I’d like to share an “a-ha” moment I recently had while viewing an online video.
As part of my job as a web analyst, I often do site audits.
This entails analyzing the web analytics data (usually Google Analytics, Omniture or WebTrends) in conjunction with viewing the site itself.
While the numbers tell the story of what happened, I try to figure out why it happened by also examining the site and it’s contents.
For example, a site might be tracking video views with data on how many people started viewing each video, how many people viewed at least half of the video and how many people saw the entire video.
In a scenario where there is a large drop-off from people starting to view the video to people viewing half of it, there are several factors which could account for the drop-off.
It could be content related (the video doesn’t hold the viewer’s interest) or it could be technical (the video was stuttering or took to long to start playing).
I’ll usually check the minimum bandwidth required to play the video smoothly to see if I think it’s a load time issue, but that’s just circumstantial evidence.
Today, while viewing a video that was constantly buffering (and annoying to watch) I left the page and then realized:
Buffering events should be tracked as a metrics
The following numbers should be tracked
- How long from clicking on play to when the video actually started to play
- Every time the video automatically pauses for buffering, you should track the time-stamp (relative to video start) and for how long the video was paused.
This information will help you get from what happened to the why it happened, conclusively telling you if the viewing was abandoned due to load times or something else!