Understanding Online Video Viewing Habits

Online video viewing has increased exponentially over the past decade, and smart businesses are asking themselves what these trends mean for their overall marketing strategies. To answer a few of these questions regarding how current online video viewing trends could influence digital marketing best practices, we first turned to comScore’s “2012 US Digital Future in Focus” white paper to identify the trends shaping future video consumption.

Online viewing habits have only grown in the years since we first published this post and video marketing continues to be an important part of marketing strategy. With that in mind, take a look at what has and hasn’t changed over the past several years with online viewing habits.

Video Views per Day

“In 2011, more than 100 million Americans watched online video content on an average day, representing a 43-percent increase versus a year ago.”

More Americans watching videos means that more target audiences are now engaging with this medium online. In contrast to the past – when video viewing was carried out primarily by young, tech-savvy audiences – this newly video-optimized environment presents more opportunities than ever for companies to reach their desired prospective customers.
As a result, if you’ve ruled out video advertisements or video message delivery in the past due to low interest, it may be time to reevaluate the potential this medium holds within your unique marketplace niche.

Minutes per Video

“The average number of minutes per video view rose from 5.0 minutes to 5.8 minutes by the end of 2011, due in large part to the increasing adoption of long-form video content viewing.”

In addition to the number of video views increasing, the industry has seen a shift in terms of average viewing length. And while the move from 5.0 to 5.8 minutes might not seem significant, it’s worth considering that this increase stems primarily from the viewing of online television shows and movies.
What this says to business owners is that online video attention spans are increasing. What was once a medium composed primarily of throwaway video clip views now represents something that captures much more of the public’s attention. As a result, viewers may be more amenable to serious information or sales pitches delivered via video, simply because of the increasing presence online video holds in our lives.

Videos and Video Ads Published

“The volume of video ads streamed across the internet increased 20% versus the previous year, but the ratio of the number of video ads to total videos grew at a somewhat more muted rate, from 12.8% to 14.1%.”

Interestingly, although the number of video ads streamed online in 2011 increased significantly, the ratio of videos to ads changed only slightly – obviously due to the overall increase in videos published online.
And while this trend may not offer much substantive information on its own, it’s a trend that’s worth following. While video ads – especially those that make use of the highly effective whiteboard scribing style – may represent a profitable message delivery channel in the future, it will be important for businesses to watch for the point of saturation at which video ads become tuned out and irrelevant.

With these statistics in mind, we want to hear from you. Are you ramping up video production and dissemination in light of the trend toward higher online viewership? Are you seeing an increase in audience retention throughout your videos due to longer online video viewing averages? Or are you experiencing a change in video ad effectiveness, given the influx of new advertisers shown above?