How to Monitor Your Live Video Stream Using Real-Time Analytics
The global enterprise video market is expected to reach $40.84 billion by 2022. That’s an annual growth rate of more than 20 percent. More than 30 percent of fans now stream sports to their phones or tablets. Live video is increasingly important. That means you should pay close attention to how it performs via stream analytics.
If you stream live video on your website, you’re doing the right thing. Video, and especially live video, is fast becoming a pre-eminent business communication tool. But if you’re using video, how do you know that you’re using it well? Part of the answer is that you need to monitor your live video stream in real-time using stream analytics.
The article will look at this topic in-depth. We’ll look at a variety of potential challenges that live monitoring can expose. We’ll also examine some opportunities that may arise from gathering data on your live video streams.
Monitoring streaming live video
It’s critical to quantify how important video is to your organization and to make sure problems don’t arise. In the following segments, we’ll take a look at two important types of assessments you can perform to check the performance of your live streams. Then, in the next section of this blog, we’ll move on and discuss analytics.
The worst nightmare of most streamers is some sort of equipment failure. And unfortunately, there isn’t a very good way to check equipment while you are streaming. Therefore, it’s important to check our equipment before you go live.
We recommend stress-testing all-important equipment. Make sure that it functions correctly during a real-life live streaming scenario. You also want to make sure that it works after live streaming for a substantial amount of time. Equipment can heat up over time, so test during an extended use-case scenario. It can be a good idea to have a backup system in place in case of failures.
If you experience any problems, be ready to pull out any gear and replace it. Luckily, these issues don’t happen often. But keep your eye out. Unexplained problems sometimes come down to hardware.
Buffer and error checking
Buffering, lag, and start failure is a terrible idea. When they watch a poor quality stream, viewers get upset before they even know they’re upset. Their happiness falls and they’re much more likely to leave—and to view your brand negatively. See below this Akamai‘s video about viewers and video quality.
The other types of checking we recommend are active checking for buffering and error issues. This is something that we recommend doing with your test stream. This should be tested with a production setup. E.G., you should be connected to the internet connection you’ll use for your actual live stream. You should also be streaming at the same bitrate(s) you plan to stream with.
You can also do this testing during the actual live stream. If you’re streaming 24/7 or streaming for a long time, testing periodically is a good idea.
I recommend testing using various devices and using different internet connections. In 2018, 2.38 billion people will watch streaming or downloaded video across all devices. More than three quarters will be using a mobile device. Therefore, testing using mobile is essential.
There are also billions of internet users worldwide who remain on poor quality internet connections. Test using all sorts of connections ensures that you can do your best to support users who are running broadband, 4G cell networks, DSL, and who have poor reception.
This sort of testing can help you determine if you’re using the right bitrates.
Real-time stream analytics for live video
Now let’s move on to the second major topic of this article: real-time stream analytics. The live stream analytics provided by your streaming solution allows you to gather information about your live events. As the name implies, real-time analytics operate in real-time. This is essential for modern data-driven businesses.
Standard analytics helps you measure other types of information. This includes:
- How many viewers are watching your videos
- Number of unique visitors
- Number of repeat visitors
- How many people view each video or stream
- Total viewers for all content
- Country of origin
- Total bandwidth used
- Bandwidth used by a given video or live streaming channel
- Revenue per video
Let’s take a look now in more detail at some of these.
Measuring viewer count, location, and more
Live stream analytics provided by video streaming platforms allow you to gather data including viewer count and location. This includes the number of viewers at any given point in time, and where your audience is mostly located. You can also get data like average viewing time per person and average viewing time per video from live analytics.
If you link your platforms to Google Analytics, you can also track traffic sources. This data can be essential for measuring success if given promotional campaigns, websites, etc.
Measuring data consumption
Another key data point to keep an eye on is the amount of bandwidth you are consuming during a live event. This is important for two reasons. First, the overall total allows you to keep an eye on your data limit with your OTT video provider.
If you come close to your limit, you can purchase more bandwidth with your provider. At Dacast, we offer an “overage protection” feature that helps with this. It allows you to automatically add more bandwidth to your account if you are running out of it in order to avoid being shut down in the middle of an event.
The second reason data consumption is important is that it can be used as a proxy to measure video bitrate. When you measure data consumption by region, and also the number of viewers per region, you can get a sense of the average data rate for viewers in that region.
Modifying video strategy and content based on stream analytics data
When you are gathering data, you can use this information to improve your video strategy. For example, overall viewership data can be used to track the success of your live streaming events. Geographical information can be used to help you determine if you should be streaming in another language. Average data rate information can be used to help you determine the optimal bitrates to stream at.
Here’s another small example. Changing the specific time that you release videos can sometimes increase views. Analytics allow you to track this sort of information. Then, you can make changes to the way that you operate.
This data can even be used in real-time to assess performance and make changes to upcoming programs. The industry publication MarketingWeek says that live streaming “is key to building authenticity.” When you invest in analytics tracking, you can use that information to make good business decisions and build that very authenticity.
New Dacast real-time analytics dashboard available in beta
We’re pleased to announce that Dacast is now offering real-time stream analytics for exclusive customers. This will allow broadcasters to access:
- Number of concurrent viewers (total or in a given time period)
- Number of new plays (total or in a given time period)
- Data consumption per unit of time
- Data consumption per unit of location
- Updates every 5 seconds for real-time tracking
If you are interested in getting real-time analytics with our streaming solution, contact us!
Hopefully, this blog has helped you to understand the importance of stream analytics and real-time monitoring for your live streams. We’re excited about Dacast’s new upcoming analytics package! We hope you are too. It’s going to bring some powerful new insights to all our users.
Finally, if you’re not yet streaming with Dacast, we invite you to take advantage of our 14-day free trial (no credit card required). Click the button below to sign up today and start streaming live video on your website in a matter of minutes!
For regular tips and exclusive offers, you are also invited to join our LinkedIn group. Do you have further questions or feedback about this article? We’d love to hear from you in the comment section below. Thanks for reading, and as always—best of luck with your live streams.