Wolfe, Marketing Manager for a run through of what's what and why it's so attractive to the online video industry. Really, I just wanted to use "get on the horn" in that sentence. Let's Roll!
A Quick Kantar History Lesson
Now Kantar, has been around for some time, a fact I was not completely aware of ( in gaming terms, I'm such a newb sometimes). They are the largest buyer of linear television advertising. Bill believes strongly that dollars that will flow into online video will partly come from TV advertising and so do I. I like when I think something and I get positive reinforcement from someone who knows far more than me on the topic. It means I'm on the right track. Speaking of track...
Now, since they do so much buying they need to track it all. Videolytics, the name for their video analytics product, is an outgrowth of their measurable and syndication platforms for internal use which is now externally available. Now that externally available portal has taken shape in the form of a self-service metrics package for anyone who needs to track video online.
Kantar Videolytics at a Glance
The main interface is a dashboard like so many other services these days. From there you can quickly get to the choice of options you chose at signup - Track and/or Syndicate. Of course, you probably already have some video analytics package that you might like to send your data out to. You can do that if you like via the Kantar Videolytics API (for big clients I guess). That means you don't necessarily have to check multiple sites every day or week to see your stats.
Right from the dashboard you can, as one would expect, get a general overview of everything that's going on with your videos including views per day, social engagement like comments, ratings, favorites, average rating and top demographics (by broad age grouping). Below that you'll get some popularity by region stats which will drill down (eventually) to a postal code worldwide based on geo-IP tagging.
You can also see which sites your video was viewed on and how popular it was on each of them. This is all from the track side of things which differs slightly from the separate Syndicate portion of the service.
For each video you can get specific insights include new views, cumulative views, change % and the like. None of this is really new or all that awe-inspiring in regards to what's being tracked in the package.
What Makes Kantar so Special?
On the other hand, Kantar's ability to track video is special. Even if it's just a slice of a clip, they can track it. A slice that's dozens of frames long which was repurposed or shared freely outside of your realm of expectations. This is what makes Kantar Videolytics different from the competition. Some video tracking works at the player level like InPlay from Tubemogul, some works at the page level and some, work with the videos themselves. Kantar is able to pick out a small fraction of any video you've syndicated through their system. The technology is probably beyond me but lucky for me, they couldn't really go into all the gory details what with stuff being all hush, hush, top-secret, corporate need to know type stuff. Or else I was too lazy to ask the right question when I was speaking with Bill and Trevor.
I'm curios then if those small slices of video are then rolled up into the main view stats. That could certainly start to skew the numbers without any discernible way to tell how much of your content people are seeing, aside from knowing that X views came from site Y.
Kantar Videolytics Syndicate
Syndicate (the verb, not the noun) lets you send your video out to all the hottest video sharing platforms like YouTube, myspace, revver, viddler, vimeo, blip. 5min, etc. You can actually upload your video through the platform or you can use videos that you've already got in your YouTube channel to get them a wider viewing audience. Unfortunately, you can't do the same if you've got loads of videos at those other sites.
Now this is another piece of the Kantar puzzle that goes above and beyond others I've seen. Not only can you include metadata like Title, Description (long and short), tags and category but you can also include an Ad-ID if your video has one as well as more categories, brand categories (like food, drugs, apparel), behavior segments, languages permissions (for commenting, sharing, rating, downloading and video responses). You can also make the video only available online or also on mobile devices and on TV, supply the recording date, give the geo-location of where it was made, a TV rating, copyright and even attach a source website. There's much more to the syndication side of things but I wanted to mainly focus on the Videolytics tracking.
Kantar Videolytics Tracking
The Kantar Videolytics not only tracks where your video is, but it also tells you how many duplicates there are and where they are being served from. You can also have your video views broken down by where they come from. Videos can also be grouped and tracked in that fashion as well, but just at a site level right now.
So I added a video to tracking to see how it works. I was just going to do that and then delete it from their test account they loaned me. Only, I couldn't find a way to delete it, there's no button to remove a video from tracking that I could see. There's only view insights and edit and in edit, there's no delete. Very strange. Sorry Kantar, I thought it would have been the most basic thing to be able to track a video and then delete it from the account. I did some reading and research and found this:
Kantar Video elects not to delete the videos from the platform but you can make a video inactive by selecting "Videos" on the left side menu of the browser, then selecting "Edit" of the video you want to select to delete. This will open up the metadata field, in the middle of the page; please select "Tracking Status" there you can change the status to "Inactive". Only active videos are counted toward your subscription. Inactive videos will not be tracked; however you can see the statistics for this video for the period that it was active.
But, what if you make a mistake and want to remove the video altogether? It just seems odd to me is all.
Track also allows you to see what competitors are doing with online video and decide how better to run yours. It can help by finding who is doing what, where and when. All you need to do is know is the URL where a video is shared and you can start tracking it yourself, even if it's your competitor's video. Of course, if you become a client and pay them, you can then limit what information others can freely find out about your videos through their service. You do get specific URL's for tracking, so you would, if you were concerned about the video being on a site or want to see what the compeition is doing, not have to go hunt around on the domain for the exact location.
