Just the stats: The science of video engagement

Clearly, video education works. But where are the numbers coming from, and what makes us feel so confident?

As it turns out, there is a whole lot of data that explains the year-over-year increase in video education. Video engagement is analysed religiously by industry sites like ReelSEO and Wistia, and big players like YouTube aren’t exactly shy about sharing. Visible measures produced an excellent overview video on the state of online video that takes some of the more salient data points and throws them together, but we really should be paying more attention to the details.

What Does Video Engagement Look Like?

Before we talk about video education, though, we need to talk about video engagement.

One oft-quoted statistic is that viewer engagement has to happen within the first 10 seconds of watching a video. This little nugget of wisdom has been corroborated by the National Centre for Biotechnology, which reports that the average attention span in 2013 was 9 seconds, one second less than the attention span of a goldfish.

Wistia provided this helpful video analytics chart, which was synthesized from years of video analytics:

As you can see, the longer a video drags on, the lower its retention, which is expected. Yet videos under 1 minute enjoy 80% viewer retention up to the 30-second mark, while videos 2-3 minutes in length still enjoy 60% retention. 5-10 minute videos [which is just about the cutoff for video marketing purposes] still see over 50% viewer retention halfway through.

In other words, your viewers base how much of your video they watch on how long they think it will take them to get the gist of it.  100% viewer retention is not the goal. The goal is engagement from your target viewer.

The Who and What of Video Education

Diode Digital found that video is 600% more effective at product education than print and direct mail combined. They also found that, before reading any text, 60% of website visitors will watch a video if available.

Viewers remember videos better, too. Online Publishers Association observed that 80% of viewers recall a video they have seen in the past 30 days. 26% of viewers then look for more info about the subject, 22% visit the website and 12% make the purchase.

Workers prefer watching video, too. Specifically, 59% prefer video over text [WeCapture] and 65% navigate over to a website after viewing a related video.

None of this is really surprising when you take into account that one minute of video is worth 1.8 million words [Forrester Research]. Content education is the art of doing more with less, and there’s no question that video does this superbly.

[Source: singlegrain.com – abridged]