How many views did you get?

Measuring audiences’ media use has been around for decades, as businesses, producers and marketers wish to gain information about them to make more money. However, as I learnt in the lecture this week, the way they measure audiences participation with television and radio is rather outdated and unsophisticated which can lead to incorrect results. I was extremely surprised to find this out as I always assumed measuring companies such as Nielsen would have an extensive and proficient system of measurement, rather, it is just a booklet and a black box.

Radio is measured only in the five mainland capitals via 8 surveys per year and these surveys are used to represent the entire Australian population. Television is measured by giving some people in the metropolitan area black boxes to record what they are watching on television and how many people are watching. I highly doubt that these two practices are accurate sources of measurement. However, traditional media such as television and radio is not the only thing marketers and producers need to measure. What about the popular online hub of videos – YouTube? Let’s see how marketers are measuring the audiences on this platform…

As we know, it all comes down to money. Companies measure audiences so they can sell us products. According to Nielsen, YouTube reaches more US adults ages 18-34 than any cable network as of mid-2013. And rather than just being content you watch, it is content you watch, share and shape.  As of March 2013, one billion, (B!), people around the world watch seven billion (still B!) hours of YouTube every month so it is obvious that companies would want to measure these billions of people (Nielsen 2013).

 According to most marketers don’t know how to quantify the success of YouTube marketing campaigns. Part of this is down to the (currently sub-par) quality of YouTube analytics data, but a wider problem is that businesses often fail to set KPIs before beginning the process of creating and promoting content on YouTube. One of the main reasons why KPIs don’t get set is that,  most companies don’t understand how to think about YouTube, and therefore fail to tie YouTube marketing campaigns to tangible business goals. While there is a lot of room for improvement, YouTube is off to a good start with these three main tools they have to measure audiences; YouTube Watch, YouTube Analytics and AdWords for Video Performance Reporting.

YouTube Watch gives you a broad overview of your views and engagement. You can see your total views, significant discovery events (tells you when the video started catching fire), audiences (where was your video popular, gender/age of your viewers), ratings, comments and favourites. All of these measurement metrics offered by YouTube can be very helpful to content producers and advertisers. This approach is very simple so if companies are after a deeper analysis of audiences they can use YouTube Analytics.

YouTube Analytics is where your video’s stats are given a thorough analysis. You can view reports that give you detailed look at your channel views: daily, weekly, and monthly. You’ll usually see spikes on new videos that are released. “Compare Metric” gives you a second line to compare your views with “monetizable views” and “unique viewers.” You can see the world map, demographics, playback locations (e.g. mobile, embedded on website etc), traffic sources (e.g. YouTube suggested video), and audience retention and engagement reports.

The third measurement metric is AdWords for Video Reporting, which companies may be interested in to see how their campaign is performing. It measures impressions, views,  view rate and average cost per view.  With AdWords you can target who you want and easily set a budget. You can also break the performance of these ads down to every metric.

It is clear that YouTube’s audience measurements are a lot more accurate and thorough than the traditional media platforms. This is perhaps why there was $5.6 billion dollars spent on YouTube advertising in 2013. It pays to know your audience.

++Below is a short video on how IBM is adapting to the changing media landscape with audience measurement.


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