To me, that really sounds underhanded. Sure, you're putting those videos in publicly accessible places like YouTube and not really guarding against people spying on their effectiveness. Hell, if everyone did that, Jeremy wouldn't have a weekly article talking about effective viral videos so I suppose it's a double-edged sword. I would guess that you would have some sort of similar information in other forms of advertising so that your ads didn't run butt-up against direct competitors etc.
On the intelligence side of things you can break down your stats into reports and then download them in XLS, PDF or CSV. You can't generate anything too specific here and you can't really view them online it seems aside from the standard dashboard interface where you can pretty much do the same things.
The system allows you to setup alerts that will notify you when a video or group reaches or drops below a certain metric. Available metrics are views, comments, ratings, favorites and average rating and periods can be daily, monthly or weekly.
Some Missing Pieces
There are some things I found lacking in the Videolytics. For example, engagement. There's nothing that tells you how much of a video people are watching or where the drop off is happening, if at all. There's also no interaction tracking of any kind. You don't know if people are watching in full screen, with the sound muted, in HD or not. Finally, there's no stream health or browser/device tracking anywhere. I mention all of these things because they are available in other video analytics packages and with Kantar being as big as they are, I would have expected this all to be in the service, even if it is just in beta.
There are some other limitations to what Kantar Videolytics can do. They can tell you the broad demographics and the total numbers from a site, but they can't correlate those two together. So you can't drill down to a site and get specific demographics from that. They said they're still working on some things for the service and this is one of the things that they're working on.
Some Kantar Extras
Now, Kantar is one of the (or The) largest operator of consumer panels for advertising and marketing. That means that they've got a whole lot of information on a whole lot of consumers. Basically, they maintain census level tracking at the behavior level for attitude, lifestyle, demographics, pychographics, purchase and usage and sample from the panelists. Since they have literally millions of consumers in their opt-in panels, there is no inference as it is all based on large number panel information and no self-reporting of demographic info, etc. So that means there's no cheating on the side of the viewers.
They maintain Deep profiles on millions of opt-in consumers that ties into hashtags that find if it's an actual panelist.While they were talking about this I had visions of Big Brother but instead of trying to control the people's thoughts he was pondering how to predict and alter them so they bought his products. But this is all opt-in so they're not spying on people I guess. They can track the clickstream so if you come from a specific site and leave through a link to another site, they can track that. The Kantar system capture clickstream data per user session so if you surf for one hour it will have tracking on all of your clicks and pages you surfed to. That's sort of scary. They can also hook third-party data into the system to pull it all together for new insights which means others can then see that clickstream info, even scarier.
Aside from all that they have some other add-on services including:
- Surveys - not part of Syndicate but an extra service in Videolytics. Can ask custom questions, syndicated surveys, how effective is your creative, why are they doing what they do, do they recall the ads.
- Advertising - Track works for any single piece of video so you can track it anywhere it goes even if you then send it to an ad network and it gets sent out to other sites. This could be an ideal way to track video ad fraud by uploading the video ad into their system and then having it tracked fully. You'd know exactly where the video ad is being seen and how many views per site etc.
The Kantar video fingerprinting works on any video, it's a passive tracking system. As I mentioned, even a slice can be just a few seconds or frames and the system will recognize it and tag it as part of the original video. Their system can tag on audio and video both instead of just audio like YouTube does mostly. The technology came from university, went to Intelligence to find bad guys (talk about underhanded!) then went to entertainment for anti-piracy and is now repurposed for marketing and audience (behavior, surveying, etc) tracking.
A wide cross-section of the industry is already looking at using this including content creators/distributors, ad networks, agencies and advertisers, talent agencies and yes, my favorite, video game companies.
All About the Benjamins
Kantar is offering videolytics as a Self Service portal with multiple packages ranging from community to Titanium. The free 30-day trial offers 1 video, 40GB of bandwidth, 1 user and you can cancel at any time. It requires a credit card to sign up (which is why I needed to use their test account instead of making my own). After that it automatically bumps up to Silver. The lowest priced package is Syndicate Silver which is $499 a month and allows you 10 videos a month with full analytics and up to three users. Track silver starts at $1,499 a month. If you want Track and Syndicate together it will start out at $1,698 and rapidly skyrocket to $12,748 a month! That's not including Titanium pricing which offers unlimited everything, custom APIs and multiple accounts. Then again, if you need all that, you can probably afford it, right?
Kantar Videolytics - The Take Away
There are certainly some distinct advantages to the Kantar Videolytics services. There also seem to be some distinct disadvantages namely the simplicity of what it can track right now. Sure, they have the added bonus of all sorts of panel and consumer marketing data that you could call upon (most likely for a price) that would help you better target your campaigns etc. The service really seems geared more toward the high end, enterprise, Fortune 500 types than the SMB and sole-proprietor areas of business. Considering it's $500 a month to start, that places it outside of the budgets of many of us. But if you've got tens of thousands or millions in your marketing and advertising budgets then this could certainly be a place for you to start with. The fact that you can upload once and use anywhere, including online, mobile and TV is a major step toward three-screen convergence that I talk about often. I'm not exactly sure how that facet of the services works but if you need it I'm sure they'll be happy to speak with you about it. Kung Pao, I'm out!