Unruly’s Social Video Lab Can Predict the Next Viral Video



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Tracking a user's eye movement while watching video

There is no question about it, social video is exploding. Not only are people watching more and more videos online, but they are also sharing those videos more than ever before. For brands, being able to track their brand’s videos is of course incredibly valuable. After all, a great indicator of success stems not only from a video’s views, but also from its shares. But even more valuable than tracking video shares, is understanding why people are sharing that video, and what makes that video a success. Unruly Media offers an advanced analytics platform which helps brands track their videos performance, specifically when it comes to views, shares, and interactions. But Unruly has a bigger vision for understanding social video, and it’s all being developed in their new Social Video Lab which they have just launched at their London headquarters.

Have you ever wondered what makes a video go viral, while another video struggles for views? Unruly has partnered with Decipher to develop a special social media index. The social media index has the potential to unlock the formula to predicting a successful viral video. The index uses a mixture of traditional and nontraditional methods to measure the effectiveness of a video. For starters, they are using special equipment to track a person’s sweat, heart rate, skin response, and eye movement while watching a video. We got to try out some of this special research equipment and were taken aback by just how much these systems could discover about our response to watching a video.


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For example, we sat down at one system which tracked our eye movement while we watched a video. Afterwards we were able to watch a replay of our eye movement as we had watched the video. The software used to track our eye movement is so advanced, that it can even indicate where your eyes dwelled on certain spots. A powerful tool like this can enable a brand to understand more about what it is that viewers are focusing on when they watch a video. And in addition to these new methods of observing viewers and their reactions to video, Unruly and Decipher are also bringing in focus groups with target audiences to watch videos, and they are also performing surveys to collect even more data around what makes a video successful.

“Having delivered award-winning global campaigns, including T-Mobile’s Life’s for Sharing, Evian’s Roller Babies, Old Spice’s Men Your Man Could Smell Like and Heineken’s The Entrance, we have the knowledge, technology and the best historical data in the industry to help marketers pinpoint which content is most likely to be enjoyed and shared online by consumers,” said Sarah Wood, Co-Founder and COO of Unruly.

But these aren’t the only projects being shown off at the lab. Unruly has also partnered with Samba Mobile in the U.K. to offer free 3G mobile broadband to users, in exchange for watching the videos that Unruly Media distributes. This is a smart way for brands to capture an audience, and a win-win for the user since they walk away with free 3G data for their iPad, etc. We would love to see a service like this reach the U.S.

It’s also worth mentioning that Unruly Media publishes a Viral Video Chart which collects the top most successful online videos around the world. The chart is a great way to check out what videos are hot right now. But ultimately, the goal at Unruly Media is to quantify social media activities surrounding video, effectively showing what really works and what really drives people to make purchases. With this knowledge available to them, plus the work being performed at their new Social Video Lab, agencies should never have to waste time producing a viral video that won’t be successful. All in all, the power to predict the formula behind a successful viral video seems so futuristic, but it’s nearer than we ever thought.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I am going to go take a break and watch Gotye – Somebody That I Used to Know.