No one watches television anymore.

OK, maybe that’s an overstatement. But follow the youngest set of millennials around and you’ll find they spend more time watching YouTube than anything else. Next, look at what social network they use most often. It’s YouTube, not Facebook. Search engine? YouTube again.

So, if you’re an advertiser or publisher who wants to reach this audience, how do you know what to put in front of them or where to find them. Yesterday’s ratings giants, Nielsen and ComScore are still busy with TV, cable and radio which have nowhere near the volume, variety, variability, veracity or velocity (big data’s v’s) of YouTube and other video hosting sites like it.

How big a disparity is there? Consider this: 3 billion videos are played on YouTube every day and 100 hours of content are uploaded every minute.

How Do You Measure?

If you’re one of the 150,000 top branded channels (10,000 subscribers or more) who wants to attract fans to your site and keep them there, you’ve got a challenge, says Rob Gabel, CEO of Tubular Labs, a software and services firm aimed at delivering actionable insights to creators, brands and media companies who want to leverage video.

To do this intelligently, you’ll not only look at information around video views, but YouTube social data as well: the “likes”, the commenting, the playlists being made and shared…

And then there’s external data from places like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Vine via publicly available data feeds.

As if the aforementioned 5 v’s weren’t enough of a hint, we’re talking big data. The kind that publishers and brands haven’t had to deal with in the past. And the task of finding the right content to put in front of the right person at the right time can be daunting.

“Most (publishers, brands, producers, advertisers) are flying blind,” said Gabel.

Consider your own experience and it’s hard to disagree. While researching this article, for example, I went to look at videos and randomly selected one on decorating a teen’s bedroom. Before I could watch it, I was forced to look at a clip about ShareFile. To me, this seems more like a rude interruption or being held hostage than smart marketing. Nothing like what I experienced when I went to look at the score of Sunday Night Football and found New England’s Ron Gronkowski doing a dance after scoring a touchdown. Pair that with an ad for beer and I might become a customer.

Capitalizing on Data

Tubular Labs aims to help companies get video right. And it uses Hadoop, specifically Cloudera’s Impala, to do so. Impala is an analytic database architected specifically to leverage the flexibility and scalability strengths of Hadoop and also makes real time SQL queries easy.

So when a major home and garden publisher came to Tubular to ask why they weren’t able to win the attention of 13 to 24-year-old females (the publisher’s up and coming customer base) the obvious answer was that young women in that age bracket aren’t very passionate about remodeling or gardening.

What do they care deeply about? The data revealed something many of us might find obvious.

“Justin (Bieber), Taylor (Swift) and makeup,” says Gabel.

Secrets of Engagement

Since a publisher whose content is based around home and gardens has little in common with the aforementioned, Tubular and its customer had to dig a little deeper. What would engage these young women that would eventually cause them to become fans?

Tubular used data stored in Cloudera’s data hub, they wrote algorithms and ran queries and came up with an interesting answer “crafts”. That was where the interests of teenage girls and a homes and gardens publication might meet.

Today the publisher’s site is extremely popular among the demographic. Insights from big data inform not only the kind of content that gets published, but also the topics, the music, the language and the storylines that are most likely to resonate and so on.

And given that content is added to these video channels two to three times each day, sometimes more, you need to have everything working in your favor if you want your video to be the one among the 3 billion vying for your target’s attention.