As I prepare for a great video event next week, I am constantly reminded why I like video. Out of all the industries I had the good fortune to take a part of, video remains more of an art form than a science.
Before you jump: yes, video delivery, video performance and even viewer analytics are pretty deterministic. But there are deep questions core to this industry:
- What is exactly a “great video experience”?
We know today, in detail, how many views a video had, what was the content drop-off for the video, and so much more. But was the experience “good”? what is, exactly, a “good” experience?
We do have a few hints – for example: viewer drop-off at an early stage of the video can indicate a problem, and must be acted on. More can be garnered by looking at the time it took to load the media, the player, etc. In a world where people abandon a page if it takes more than 4 seconds to load
– these become paramount. Low bitrate selection indicates a sub-optimal experience as well. If well-connected clients are choosing a low bitrate – it bears more research.
- How do you know if the video was relevant to the user?
A lot of money is invested
in content discovery. Solving the puzzle of knowing whether or not the video will be engaging is worth a lot of money for anyone whose business model is CTR. You can use intelligent heuristics before the fact, if you have access to the user’s demographics (tracking cookies) or their social circle (Facebook connect). Gauging engagement (and the video experience) after the fact is mandatory, and can help make adjustments, but you only get one chance at snagging the user’s attention.
- Can you unlock what makes a video viral?
Creating great, relevant videos is important. But the holy grail is creating a video that is so awesome, that it would be shared and re-shared across the world. Surprisingly, the length of the video
is not such a huge factor, as evidenced by the 30 minute Kony 2012 video
. What are the secret ingredients in the “viral video” elixir?
- So, can we detect patterns in video usage?
The above so far attempts to highlight characteristics that, in my opinion, are key to great video. The next step in the puzzle would be to be able to create a repeatable process. Is that even possible, or is this an art form? can we take the video performance, the video relevance ranking, the length watched and the number of views and build a process to make sure that viewers are loving it, and sharing the joy?