Monday, December 24, 2007

YouTube and Viewer Responsiveness Index

Today, it was too cold for me to go on a bike ride... Instead, I played sleuth and joined the digital natives on YouTube! I explored the correlation between “brand” and the number of video viewers for a selected set of companies. The results were quite surprising! The companies I selected are enterprise apps companies Oracle and SAP, Internet juggernauts Yahoo and Google, as the enterprise 2.0 proxy, FaceBook as the Social Network / Internet platform, and Microsoft as Microsoft.

In an effort to remain objective, I chose to be very quantitative. I added up the number of viewers for the first five videos for each company, sorted by “relevance” and “all time”, as well as the number of comments and ratings. I then created a ratio that I call the “Viewer Responsiveness Index” – VR Index – to characterize the engagement of the viewer vis-à-vis the video.

Et voila, the winner on total views is FaceBook with more viewers than Google and Microsoft combined! And, first place for the VR Index goes to Microsoft with a score of 3.80, but keep on reading as the numbers themselves aren’t the whole story.

Indeed, quantitative analysis is great but it can only take you so far. So let’s enter a more subjective and qualitative world.

Oracle and SAP have the worst VR Index which may be explained by the fact that their videos are geared at techies and that watching a video about SAP NetWeaver or Oracle Fusion doesn’t necessarily generate a lot of excitement. By contrast, videos are packed with humor and more fun to watch. So, while total viewership is the lowest of the companies surveyed, Salesforce generates a VR Index of 3.41 with mostly positive comments!
So by now you must be thinking: How is it possible for Microsoft to obtain such a high VR Index? Well, if you work in Marketing at Microsoft, don’t get too smug… The most watched video for Microsoft is Microsoft Surface Parody with 1,550,904 viewers. And, Punish Your Microsoft Developer garners 214,280 viewers alone… I guess people like to make fun of the Redmond Empire.

Google’s technical videos got a little bit more traction than Oracle’s or SAP’s, but what really boosts Google’s numbers are the Google Earth videos that all told reach nearly 2,000,000 viewers. As for Yahoo, the number of total viewers would have fallen below 80,000 if it weren’t for a Japanese video called Hard Gay Japan with 203,392 viewers.
So, where am I going with all of this? One thing is for sure, as the video-web becomes more important than the text-web, companies will need to keep an eye or two on what’s happening on YouTube. And while one could argue that comparing Oracle to Google in the context of YouTube is not meaningful, I hope that everybody will agree that comparing Google to Yahoo is very relevant! The unresolved question is whether the VR Index is a backward or looking-forward indicator.
OK, it’s time for me to bring my daughters to soccer practice. Happy holidays!

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