Brainshark vs. YouTube Analytics: What’s the Difference?

Brainshark vs. YouTube Analytics: What’s the Difference?
November 5, 2012

brainshark-youtube-analyticsPublishing Brainshark video presentations to YouTube is incredibly easy, but depending on your content goals and reporting needs, publishing on one platform might make more sense than the other. Of course, making that decision means you first need to understand the difference between YouTube analytics and Brainshark’s tracking and reporting capabilities. Here’s a quick primer for comparing one to the other.

First, let’s take a look at the use cases for each:

  • YouTube: While YouTube is a ridiculously powerful tool for hosting and sharing video content, it’s also very public. For this reason, most companies use YouTube videos for video marketing and brand awareness purposes, since with over 4 billion hits per day, the site provides a great way to get as many eyes on your content as possible – an ideal situation for marketing.

That sort of publicity isn’t a great fit for most sensitive corporate material, however. And while you can host select videos privately on YouTube, the sharing, hosting and viewing limitations that come with it don’t really mesh well with most corporate content requirements.

  • Brainshark: While Brainshark presentations can be shared and posted publicly for marketing campaigns as well, they can also be hosted privately within a secure web portal. This makes them a better fit when it comes to restricting access to sensitive videos, training resourcesexecutive announcements and HR communications.

So with that in mind, let’s take a look at how the tracking and reporting capabilities differ between the two.

YouTube Analytics

While the YouTube reporting feature is powerful, it’s also very basic. I’ve written before that some metrics in YouTube analytics are more useful than others, but that’s true of any reporting tool. The metrics you can track in YouTube are separated into two main categories:


Here you’ll find general activity data, similar to the information presented in Google Analytics for traditional web content.

  • Total views and unique views

  • Demographics (basic gender and geographic information)

  • Playback locations (content that is viewed from your YouTube channel page, other websites, etc.)

  • Traffic sources (views coming from YouTube or external sources)

  • Devices (videos viewed from laptops, tablets, etc.)

  • Audience retention (data on how long people view your content)

#2. Engagement

This category provides details on viewer activity in relation to the YouTube site specifically.

  • Subscribers (to your YouTube Channel)

  • Likes and dislikes

  • Favorites

  • Comments

  • Sharing (via social media)

  • Calls to Action

  • Annotations (clicks for links embedded in the video)

All of this data can be filtered by date and individual videos, and YouTube provides lots of simple charts and graphs to visualize your data. You can also download copies of your reports for later use, though the standard .CSV spreadsheets that come out can be cumbersome and difficult to decipher.

Brainshark Tracking and Reporting

Brainshark analytics will track the same essential viewership metrics as YouTube. The biggest difference, however, is that Brainshark reporting allows you to gather more detailed information on individual viewers. Whereas YouTube Analytics reports on totals and general viewer activity, Brainshark uses features like Guest Books or integration with Eloqua and Salesforce to track viewing behavior more specifically. In fact, you can even use the Salesforce reporting tools to review viewership for campaigns that utilize Brainshark presentations.

As a result, Brainshark users can see reports on who actually viewed their content, as well as what they viewed (time retention, specific slides), when they viewed and where they viewed it. This makes Brainshark tracking and reporting a powerful tool for target marketing and lead qualification campaigns, whereas YouTube’s benefits lie more with online visibility, brand awareness and SEO. And naturally, tracking individual viewers is useful for secure content like employee training material, since learning and development reps can easily monitor who has or hasn’t seen required learning content.

Another difference involves interactivity. Since Brainshark videos can also include features like survey questions and quizzes, you can track these responses to learn more about your viewers. In addition, you can monitor viewer retention in more detail, like if someone views a particular slide more than once.

The actual reporting is a little different as well. Brainshark lets you upload reports as a .CSV spreadsheet, but you also have the option of uploading to a more visually-pleasing .PDF, or creating automated reports that are sent directly to your email (something YouTube does not do).

Now, keep in mind that while you can enable ratings for Brainshark videos, Brainshark doesn’t track the exact same engagement metrics as YouTube does (Shares, Likes, etc.). However, it does have over 90 options for creating more customized reports, including:

  • Sender data (the person who shared a particular video)

  • Creator data (the person who created and published the presentation)

  • Company and contact information for individual viewers

  • Question response details (for presentations with quizzes, polls or surveys)

  • And on and on and on…

So as you can see, the analytics you choose will mainly depend on the needs and goals of your video content. From a marketing standpoint, I recommend incorporating BOTH YouTube and Brainshark reporting into your overall strategy. By publishing content to YouTube, you’ll be able to attract more inbound traffic to your website, raise brand awareness and bolster your SEO efforts. Using Brainshark, you can create more focused, targeted campaigns and develop a deeper understanding of the behavior of your audience.

The best of both worlds!

For more on harnessing the power of Brainshark and YouTube for video marketing, view this short presentation.

Learn More About Brainshark's Tracking & Reporting Features