comScore Adjust Metrics; Better Measures Video Embeds

Web analytics company comScore recently made some changes to its metrics to better address the proliferation of online video. It’s added number of unique video streamers and video streams, improving on the old standards of unique users and page views.

Much of the time, the old and new measures should be similar; a visitor to a video site is usually there to watch a video. However, the new metrics, which kick in whenever a video stream is initiated by a user, account for off-site calls to a video server. That means if a video is embedded somewhere else on the Web — a blog, a MySpace page, in the video widget strip we run at the top of NewTeeVee — it will now get picked up by comScore.

The easy ability to paste in a bit of code and have a video show up has been key to the viral spread of both video and video-hosting sites, but before now it was difficult to accurately measure the phenomenon unless you had access to private server logs. With the addition of comScore’s new metrics, we might be able to get a better idea of which sites tend to be more viral.

On that note, I asked comScore analyst Andrew Lipsman to run the standard metrics and the new metrics against each other to see if some sites are proportionally more embedded around the Web than others. He looked at market leader YouTube and would-be second-placers Metacafe and Dailymotion. I also asked him to check out Vimeo, which focuses on personal media sharing and is more of a social network; and Revver, which helps creators include ads in their video streams and shares the revenue with them.

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The findings were pretty interesting. Revver is head and shoulders above the other sites in terms of ratio of video viewers to unique visitors, with 2.35 million viewers in June to 477,000 visitors, for a ratio of 4.92.

YouTube and Dailymotion are next (though of course YouTube has way more volume!), at 1.54 and 1.51, respectively. Vimeo and Metacafe are way behind, both at 0.78. That makes sense for Vimeo, given its strong on-site community, but I’m not sure what the explanation is for Metacafe. It seems people tend to go to that site and do other things besides watch video.

Given the data, I’d surmise that Revver has done a much better job than other sites of encouraging video creators to embed their clips elsewhere and reap its shared ad revenues.

That’s especially notable after Revver was blocked by MySpace, starting last January. Furthermore, Revver has seen video stars such as Lonelygirl15, Ze Frank, Ask a Ninja, and Invisible Engine discontinue using the site as their default embed. Still, looking back over data provided by comScore dating back to January, Revver has consistently had the highest video-viewer-to-site-visitor ratio of all the sites we looked at, never dipping below 3.45.

comScore’s video-specific metrics have been in testing for the better part of this year but just recently started being included in public releases, said Lipsman. “In the past we would look at traffic to the video sites; it was a surrogate, but it wasn’t directly measuring video,” he said. “It’s important to be measuring activity more directly, especially when that’s what you’re monetizing.”

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