Executives Demanding Deeper Analytics on Webcasting

Executives Demanding Deeper Analytics on Webcasting

Nielsen ratings are so yesterday.

At least, that’s the case in the corporate video market, where audience analytics goes far beyond counting the number of eyeballs tuning into an event.

Such a metric may mean everything in the world of television, where aggregate audience totals compiled by The Nielsen Co. dictate the fees charged to companies seeking to place advertising. But they only scratch the surface of describing the impact that online video can have in day-to-day business communications.

Executives not only want to know the size of their audience. They want to know more about exactly who is tuning into their videos, as well, according to a survey of 1,007 executives conducted by Wainhouse Research in the fourth quarter of 2013.

At organizations that spend more than $50,000 a year on streaming and webcasting technologies, 13% say that they absolutely, positively will not deploy streaming solutions that do not “track who views video.” The percentage of respondents in this group describing viewership analytics as “very important” topped 50%. Combined, that makes for almost two-thirds of organizations with substantial budgets describing analytics as a “must have” or “very important” in the streaming purchase decision.

So, it’s safe to say that viewership analytics are a big deal. Now the question we should be asking ourselves is what type of analytics capabilities should we be looking for from a streaming solution. Here’s a partial list of the viewership information that your organization should be collecting—and analyzing—from your webcasting efforts:

Registration Information: Web video platforms allow you to start with the basics. Ask for a viewer’s name and contact information before showing them the content they requested. Once the identifying information is collected, the doors open wide for more advanced analytics options. On streaming platforms deployed behind the corporate firewall, recognize that user information also can be obtained and logged by capturing data from the corporate directory.

Viewership by Geography: Even if one doesn’t collect viewer ID information up-front, methods still exist for learning a bit more about your audience. Data embedded in users’ IP addresses, for instance, can be used to determine the general location from which they are watching. This information can be aggregated to provide hints on how a presentation is playing to viewers in the Midwest, for instance, compared with those on the West Coast.

Identify the Video Point of No Return: Viewers can teach us lessons by voting with their eyeballs. Use viewership tracking tools to identify the exact point where individuals stop watching your video. Such data can help you figure out the elements of your event that are boring to viewers – input that can help you create more engaging presentations on your next attempt.

What’s on Viewers’ Minds? Most streaming platforms make it possible for viewers to submit text-based questions during a live event. These platforms also will track who asked a specific question and when they posed the query. A post-event report can link these text questions with registration information provided by viewers up-front, making it possible for presenters to follow-up with viewers after the end of the event to address questions not handled during a live presentation. For organizations leveraging webcasts as lead-generation opportunities, the ability to answer viewer questions provides a legitimate avenue that sales representatives can use to engage prospects in further dialogue.

Data for Marketing Integration: Perhaps the holiest of grails for online video marketers is to be able to take the data collected during a webcast event and weave it together with information already collected on an existing prospect or customer. As a result, significant value is created when webcast analytics can be fed into existing customer relationship management software solutions, such as Salesforce.com or Marketo. When a prospect attends a corporate webcast, sticks around for an entire presentation and even asks questions during the event, all that information can be noted in their CRM profile. That data can then be used to better “rank” prospective customers in terms of their interest in a product, allowing organizations to focus selling efforts on those customers most likely to buy.

Even with all this information at your fingertips, you should always be ready to answer the first question that will come out of your boss’s mouth at the end of an online event: “How many people attended?” That is human nature. We all love to hear about the Nielsen ratings.

But, take the deeper analytics to heart and put them to use, and then you’ll be ready to answer the question the chief invariably will ask a couple months after the cameras shut off: “Did the webcast make us any money?”

Steve Vonder Haar is a senior analyst with Wainhouse Research and can be reached at svonder@wainhouse.com.

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