Measuring Viral Videos and Making Use of the Web

15 06 2008

So, do you know that seeding videos on the web can give you amazing brand recognition? Do you know that the Numa Numa video, for instance, as had over 19,000,000 views? Now, if only you could trap that magic, you could make some real money from it, eh? (or at least, according to the recent South Park episode, some Imaginary Dollars).

[Moving out of Heavy Irony Mode now.]

Well, not so fast. The real problem with monetizing all of that web activity is that you can’t reliably measure it yet. It’s easy to get clicks, sure. And it’s easy, if you are controlling things, to measure how many people are watching your video, how far they watched, and other data.

The problem is aggregating that data. As Ken Rutkowski is fond of saying, there are 3 M’s to web success — Move (that is, bringing people to your site), Measure and Monetize.

Well, Viral Video Chart, is a web site that is trying to do something about that.

From Viral Video ChartThis site is designed to monitor occurrences and viewings of videos on YouTube. At present it doesn’t check the other web sites, meaning that Viacom’s products won’t show up that much.

But what it does do so far is pretty interesting. For one thing it tracks the shape of viewer interest. So, for instance, on the Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal HD trailer page, you can see that viewing of the trailer peaked on May 21st, the day before the film opened (the chart to the left links to a blowup of that chart — I know that it’s hard to read here). By the following weekend, it had dropped to virtually nothing, and has been bouncing around on the low end of the scale since then — not too different from its box office numbers.

This data is not dissimilar to the numbers that Moviefone collects and sells, pegging potential box office to the number of people who call to get information on showtimes and people who do searches on the films on its website.

The possibilities are huge here, if you’re interested in making money. On today’s main page for Viral Video, you can see that three of the top four performers are I’m Voting Republican, Barack Obama’s Speech on Father’s Day and John McCain Debates Himself on Supporting Bush which certainly speaks to the way in which the public is getting information on the Presidential race today. It’s no secret that one of the reasons for Obama’s success this year has been his use of the Internet. This information just backs that up.

And that is the main point here. We are getting more and more sophisticated at turning the wild wild west of the web into something graspable, something marketable, and something comprehensible. Sure, it’s still possible to lose an entire morning going from one link to another. But social networking companies like StumbleUpon are attempting to bring some order to this. What good does it do to have a zillion videos on YouTube if you can’t find the one you want? How good is the web for research if you need to rely solely on Google to find information?

There will be some — myself included — who will mourn the disappearance of that wild web experience. But there will some — myself included — who will be happy to see just what we’re doing with it, when and how. That’s what measurement is going to do. And it’s only beginning.


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One response to “Measuring Viral Videos and Making Use of the Web”

18 06 2008
Craig (10:23:24) :

Adobe is also working hard at perfecting the technology to index all the video out there on the web. Not sure exactly how it works (or how it makes sense of the metadata) but if it does work, it will change everything.

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