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Video: What Are the Best Metrics for Measuring Online Video Success?
Urbanist's Ariel Viera, USGA's Scott Lipsky, and CBS Sports Radio's Damon Amendolara discuss the most effective ways to measure viewer engagement in this clip from Live Streaming Summit at Streaming Media East 2018.

Learn more about live linear channels at the next Live Streaming Summit.

Watch the complete video of this panel, LS203: Navigating Algorithms to Reach Your Audience, in the Streaming Media Conference Video Portal.

Read the complete transcript of this clip:

Ariel Viera: My biggest metric is to judge engagement overall. Like, what are the comments I'm getting overall. It could be throughout the week, it could be throughout the day, it could be throughout the month. But, I think general engagement gives you a context of how people are connecting with my content at least. And, I think when people are really connecting with it on a deeper level, there's a greater chance of having these viral hits, because if someone watches that two-minute video that I did of John Lennon, people are going to share it like crazy. And, that increases the chances of virality. But, it's something that you can't predict, but you can cultivate that audience to the point that your chances get higher and higher.

Scott Lipsky, USGA: I think we talk a lot about not wanting to have passive engagement. I think it's really easy to pick up a view on Facebook. I think we really like to see, especially during a live broadcast, people commenting and then people replying to comments. I think that's when you're really starting to see really true engagement, and it's a piece of content that's catching enough interest where people are not only just commenting on the video, "This is good. This is bad. I agree. I disagree." But, it's really sparking conversation, and I think that sort of goes hand in hand with where the Facebook algorithm is going. At least, we think so this week. Obviously it changes constantly.

I think longer-term, especially with Facebook, we look at the number of views but then we like to dig into that a little bit, and we like to look at average view time. I think a view on Facebook is three seconds. So, when we're going live and we have a 25-minute live broadcast we want to make sure--especially once it goes into the VOD frame once we're finished live--that people are watching what people have actually dug into the content. I think beyond that we're also looking at what our peak viewership was as well. We're taking a look at, say, throughout the 25 minutes that we were live, what was the number of the most live viewers we had at one time, and how long were we able to sustain that?

I think that's sort of where we go to say, "Okay. This content was good." And then we can see where our live viewers dropped off, and sometimes it's really easy to tell why and sometimes it isn't. Views really is our baseline and then we like to dig a little bit deeper than that.

Damon Amendolara: Those are really good points. I know we create a lot of online content, digital content for my radio show. It's got a simulcast from a digital standpoint so you can watch it every day on a smart device, anything that's connected to the internet. So, we clip out a lot of those clips and then put then on YouTube, and post them on Facebook. What we try to do is hit the stories of the day that people will probably be searching on YouTube, or searching on Facebook, as it happens. So, sports figures that just had a big game, sports games that were just interesting, stories that people are engaged in.

Engagement is another big part of that. It's finding people that are commenting on things, people that are retweeting things when we embed them on Twitter. And then for my Nomad show, one thing that's been an interesting lesson is, it's a long play. Sometimes I'll put out a video and it will be hot within the week, because somebody is searching that game that I went to. They want to see highlights of that game or that game's in the consciousness.

My most-viewed video actually didn't take off for months. It just kind of sat there, and then eventually it took off from word of mouth, passing it along, “Hey this is really cool.” It was actually a story that I did about a barbecue joint in Houston as I was covering the Super Bowl. And, just because the barbecue joint had become kind of this local interest story, they started becoming popular there and then that spread out, then became part of the recommended views of YouTube's algorithm, and then that's when it started to take off.

But, that didn't happen until probably three months after I posted it. So, it's one of those things where you have to be patients as well when you put out something. Sometimes it hits, sometimes it takes a while to hit.

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