Today’s viewers have grown accustomed to limitless content, high-quality video delivery, and anywhere access. Successfully delivering on these expectations starts with comprehensive insight into content performance — which is why streaming metrics and analytics are now essential when distributing video online.
Why? It’s simple. Today’s viewers won’t take the time to explain why they turned off a broadcast or stopped using a service. Instead, they’ll tune out. Content distributors must take it upon themselves to keep check on network performance, stream health, viewer engagement, and more.
Video analytics tools allow broadcasters to monitor the video pipeline in real time. This leads to a more informed approach to content delivery and the ability to quickly adapt should things go wrong. Video analytics can also help shed light on viewer behavior and uncover opportunities for increasing engagement.
Below, we dive into exactly what video analytics are, the three streaming metrics you should be tracking, and why end-to-end visibility is a must.
What Are Video Streaming Analytics
The term video streaming analytics refers to any and all data about the video content you’re distributing. This can include the performance of your video platform, the health of a stream being delivered on that platform, the end-user’s experience viewing the content, and how viewers are engaging with it. As a result, video analytics describes a broad category of information that can benefit broadcasters in numerous ways.
When it comes to live streaming, video analytics often provides real-time insight into viewer data, stream health, and infrastructure so that content distributors can make immediate adjustments as needed. Observability from encode through playback is key to this because streaming issues can arise at any point in the workflow.
For both live streaming and video on demand (VOD), insight into viewer behavior also provides value. This can include information about how content performs in different locations or at what point in the broadcast viewers begin to drop off.
Benefits of Video Analytics
Ultimately, video analytics underpin a more data-driven approach to content delivery.
Need to gain real-time observability into stream performance? Look no further than video analytics. Hoping to deliver more engaging content by improving personalization? Digging into metrics on viewer engagement is a great place to start. Need to pinpoint the biggest source of latency in your interactive video application? You guessed it — video analytics is the answer.
No matter the goal, video analytics can provide a wealth of knowledge. Sophisticated video analytics platforms ensure transparency into the entire broadcast lifecycle while acting as a voice box for end users.
With video analytics, you’re able to:
Improve video quality. When it comes to live streaming, broadcasters have one chance to get it right. Real-time monitoring allows content distributors to inspect, interpret, and address any issues via both manual and self-healing capabilities.
Reduce latency. Latency can creep in at any point of the workflow. The delay in your video might be due to an issue with the player’s buffering algorithm or a hold up at the encoding stage. Video analytics tools allow you to zero in on exactly what’s slowing things down and adjust your architecture accordingly.
Get to know your audience. Insight into viewer demographics and behavior allows content distributors to make personalized recommendations for each customer and react to changing patterns in how end users are interacting with their service or platform. This information can also help identify future content opportunities and guide overall strategy.
Deliver more targeted ads. Likewise, viewer data can be leveraged to deliver targeted ads that keep viewers engaged. Whether based on geographic location or content engagement, personalized advertising is a win-win for end users and broadcasters alike.
What Streaming Metrics You Should Be Tracking
Every video analytics platform varies in the streaming metrics that it provides. To gain insight into everything going on, you’ll want to make sure that your video analytics tool covers three key areas:
Quality of service (QoS) metrics: Data showing the performance of delivery infrastructure and network. This can include network connection status, throughput, and packet loss.
Quality of experience (QoE) metrics: Data showing the performance of the video platform from encode to playback. Examples of QoE metrics include startup time, buffering events, playback bitrates, and disconnects or failures.
Engagement metrics: Data that shows how your content performs in terms of viewer count, viewing time, and the geographic breakdown of viewers.
A combination of all three, detailed further below, is the only way to get a complete picture of what’s going on and make sure everything is in tip-top shape.
Quality of Service (QoS) Metrics
Quality of Experience (QoE) Metrics
End user devices
Average time watched
Total time watched
Standalone Video Analytics Tools vs. an Integrated Video Platform
Getting the most out of your streaming metrics means going beyond log files to gain holistic visibility into the entire workflow and broadcast life cycle. If you’re looking to get an even more customized analysis, you’ll also want an analytic solution that offers API access to the raw data. And of course, the API access should provide these capabilities for both live video streams and VOD content.
That said, a prerequisite to this is interoperability across the video workflow. That’s because end-to-end visibility requires integration between the encoder, packager, content delivery network (CDN), and player. For this, your best bet is a full-service video solution that provides observability every step of the way.
For these reasons and more, Wowza Media Systems has designed the Wowza Video platform to provide observability from encode through playback. In addition to a single analytics view across live and on-demand videos, their video API offers the freedom to integrate with external analytics tools should you desire.
Written by Barry Owen, Wowza Media Systems