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At JW Insights, experts discuss machine learning’s impact on the future of digital media
Rooted in the idea that machines can be as smart as humans, machine learning applies the concept of artificial intelligence to learn from data and autonomously improve performance based on that information. At JW Insights 2018, industry experts, including JW Player’s SVP of Technology, John Luther, shared their thoughts on what machine learning can—and can’t—do in our rapidly evolving digital age. Here are three takeaways.
Machine learning improves editorial processes and monetization opportunities.
Without a doubt, companies are increasingly seeing concrete benefits from machine learning. Through the power of data, publishers can understand the content and performance of videos, where content should be distributed, and why some content does better than others.
Workflows have become more efficient too. “We don’t waste our time on tagging. We can focus on what’s interesting in producing content,” said Jana Meron, SVP Programmatic & Data Strategy at Business Insider.
Hillary Henderson, Senior Director of Product Management and Strategy at IBM Watson Media, added that intelligence-powered recommendations engines aren’t just important for engagement but also for monetization. “If you can better match content to the next video and achieve a double or triple lift in views, that’s important for advertisers to see,” she said.
Machine learning is a work-in-progress.
The apparent benefits of machine learning have sparked an even greater opportunity for growth. Machine learning is consistently evolving. “Everybody’s talking about it,” said Hillary. “But machine learning is just a tool; it’s as good as the data you put into it.”
And these data points are far from static. “People’s interests change. In terms of recommendations engines, it’s not just, ‘you’ll like this’ or ‘you’ll always choose this.’ The learning that machines have to do is much more of a process,” said John.
Calm down, machines aren’t going to rule the world.
While machine learning has driven unprecedented innovation, panelists reached the consensus that it will never fully replace human ingenuity. “There’s this belief that data can solve anything. There still has to be a human element to it,” said John. Jana agreed, saying that, “People are very important. Machines are not taking over the world.”
For more posts from our JW Insights blog series, click here.
To learn about how JW Player can support your video business, schedule time to speak with a video expert.
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Paul Bannister of CafeMedia shares tips on setting up data analytics for video success
When it comes to using data to grow your video business, the numbers don’t lie. Getting to the truth, though, requires an excellent grasp of video analytics. As Paul Bannister, EVP of digital media company CafeMedia, discussed at this year’s JW Insights, knowing which data points are important and how to use them strategically is an iterative process that takes both intuition and practice. Here’s some advice he shared with us.
Be clear about what you’re measuring
As you set up your analytics, make sure to communicate why you’re making the choices you make with other stakeholders. “You have to connect the dots,” said Paul. “Why this number and not that number in measuring engagement?” By being clear about what you’re measuring, you can funnel down from macro metrics to specific KPIs.
Focus on the metrics that matter to your business
Dig deep into those metrics that actually impact or drive your business. CafeMedia, for example, prioritizes play rate over the more conventional choice of completion rate as it develops an intent-to-watch experience for its viewers. “Completion rate is tracked, but it’s not the main measure. For us, play rate is more important,” said Paul. Once you’ve drilled into a particular metric, repeat the process again until you find the one(s) that tell the most relevant story.
Sit in the viewer’s seat
If your data is revealing something unexpected or askew about your video performance, get back to basics and assess everything from the viewer’s perspective. “Go look at the video. Is the page working? User experience is everything. What the user is seeing—that will answer your question 90% of the time,” said Paul.
Understand the differences in measuring autoplay vs. click-to-play videos
By definition, autoplay videos don’t have a play rate. You will get more views, but the user experience tends to be more passive and engagement can be lower.
Click-to-play videos tend to produce a better user experience. But because viewers intended to watch a specific video, when they’re done, they may not continue onto another video, making it potentially harder to measure sustained engagement.
Extending interest means using a combination of tactics, including implementing a recommendations engine or building intriguing hooks within editorial content. (For example, a “How to Make Jambalaya” video features “roux” in the recipe. The next video in a playlist is “What Is Roux?”)
Click here to read more posts from our JW Insights blog series.
To learn more about using data analytics to grow your video business, schedule time to speak with a video expert.