Gamer network Machinima leverages analytics to take the online entertainment industry by storm.

Nanea Reeves, COO of Machinima

Features

Case Study

They’ve Got Game!

Gamer network Machinima leverages analytics to take the online entertainment industry by storm.

In its six years of existence, next generation online entertainment network Machinima has made a huge splash, especially among the highly prized 18- to 34-year-old male market. Now, with more than 2 billion video views per month at an average of 102 minutes per viewer, this network's engagement is the highest of any category on YouTube. Through this explosive rise Machinima has posted 300% year-over-year growth for the past three years.

Machinima Logo

Intent on staying at the top, Machinima is looking to make paying online customers out of players who are used to buying packaged games. But first the company must develop deeper, more meaningful direct relationships with its audience while maintaining its authenticity, and the all-important “street cred” it has earned with its demographic. And that means taking analytics to the next level.

Playing for Keeps

Driving game adoption, longevity and return on investment requires not only knowing who is engaging with content but also how, where and when. To get this granular detail Machinima relies on real-time analytics that deliver insights on every digital online interaction as well as the associated data generated from its network, various user devices and the social Web.

What is Machinima?

The word “machinima” is a loose hybrid of the words “machine” and “cinema” and is defined as the process of creating real-time animation by manipulating a video game’s engine and assets. Machinima, the company, creates unique, original programming that takes gaming to a new level of entertainment for its target demographic: young males. It has been described as the MTV network of this generation’s geek culture.

Because the network is distributed onto Web, online and mobile platforms, digital marketing analytics allows the company to analyze each person’s browsing history and search preferences to deliver a highly personalized content recommendation—and do it in near real time.

“Understanding how users experience our content across these multiple platforms is core to our strategy,” says Nanea Reeves, chief operating officer (COO) of Machinima. “It’s one of the main reasons why establishing an analytics infrastructure for Machinima is critical to our growth.”

“Our goal is to make video engagement a science.”
—Nanea Reeves, COO, Machinima

For example, the company recognizes the power of annotation in communicating with customers in direct marketing, through video. ”A lot of it is very data-driven and is becoming even more so. Our goal is to make video engagement a science,“ Reeves notes.

Game-Changing Analytics

Machinima begins engaging would-be players even before a new game launches. Analytics allows the company to create buzz well in advance through targeted marketing and messaging. “This is where digital marketing analytics becomes key,” Reeves says. “It’s based on our understanding of individual viewer preferences that allows us to market to them in a meaningful and authentic way, to use our data-driven tools to determine who should receive each message and measure the efficacy of each interaction.”

Smart Decision Making

One of the biggest benefits of Machinima’s robust analytics environment is the ability to have data drive large-scale experimentation and decision making. Registration conversion is just one area where Machinima is making inroads. In one test, the company put several form designs into place to see which would perform best. The results showed that all of them beat the original by at least two times. But by simply including an integrated sweepstakes and social functionality, and asking an influencer to tweet about the sign-up form, the conversion rate on the form leapt from 4% to 55%.

This informed, proactive approach is helping Machinima run up the score on others in its market. For example, one video racked up almost 1 million views on the Machinima network. “There’s a lot of brute force, process and analytics behind that view volume,” Reeves says. “Having great content is critical, but ensuring that content is made visible to the right audience is the game changer.”

“Having great content is critical, but ensuring that content is made visible to the right audience is the game changer.”
—Nanea Reeves, COO of Machinima

Because the network is distributed onto Web, online and mobile platforms, digital marketing analytics allows the company to analyze each person’s browsing history and search preferences to deliver a highly personalized content recommendation—and do it in near real time.

Another way Machinima capitalizes on promoting content is with ad buys through new platforms that enable click-paths, ad click-through rates, downloads and more. Analytics for these ad streams are engaged through big data tools, giving the company visibility into which marketing programs are working and which aren’t. “We feed this back into our programming and marketing decisions to promote growth,” Reeves says.

With its new data warehouse, Machinima saw one query cut from seven hours down to seven seconds—and four of those seconds were spent writing the query.

Staying a Move Ahead

The continuing evolution of the online entertainment world and its data streams provides limitless possibilities for Machinima. To remain close to its audience in their homes—or anywhere else they may be—the company continues to add new applications on iPad, Xbox and Facebook. And throughout 2013, it will continue to port across any meaningful device users are adopting. Identifying and understanding triggers that create influence will also be critical, as will exploring whether it’s possible to automate this identification through pattern recognition.

To further enhance relationships with its audience and improve its market position, the company will also promote more transmedia ad buys across the networks for its advertisers and content creators. “We’ll now have all of our operational data in one data warehouse and it will be relational,” says Reeves. “This has already had huge business impact for us and there’s so much more for us to discover.”


Your Comment:
  
Your Rating:

Comments
NetApp Q1-2014