Due to its massive reach and ability to attract viewers on a wide range of devices, YouTube has become the de facto place for many new media companies to distribute their video content. But analytics is one place where YouTube is lacking. Making sense of all the data behind where viewers came from and why, and how they can get more of them.
San Francisco-based startup VidIQ hopes to provide that layer of analytics, as a way to help those who distribute their content on YouTube — be they brands, marketers, or independent producers — to reach more viewers. Through a mix of YouTube SEO, smart scheduling, and listening tools, VidIQ promises new ways for producers to optimize their distribution strategies.
VidIQ was founded by Rob Sandie and Todd Troxell, two of the folks behind video distribution platform Viddler. In 2011, the two moved out to the Bay Area from Bethlehem, Penn., and have been busy building their new company ever since. Early on, they were focused on the distribution problem, particularly on getting video on an increasingly fragmented number of devices.
But two things became clear: YouTube was already solving many of the difficult distribution problems that media companies were facing, providing reach both online and on a number of mobile devices. And what the company’s clients really needed was analytics — and a way to actually use them to grow their audiences.
That’s where VidIQ comes in. Its “listening tools” allow YouTube users to find out who their top influencers are on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube, and to connect with them and respond to their comments. That can help its clients engage directly with their biggest fans, and, in turn, help transform those commenters into evangelists.
VidIQ also provides a dashboard of analytics, showing viewer and engagement metrics and helping content creators to know when the best time to upload a video is. It also helps them to better tag their videos and optimize descriptions for YouTube search. Since it has a large store of YouTube searches, VidIQ knows which terms would be most appropriate to get users to watching.
VidIQ clients include AOL (for TechCrunch* and Moviefone), Mondo Media, and Revision3. To grow the business further, VidIQ has raised $800,000 in seed funding from a group of investors that include Mark Cuban (who seems to be on a roll with early-stage video company investing lately), as well as David Cohen, Scott Banister, Peter Weck, Tod Sacerdoti, Don Hutchison, Jared Kopf, Jason Seats, William Lohse, Savan Devani, Shriraj Gaglani, and I/O Ventures.
* Disclosure: I honestly had no idea that TechCrunch had a commercial agreement with VidIQ until just now, writing this. Make of that what you will.