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What Is Microsoft Up To With Their New Video Testing Offering?

I fully expect to see more and more solutions entering the marketplace that disrupt (and enhance) the traditional models of research, with many of those coming from non traditional players like Microsoft.



We’ve been following the progress of the Microsoft Pulse research offering since it was launched, and now the vision for the product is becoming much clearer. Last month, Microsoft Pulse heralded the upcoming availability of a powerful new digital content rating tool, Video Pulse, which allows professionals of any kind to collect feedback on top of a recorded video in a flexible and comprehensive way, quickly and at scale, on any digital property and at any time.

As suspected, it’s evolving into a platform with multiple use scenarios, but the one of greatest interest (I think) is the new application for ad testing. This makes perfect sense as advertising via the Bing platform, as well as analytics via their Power BI suite, increasingly take center stage as major product lines for the company.

Until now, Microsoft Pulse has measured the live reactions of audiences and customers around the world by providing a unique real-time engagement, research, and learnings service. Over 50 million responses and votes have been submitted through Pulse to date from millions of unique users participating in thousands of sessions and events.

Video Pulse is now in ‘open preview’ and available to all Pulse users. Video Pulse works by tying audience reactions to the timespan of a video, enabling users to react and provide feedback to a recorded video, as well as to playback their and other respondents’ feedback on demand.

With Video Pulse, professionals in sectors such as advertising and market research, digital media and broadcasting, campaigns and politics, education and civic engagement  can benefit from on-demand voting capabilities tied to digital video, compatible with any MP4 video encoded through services like Azure Media Services, and videos hosted on Vimeo and YouTube.

I asked Dritan Nesho, Head of Microsoft Pulse, for his take on the implications:

Pulse is pioneering a new way of engaging and reacting to video moment-by-moment.  As we do this we will expand the scale, precision, and depth of reactions from viewers, and the metrics and analytics associated with digital video. Why is this important: we can safely say that digital video is now the communication medium of the internet, growing faster than any other online activity. This revolutionary service will push the boundaries of engagement with short- and long-form video, creating a new standard for stimulus testing and immersive, experiential technologies.

Video Pulse transforms the way professionals across industries will accomplish their goals, including but not limited to, the following list of activities:

  • Ad testing – gauge how potential customers will respond to an upcoming ad campaign, message, or creative quickly and at scale in a matter of minutes.
  • Creative tests– brands, marketers, movies studios, and more can now test content and flow in a precise manner, and without conventional hardware costs of audience restrictions.
  • Broadcasts – As mobile video continues to grow, content producers will be able to engage their audiences with their content beyond the TV screen, whenever the content is produced or viewed.
  • Campaigns – As we head into election season, political campaigns will be able to get instant feedback on how voters feel about any topic shown in a pre-recorded campaign video.

With the new release, Video Pulse will also enhance the producer controls through the following solutions:

  • A one-page, streamlined setup for a Video Pulse that makes it easier than ever to create a Pulse quickly and effectively.
  • With Azure Media Services, YouTube and Vimeo integration, users can use any mp4 video from their content library for a Video Pulse.
  • Producers will have the tools to provide commentary and annotations tied to specific moments within the video.

Here is a video demoing the new product:


Video Pulse from Pulse on Vimeo.


And keep in mind that all of these features are in a free platform. As of today, Microsoft is still giving away Video Pulse; users just have to supply their own sample and service/management resources.

Video Pulse is being launched at the 2016 National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Show, where Microsoft Pulse is demoing its latest services and releasing independent research confirming that Pulse attracts viewers and improves engagement with passion groups across news, politics, business, entertainment, and sports. They engaged with PSB for the validation, and here is an infographic on the top line findings:


Pulse PSB


If you want to learn more, on Wednesday, May 11, 2016 GreenBook and Microsoft are doing a webinar on ” How to Test Video Content On Demand with Microsoft’s Video Pulse”. More information on the webinar can be found here.

Join the Microsoft team as they discuss how Video Pulse can make market research more affordable and accessible for your organization. Don’t miss this chance to learn more about Video Pulse and how it can change the way you do market research.

I fully expect to see more and more solutions entering the marketplace that disrupt (and enhance) the traditional models of research, with many of those coming from non traditional players like Microsoft. It would behoove all insights pros to understand what these tools offer and how they fit within your research organizations.

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7 responses to “What Is Microsoft Up To With Their New Video Testing Offering?

  1. Although I love that Microsoft is getting into the marketing measurement game, I’m not seeing what’s disruptive about Video Pulse (other than it being a free service- much like GCS was when Google first entered this space). Looks pretty much like the same technology we developed at OTX back in 2002 to test moment-to-moment…..and the same tech that firms like Dialsmith have been evangelizing for over 10 years.

    Looking forward to the webinar!

    1. Good stuff David and Kristin, and agreed, especially on how this tool has limits for sure. For me the disruption here isn’t in the tech, it’s simply in the free model and the very fact that a company like Microsoft is launching a research platform at all, although I think their goal is to make a suite of tools for advertisers more than anything else. It’s further evidence that the research industry doesn’t own the research process any more, and that is something we need to understand and adapt to.

  2. Yeah, I think I’m struggling with the word “disrupt.” It’s one of those words that gets overused – is everything new really a disruption? If a new online panel is formed, that will potentially impact the business of all the existing online panels, but is it really a “disruption”? Is this really a disruption when it appears to be largely an update of what Dialsmith and others have been doing for decades? That’s not a knock on the technology, and I want to learn more about it (I’m already thinking of some possible uses for clients), but I have to say I’m getting a little burnt out on the concept that every day we seem to have six new things supposedly disrupting the research industry.

  3. Hi Ron – Yes, certainly a riff on our moment-to-moment methodology. In addition to our Perception Analyzer dials, we’ve been doing this online in surveys for years and, in fact, just wrapped a full slate of TV pilot tests. What’s important for us and our clients is the control and rigor we can offer through a controlled and full-featured survey. Appreciate you sharing your thoughts.

  4. As with any mr, trad or not, who will be using the results and how they will be used is key. I still see fundamental misunderstandings about survey research and simple analytics, for example, and good research is often misused or interpreted inappropriately.

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