Getting metrics right for social media sites: how to count the embeds?

Typically web analytics has dealt with metrics like page views, unique visitors etc. For the new generation of social sites, e.g., video, slideshow sites, this is not enough. There are videos embedded all over the web. How do you count those? This article about comscore metrics describes how analytics companies are starting to take embed views into account. It describes the ratio of embeds to views on the site itself and how it is very different for different video sites (1.52 for YouTube, compared to 4.92 for Revver).

This embed metrics issue operates somewhat differently for videos than for slideshows.

On the site itself, everyone counts the number of times the video or slideshow page is viewed. The question is how to count the views on an external site. You could count every time the page with the video embed is loaded, but that going to lead to inflated numbers. The second option is to count every time the video is played. That seems more reasonable. But its still going to be an overestimation if the video is set to autoplay. So seems like for video, its hard to avoid the inflation due to autoplay.

For slideshows embeds, we could count the number of times the slideshow is played. That seems reasonable, but it is a different metric than for videos set to autoplay, and is likely to be an underestimation compared to video.

Thoughts on what is most reasonable way to count embeds for slideshows?

4 thoughts on “Getting metrics right for social media sites: how to count the embeds?

  1. To generate useful metrics I would suggest that you fire of a (web) beacon from within the Flash player when the media starts playing, half way through, and at the end. Sure you could add a couple more calls, but I think this setup provides good enough data.

    XML-RPC is another great way to capture metrics, but things get iffy due to cross domain constraints with Flash

  2. Agreed… this is an interesting question. My thoughts are that a counter should reflect the activity of the viewer. What about weighing the counts based on the type of activity, i.e., a low multiplier for autoplay embeds, a mid-range multiplier for embedded links that don’t autoplay, and a high multiplier for visits to the media site itself.

    A friend and I have been working with a viral video experiment. Does anyone know for certain how YouTube counts autoplay and embedded videos?

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