Who Watches Online Video?

I recently read two sets of interesting statistics about online video. They show not only the phenomenal growth in video, and the potential for any type of business, but the the second set of data says something you may not have expected. Here’s the first set, assembled by comScore, a specialist in digital data

  • US Internet users viewed 11.5 billion videos online during the
    month of March 2008, a 13% net gain over February 2008 and over 64%
    gain over 12 months ago.
  • 139 Million U.S. Internet users watched an average of 83 videos
    per viewer in March 2008.
  • 73.7% of the total U.S. Internet Audience viewed video online
    during the month of March.
  • 84.8 million viewers watched 4.3 billion videos on YouTube, alone!

Are you taking advantage of this growth? Or are you being left behind as the crowd rushes passed?

Stop and think a minute about the implications of the explosion in online video. First, yes, there are a lot of silly things on You Tube, and a lot of music videos and TV clips that have nothing to do with business. But the implication of the video revolution is huge. People no longer expect static pages on the web. Even the most casual user looks for video and audio content.

73.7% of the total U.S. Internet Audience viewed video online during the month of March.

3 out of 4 people know that video can be viewed on the web because they have already seen it. And once they see it, they want to see more. Can you offer your readers, buyers, and clients what they want? If you don’t – will they keep coming back to your site or will they go somewhere else?

The second set of data, called Video’s Short Shelf Life, is from Tube Mogul. The take away:

…Significantly, 50% of all views occur in the first two weeks, peaking at day three, which constitutes 11% of all views…


On average, videos are time-sensitive. Trends pointed out elsewhere, such as “evergreen” (non-time sensitive) content always fetching views or videos randomly “going viral,” seem more of a rarity than an underlying trend in the data.

However, since we only projected out to one year, we effectively capped a long tail that over time might add up to a significant percentage of overall views. Even in our one-year forecast, it is interesting that after 154 days, a typical video still has 25% of its annual views left–hardly a “flash in a pan,” although the long tail is declining in potency over time as the function approaches the x axis.

What does that mean for the independent seller? First, don’t jump to the obvious conclusion that video only has a 3 day window. That’s not true – viewers keep watching. There is a long tail. We don’t know lot about the marketing behind the videos Tube Mogul studied, but I would say this:

If you promote your video in a newsletter or blog post – have all your products and services ready before the video is published. Your readers/buyers/clients are most likely to watch the video in its first few days after release – that is, when they first hear about it. If your call to action leaves them hanging, because your PayPal button doesn’t work or your listing doesn’t go live until next week – you may not get a second chance.

One thought on “Who Watches Online Video?

  1. AndyUk


    My take on this post is that it depends on what the video is about. If it is about lets say July 4th and how to make something for that day then yes it will only really be working in the run up to that date, but people will still go there the next year.

    The same would be for Christmas or any other holiday period.

    But if it is a how to video such as how to set up a web site, or blog, or how to wind a baby then those videos will work time and time again

    Take Care

    AndyUk (Andrew Milburn


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