Counting views and dollars

If you want to make money in online video, you have to know who is watching it, as well as how they are watching it and when. With U.S. Internet users viewing more than 10 billion online videos in February, according to ComScore's Video Metrix Service, marketers want to be able to measure an ad's effectiveness. Advertisers put $554 million on the table for online video promotions in 2007.

Video popularity might soar for a number of reasons; it might be linked to a popular blog or get embedded into a social-networking profile and make the rounds among users. Tracking tools can help an advertiser figure out if the video is reaching a desired demographic and if it is, whether they should spend ad dollars around it. Online publishers, advertising agencies and video creators of all stripes are starting to tap into measurement tools to figure out what's hot where.

Established media-tracking companies, such as Nielsen and ComScore have launched tools to track online video popularity. YouTube has its own measurement tool and there are also a half-dozen startups that have designed their own systems to track how and where videos are watched and shared as they travel along the Internet.

Of course, there is the tricky little problem that there are lots of systems for measuring online video success, so marketers have to compare several types of measurements and weight the value of those measurements against each other before making any determinations as to the best solution. It's going to take a while for the industry to settle on a standardized set of measurements.

For more:
- Washington Post video viewing tracking story