I took a look at video length for businesses four years ago in my post “How Much of a Typical Video Online Is Actually Watched?” and was wondering how that had changed in the last few years.
Some new statistics came out from Wistia, a video hosting company, who also did a similar examination a few years ago into video length. Their findings below bore out the same mantra I’ve been repeating for several years now. Shorter is better.
The above graph sums it up very clearly. In videos 0-30 seconds somewhere around 82% of your video gets watched or roughly 18% of your audience is clicking away from the video. At 30-60 seconds roughly a quarter of your audience is leaving and at 1-2 minutes over 30% are dropping off. The key takeaway here is your business video should be built to serve a specific purpose. The longer you make it, the less people will watch it to completion. So rather than cramming everything about your product into one video, break up that video into snackable content that will keep your audience engaged.
This graph sums up what the audience engagement is in videos of varying lengths. In my original post a few years ago, 10.39% of viewers clicking away after ten seconds and 53.56% leaving after one minute. What’s interesting to note here is that this number hasn’t changed much for shorter videos, but for longer videos you’ll notice the dropoff is precipitous. What this is showing, is that most of the audience is deciding in the first few seconds whether or not to watch and once they make the commitment, the engagement sort of levels off. The other dip you’ll notice is toward the end when the videos are wrapping up. This can probably be attributed to meandering wrap ups and summarizations at the end of videos. To avoid this, in addition to making sure you keep your videos brief and to the point, keep your call-to-action at the end of the video direct and to the point. In other words be direct with what you want the viewer to take for a next step whether that is to sign up for a demo, make a donation or to watch another video that takes a deeper dive into the product offering.
I’m usually not a fan of animated GIFs, but this one is pretty cool. What this is doing is visualizing that audience engagement by length of video. The solid orange line represents the average for that video length while the faded lines around it represent the engagement graph for actual videos. What the key takeaway here is just because you make a video short or long doesn’t automatically guarantee you’re going to get the results you expect. There are short videos with incredibly high dropoffs in here and there are longer videos with very high engagement. Making it shorter will increase your odds of watch to completion, however proper script writing to appeal to your demographic is critical to your video’s success. If you are primarily selling to teenagers, don’t write the script in stuffy corporate speak…make sure it speaks to them like a peer would.
The statistics bear out that little has changed since my original post several years ago. Shorter videos are still providing a higher engagement level than longer videos. If you’ve got a lot to say and your message is more complex, consider breaking it down into shorter videos that can be linked together.
Think of your video content like your website. Would you put everything you have to say on the home page of your website? No, because the end user would get bored scrolling down your one page and it doesn’t get them to interact and slowly develop that relationship with you brand through browsing your content. So why should your video content strategy be any different?
Thanks to Wistia doing the heavy lifting putting these statistics together by compiling millions of data points from videos they are hosting over the last couple years. You can read the full report on the Wistia website.
In May of 2005, YouTube was born and its been a rocket ride for the company ever since. They announced their birthday on their blog and included some great statistics of their growth and more extensive statistics were also shared on their media page. I figured I would grab a few statistics and fun facts I thought were the most interesting:
72 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute
that equates to over an hour of video is uploaded every second. In 2008 I was wrote about how staggering 10 hours of video being uploaded to YouTube every minute was. If 10 hours is staggering, I don’t really know how to classify 72 hours.
Over 3 billion hours of video are watched each month on YouTube
That is billion…with a “B”. That’s a whole lot of Nyan Cats.
Over 1 trillion views in 2011 or almost 140 views for every person on Earth
You read that correctly, one TRILLION views in 2011 on YouTube and 140 views for every person on EARTH. Now remember that only 32.7% of the world’s population has internet access. Which means that among the active internet users in the world, that amounts to over 440 views per person over the course of a year!
YouTube mobile got over 600 million views a day, and mobile traffic tripled in 2011
Six hundred million views accounts for about 20% of YouTube’s total traffic. I wouldn’t be surprised to see this number at least double in 2012 as mobile viewing continues to explode, particularly with the number of tablet devices continuing to flood the market.
500 years of YouTube video are watched every day on Facebook, and over 700 YouTube videos are shared on Twitter each minute
Video is the ultimate way to grab people’s attention online so whether that is just some ridiculous video of cute cats on up to a video branding your business, the ability to share videos from YouTube across social platforms is what makes it so powerful.
So what does it all mean?
More than ever these stats illustrate in mind-boggling terms that there is a slew of content out there. The takeaway is that to be the needle in the haystack – you have to stick out. To stick out in 72 hours of video being uploaded every minute you need to make sure that you optimize your video for search so potential viewers searching for your video can find you more easily and remember to be creative. Don’t be bland, be memorable. But be memorable for the right reasons. If you do all those things there’s no guarantee you’ll reach every potential customer on YouTube, but there’s a better chance you’ll reach more of them.
While clicks are not the only key metric for video advertisers, they are one of the easiest to measure. Most video ad goals are some sort of call to action, whether that is to like the brand on Facebook, some sort of social sharing or getting the viewer to take an action like buying a product online; many advertisers still use clicks as the main tracking statistic for specific campaign goals. This may be because tracking after the click can become too labor intensive for small marketing staffs or they lack the understanding of how to measure beyond the click.
