VR video network Littlstar launches analytics tool to track viewer engagement

Rachael Power is an editor at TechForge Media, writing about marketing tech, connected cars and virtual reality. She has written for a number of online and print titles including the Irish Times, Irish Examiner, accountingWEB and BusinessZone. Rachael has a passion for digital marketing, journalism, gaming and fitness, and is on Twitter at: @rachpower10.


Marketers may well be familiar with the use of heatmaps and social analytics tools on regular websites, but for the first time, virtual reality (VR) video now has its own solution.

Disney Accelerator-backed startup Littlstar has just launched a creator’s dashboard, which gives access to user analytics, demographics and heat maps for all viewers on videos distributed via its network. 

Founded in 2013, Littlstar is a premium VR content network which distributes VR video from major players such as ABC and Discovery. Essentially, it aims to be the YouTube or Netflix of VR video content.

Its chief data scientist is Wells Johnston, previously of Spotify, who leads up research and development on the product.

He wrote a blog post on the new tool recently, saying it “introduces an opportunity to explore and understand how people engage with VR content”.

According to Wells, there’s an “astonishing” amount of data generated from where people look while within VR video. He added the company’s aim was to make the data accessible and meaningful to those behind the videos, and provide “unprecedented access to understanding and even monetising user engagement”.

Heatmaps and hotspots

The tool can create heatmaps of where people have looked by overlaying colour gradients on the original video, in addition to cluster analysis, a statistical method which finds hotspots.

“Performing these calculations and finding hotspots involves so much data and processing that it needs to be distributed over a number of machines in the cloud and the computation takes hours,” Wells wrote.

The data’s then analysed further to discover the types of movement people make while at these hotspots.  

In particular Wells believes one industry that’ll be greatly affected by VR analytics is marketing and advertising. And central to this field is data and analytics.

“Say a brand wants to know what percentage of people saw an ad placement, or how different genders responded to a scene, our platform makes this kind of analysis possible,” Wells wrote.

Will analytics tools like this shape how marketing content is created for VR? Share your thoughts below.

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