Video Metadata: What It Is & the Benefits of Managing It

By The Zype Team on December 14, 2022

For your video content to have any impact, it needs viewers. For that, you need discoverability. Beyond that, you need a way to keep your content organized and well-documented. 

Of course, once your video content is discovered, you want your viewers to have the best possible viewing experience. One often overlooked key to all this is video metadata. 

Metadata is an all-important key to the organization, discoverability, and functionality of any media—especially video. It's also especially important when using a video content management system (CMS). Here, we’ll go over how to manage your video metadata.

What Is Video Metadata?

Video metadata is data embedded in media files that provides information about the content contained within them. 

There are three types of metadata in a typical video file:

  • Descriptive metadata is just that: descriptive. This is information like title, creator, subject matter, and keywords. This data is crucial for searching both by humans and search engines since text is how search engines find content, and humans can read metadata (in a playlist, for example) quicker than they watch videos.
  • Administrative metadata dives a little deeper, enabling management and use of the content. It can contain technical information, such as resolution, bitrate, and codec; rights information; or internal use information like unique identifiers. This data aids in video resource management.
  • Structural metadata is generally data used to discern a file’s organization and relationship to other content. This might include sections, chapters, indexes, or tables of contents. This data is used by machines and software to discern how to present content.

Overall, metadata can be considered ancillary information that helps you organize and use video content effectively. The main content of a video file is the video itself. While no metadata is necessary for playback, metadata plays a vital role in organizing, using, and presenting video files.

Benefits of Managing Your Metadata

Metadata is key to effectively using any media, and video metadata is no exception. This crucial data has several key functions.

1. Metadata Makes SEO Possible

Metadata not only aids in search engine optimization (SEO)―it makes it possible. Without metadata, videos wouldn’t be searchable at all. Search engines need text to identify content; without descriptive metadata, video content can’t be discovered by search engines.

2. Metadata Enhances the Viewer Experience

Metadata is what makes a great viewing experience possible. The simplest example is titles. Imagine any online video player; if you mouse over it during playback, you’re likely to see the title somewhere on the screen. Descriptive metadata makes this possible. 

Similarly, episodes and chapters are contained in structural metadata. That handy feature where streaming services track which episodes you’ve watched? That's metadata at work.

3. Metadata Streamlines Content Documentation

Metadata makes it possible for creators and streamers to organize and find content, and for software to categorize it. Video metadata is necessary for many of the functions we expect from streaming services. For example, without proper metadata, recommendation engines couldn’t do their job.

In general, metadata boosts discoverability and makes it easier to find stored content―and it's vital to building an audience and delivering a personalized viewing experience.

Leveraging Metadata Management

Metadata management is necessary, but rather than being difficult, it should be straightforward and customizable. With the right partner fueling your streaming service, video metadata management is easy. 

To learn more about building and scaling your digital video strategyincluding managing metadatacheck out our free resource, Digital Video Infrastructure: The Complete Guide.

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