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February 2, 2017

Video Analytics Targets Struggling Media Sites

George Leopold

(Navidim/Shutterstock)

Media companies have mostly failed in their attempts to develop video content that will attract and engage readers to their web sites. Among the reasons are prohibitive costs and the difficulty of moving beyond “talking heads” to more compelling content that differentiates news reporting. Aside from annoying pop-up ads, media organizations also have struggled to monetize nascent video strategies as web advertising translates to pennies on the dollar compared to shrinking print advertising.

Then there are Google (NASDAQ: GOOGL), Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) and other news aggregators who pay almost nothing for news items while taking a big bite out of media display-advertising sales.

Enter Parse.ly, an analytics vendor that this week announced it has added a video analytics feature to its platform targeting online media companies struggling to come up with a video strategy that complements text-only posts. The video content dashboard is supposed to help online media sites track audiences and their preferences along with engagement metrics such as how often readers visit news sites and how long they stay.

The New York-based analytics vendor asserts that those audience insights can be used to shape a video strategy with targeted content that can help pay the bills.

Online publishers have long tracked engagement via page views, clicks, bookmarks and other web site metrics. Scaling these numbers requires “shares” and “likes” on social media sites and more readers willing to remain on multimedia web sites until ads finish running. Parse.ly claims its video analytics approach goes beyond those metrics to include statistics such as which posts include video and which videos are attracting viewers across multiple landing pages.

The Parse.ly dashboard also tracks the number of site visitors, video clicks as well as the amount of time visitors spend watching all video on a network, regardless of which video player they use. It also tracks the role of social media sites like Facebook and Google as referral sources for specific multimedia posts.

“Producing video content with no real strategy is not smart or sustainable,” Sachin Kamdar, Parse.ly’s co-founder and CEO noted in a statement. Video analytics represents “another way to ensure that our clients can create content of any form with an underlying data-driven strategy.”

Early video strategies have mostly failed, with the number of media companies incorporating video dropping by two-thirds since last year. Parse.ly reported that only 6 percent of respondents to a recent survey said they plan to carry over their video news strategy into 2017. Most cited cost and lack of return on investment. Another reason was difficulty in measuring success.

“Just because advertisers are eager to pay for video doesn’t mean that readers are ready to watch it; in fact, it is entirely possible that video won’t save the day for digital publishers looking for growth,” the company noted in a blog post. “Time will tell—but until then, data can help point us in the right direction.”

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