So if measuring clicks is your primary measurement and you believe the campaign reached the right demographic, did you reach them at the best time to drive these clicks? TubeMogul just completed a research report to answer this exact question. You can read the full report from TubeMogul with their key findings on their research report “Driving clicks, ‘Likes’ with Video Ads?” Here’s my quick thoughts on the results…
While completion rates do not differ significantly throughout the day, click-through-rates steadily climb during business hours to a peak around 5pm. After 5pm, clicks drop significantly, reaching less than half the peak value by midnight.
CPMs for both 0:15 and 0:30 second pre-roll ads show very little variance over the course of the day of less than 10% difference for both video lengths. While CPMs for the two video lengths closely mirror each other over the course of a day, 0:30 second ads consistently commanded a higher CPM than 0:15 second ads.
During the working day between 7am – 7pm, Cost-per-click (CPC) remains very similar for both video lengths. However, as the Click Through Rate (CTR) of 0:30 second ads fall in the evening, CPC becomes more attractive for 0:15 second ads in the evening between 8pm – midnight.
So…what does this all mean?
I’ll admit up front, I’m not a huge fan of pre-roll video ads and TubeMogul also reported in an earlier case study that nearly 87% of unique visitors to a site’s homepage featuring video will never watch a pre-roll video ad. However, in certain circumstances and on select community or news based websites, pre-roll ads can be very successful. I think the biggest takeaway from TubeMogul’s findings is if you are using clicks as a goal, you may want to think about increasing the volume of your 0:15 second ads during the evening hours to take advantage of higher CTRs during this time. To be successful with your video advertising you should be opportunistic with your spend to get the biggest bang for your buck by buying at ideal times. Your thoughts or success stories with video advertising? What worked for you?
Anyone who has talked to me recently about online video distribution knows I have been singing the praises of TubeMogul. Founded in 2006 by online video buffs who met while in graduate school, TubeMogul’s objective from the start has been to empower online video producers, advertisers and the online video industry by providing publishing tools and insightful, easy to interpret analytics.
With TubeMogul, users upload videos once and TubeMogul deploys them to as many of the top video sharing sites the producer chooses. TubeMogul’s integrated analytics then provide a single source of metrics on where, when, and how often the videos are viewed. Best of all, this service is FREE.
As part of my love of TubeMogul’s services I contacted them to see if I could interview someone for my blog. David Burch, the Marketing Manager for TubeMogul, kindly obliged.
David Burch is 25 years old and studied at Berkeley, where he currently resides and where TubeMogul is based. His previous job was as Content Manager for an e-commerce startup in San Francisco. After briefly attending law school, he found his way to TubeMogul, where he currently heads up their marketing efforts.
The previous night someone in his neighborhood in Berkeley was singing songs in French at the top of their lungs which kept David up for most of the night. After I promised not to break into “Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien” during the interview…we got down to business and commenced:
Eric Guerin: So David, how was TubeMogul able to partner with so many video sharing sites to provide a solution to video deployment and especially aggregate video viewing statistics?
David Burch: Video sites are eager to make life easier for their users, and we help do that with our free distribution and analytics tools. While our CEO has the “biz dev chops,” it is our 30,000 passionate users, from CBS Interactive and Next New Networks on down to vloggers and struggling filmmakers, that are truly responsible for making these deals happen by putting out high-quality content that these video sites want to sell advertising around.
EG: How are you able to offer such a robust product for free?
DB: While there are over 30,000 free users of TubeMogul mainly made up of vloggers and small independent video production studios, our business is able to “keep the lights on” because of clients such as CBS Interactive, Michael Eisner’s new media production company, Vuguru, Next New Networks and several agencies representing the top brands in media technology and consumer products. These clients require more robust services such as BuzzTracker which allows companies to track buzz in the user generated content world or compare their brand versus their competitors by tracking videos and viewership across the internet based upon selected keywords. We even assist some of these companies by managing viral marketing campaigns and hiring production studios to create “response videos” to increase their brand recognition.
EG: TubeMogul’s industry analysis and reports are incredibly in depth and helpful to any video publisher looking to gain more information about various video sharing sites, what constitutes a view, etc. What led TubeMogul to become so forward thinking regarding this research and analysis?
DB: Thanks! Having deployed over 800,000 videos, we have a wealth of data on online video viewership and are trying to share it with the world. Since we sell the graph and not a particular video player or advertiser, our only agenda is truth.
EG: One big thing I know a lot of online video producers would find beneficial is being able to track if people watch the video to completion or the overall length of time they watched the video. Dealing with so many different video sharing sites, will this be a possibility in the near future?
DB: Getting in-player statistics like that is something we are working on, both in terms of the engineering and in getting the deals with sites. Many video sites are understandably cautious about letting us that deep into their code, but several are coming around and we expect the rest to follow, given the power of these statistics. Also, since we are becoming a nexus of sorts for online video, these deals are starting to look more and more realistic.
EG: What is TubeMogul working on now to stay ahead of the curve with online video deployment and marketing tools? Any ideas or concepts you could share?
DB: Our main focus is on more distribution venues, richer data and new features. One of our current Premium Products will be made free in August. We are also constantly querying the data to look for trends for new studies. Increasingly, journalists and advertisers are calling with questions and interesting ideas.
EG: Any new video sharing sites that are emerging or are doing things to really augment the user experience?
DB: One video sharing site that’s really doing exciting things is Viddler. They have a really cool player that allows viewers to tag and place comments or video response links anywhere along the player timeline. It really has taken the video player to another level of online functionality and interactivity for the user.
EG: Thanks David!