How to Measure the Performance of Your Online Videos

When you encounter a site where the videos are consistently slow to load, are you less likely to visit in the future? If so, you’re not the only one.

Every second matters when it comes to online video performance, a statement that’s literally true. In his address at the recent Streaming Media West conference in Los Angeles, Nathan Dye, software development manager for Amazon Web Services, revealed that studies have shown that a one-second delay in an e-commerce web site’s loading time can reduce revenues by seven percent.




Loading times are just as crucial for online video. Shoppers often don’t come back if videos are slow to load.

“Poor performance and video interruptions lead to less return traffic and less video viewed overall,” Dye said. “IMDB, of course, knows this very well. Their operations team is constantly using their performance measurement, their metrics and dashboards, to find issues with their infrastructures or find problems their customers are experiencing, pinpointing those issues and finally fixing them. Ultimately, that’s what performance measurement is all about: it’s about improving the streaming performance of your customers by first finding those issues and then fixing them.”

In his presentation, Dye offered 12 best practices for measuring streaming video performance.

“You have to start with your customers. If you don’t know what your customers care about, you won’t be able to measure it,” Dye explained. “You need to know what they’re watching, where they’re watching it from, how frequently they’re watching it. Depending on who your customers are, you may care about different performance criteria. For example, if you’re vending feature-length films, you may care a lot more about insuring that customers get a high-quality stream that’s uninterrupted.”

Feature film vendors might decide to sacrifice some start-up latency to insure that viewers get an uninterrupted stream, Dye explained.