The world has gone video crazy. As you sit there reading this, millions of people are watching online videos. Indeed, for every minute of the day around 3.5m videos are being watched. At the same time, around 300 hours of new videos are being uploaded. And they are just the statistics for YouTube, which only has around 55% of the online video market.
(For updated statistics for 2018 see: 50+ Amazing YouTube Statistics)
However, there are other data which need to be considered. It’s all very well quoting raw statistics of the number of videos watched – but that only tells you the number of videos that were started. What’s more important to understand is how much of each video is being watched. After all, if you go to the trouble of producing a video and people give up before it is finished, then you have wasted your time and effort.
Bad news for business video producers
Luckily we now have some research on business video – and it doesn’t make for entirely good reading. The research is pretty solid as it based on the viewing data from over 250,000 videos and 600m video streams for 500 businesses. This isn’t a small study on a handful of videos from some video marketing guy.
The research shows that despite almost everyone in the video world saying “it’s all mobile these days”, for business videos that is not the case. This study shows that almost 90% of all business videos are viewed on desktop computers. This goes directly against the mantra from YouTube itself which states that “more than half of YouTube views come from mobile devices”
This is just one example of how statistics can mislead. Companies may be under the impression that their business videos need to be mobile friendly when specific information shows that this is far from the case. So, what other general views about online video could be misleading businesses?
People are not watching
The research shows that the average length of a business video is eight minutes. However, the study also revealed that 58% of people who are watching those eight-minute videos do not make it past the first 50 seconds. In other words, 90% of the average business video is not being watched.
Many businesses understand that short videos are probably a good idea. This is backed up by the study that shows most business videos are viewed early in the morning on a desktop computer. This suggests that people are looking at online video as they start their business day in the office before they get on with any proper work. However, even for 90-second videos only just half of viewers are making it all the way through.
What the study reveals is that the vast majority of business videos online do not get watched all the way through.
Video is poor value for business
Given that so much video is being produced by businesses and so little of it is actually being completely watched, you have to ask what is the return on the investment. All of that money spent on scripts, recording and the time committed to hours and hours of video that never gets looked at is clearly a waste.
Not only that, it is also wasting staff time. They are coming into the office and watching only parts of videos for a total of around 40-minutes each day. In other words, they are flitting from partially watching one video to only looking briefly at part of another one, and so on. How productive is that?
Engagement in online business video is much lower than you might think. Business owners need to carefully calculate the return on their investment both for producing videos and encouraging staff to watch them.
If video is an important part of your business, then perhaps you need to ensure you have a good script so that people will be likely to watch until the end. New research suggests that to truly engage people your video needs to fire their imagination.
Graham Jones is an Internet Psychologist who studies the way people use the online world, in particular how people engage with businesses. He uses this knowledge to help companies improve their online connections to their customers and potential customers and offers consultancy, workshops, masterclasses and webinars. He also speaks regularly at conferences and business events. Graham is an award-winning writer and the author of 32 books, several of which are about various aspects of the Internet. For more information connect with me on Google+