Brevity Is The Soul Of Viewership

Online video is the Internet’s It Girl right now: Viewership of online video is up more than a third, Hulu and its streaming full-length shows are the #2 video site on the web (stealing eyes from TV screens), and it seems like even your grandmother is vlogging on YouTube now.

But with all those tens millions of videos being watched, who’s really watching?  That apparently depends on how long your video is.

According to a new study by TubeMogul, people are watching a lot of videos, but they aren’t watching for very long.  More than 10% of viewers click away after the first 10 seconds of a video, and after a minute, more than half the audience is gone.

Audience Attention Span (Source: TubeMogul)

(Source: TubeMogul)

While TubeMogul’s data has a number of caveats and limitations, and they seem to be concerned with the implications for pre- and post-roll advertising, I’m more interested for what it says about PR-related video content — product demos, talking-head interviews, etc.

We always advise our own users to keep their videos short; ideally, less than 5 minutes long.  (As you can see from the graph above, fewer than 10% of users will hang around for more than 5 minutes.)  Rather than include a lengthy video with your multimedia press release, create a short excerpt, and make the full video available for download or by request.  It’s easier to keep viewers for a minute or two, and leave them wanting (and requesting!) more, than to keep them around for three, four, five minutes or longer.  And it both builds interaction and encourages social media penetration — users will be more likely to share and recommend shorter videos, and when they come to you for more, it opens up a dialogue between you and consumers, media and other audiences.

So, in short, keep it short!  For some great examples of what our own users are doing with video:

Business Wire on YouTube

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