Should You Use Video on Your Blog? What the Research Says (Part 2 of 3)

In my previous post I let my hair down with a rant about why I hate video on your blog. But being the data-lover that I am, I felt compelled to follow that up with some research.

I started with the oh-so scientific “email-my-friends” approach — secretly hoping that they would back me up with a resounding series of, “gawd, I hate those videos.”

That isn’t exactly what happened.

My quick and dirty survey collected 7 responses (including mine). Some people were like me and seldom watched video on blogs and niche sites, but some people did watch it and even preferred it.

Here is the breakdown:

  • We all watch informational, instructional or marketing videos occasionally and 1 out of the 7 often watched non-recreational video online
  • Recognizable name websites were the most likely place to watch video – this included manufacturer’s sites and big name blogs like Endgadget and Gizmodo.
  • 1 person was more likely to watch video on small blog sites
  • 2 people would watch whatever seemed useful (and one of those people goes to YouTube specifically to find non-recreational video)
  • The preference for video or text blog posts was split:
  • 3 people preferred text
  • 2 people preferred video
  • 1 person wanted a mixture of both
  • 1 person said it depended on the topic (More on this in the next post Make the Most of Your Video Blog Posts).

There’s nothing conclusive here. All I can confidently say based on my survey is that my views don’t represent everyone’s.

Duh!

But I included this mini-survey anyway because it illustrates one of my main bailiwicks – you are not your audience, and don’t assume everyone wants what you want.

But since my survey didn’t come up with a definitive answer about the value of video on a blog, I decided to dig deeper.

The Usual Video Stats

The video-post advocates quote a lot of stats to explain why you need video on your site.  You can find a good compilation of these stats in this post,  17 Facts and Figures About Online Video: How important is it for your SEO for Getting Found Online?

This post and most others like it quote numbers like these:

  • 35% of  people watch video on-line
  • 49% of all adult internet users frequent YouTube
  • A lot of people, especially younger people are watching more and more TV and movies on their computer

The problem with these numbers is that they are too general and don’t relate to the kind of video you are putting on your blog or niche site.  These stats include everyone looking for Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga and cute kitten videos; which is a very different activity than watching a talking head video on your blog.

20% of People Abandon a Video within 10 Seconds

I kept digging, looking for some more applicable stats and found this; according to a study by Visible Measures :

  • 20% of online video viewers click away from a video in the first 10 seconds or less
  • 33% leave by the 30 second mark
  • 44% have moved on by 1 minute into the video
  • Almost 60% have abandoned by the 2 minute mark

Wow!

Think about it.  For every 100 views, 44 of them didn’t get beyond the first minute.

This study looked at 40 million video assets with 7 billion views, so again these are pretty broad stats that may or may not apply to your blog and its audience; but it is worth thinking about because it may be that no one is getting to the sales pitch half way through your video.

Executives Watch Business Related Video

I kept looking for better data and I found a Forbes Insight report from December 2010, Video in the C-Suite: Executives Embrace the Non-Text Web.

This report is based on data from more than 300 C-level and senior executives and specifically discusses business related online video. Here are some stats:

  • 62% of executives prefer text to video for business content, while 22% said they prefer video (30% of executives under 40 prefer video)
  • 75% of executives watch work related video on a business related web site weekly
  • 52% of executives watch work related video on YouTube weekly
  • 65% of executives have visited a vendor’s website after watching a video, and 39% have made a purchase (keep in mind that the survey doesn’t say how often they’ve done this, just that they have done it)
  • 54% of executives share work related videos with co-workers at least weekly, with younger executives being far more likely to share video than executives over 50
  • 47% of executives post links to work related videos on “networking” sites, with 69% of executives under 40 posting links
  • 59% said they preferred light-hearted work related video
  • 47% said they preferred videos to be between 3 and 5 minutes
  • 80% said they were watching more work related video on-line than they were a year ago

To me, this information shows that while text still reigns supreme, there is a growing market for business related video (especially if you are targeting younger people) and that any video you create should be short, snappy and combined with text.

The Best Stats: Your Audience

Stats are fun, but you can make them say whatever you want them to. The best place to get reliable information about whether or not you you should be using video blog posts is your audience. Listen to them.

So if you’ve read my rant about what I hate about video blogs; and now you’ve seen my attempt to be more rational with some stats; but before you run off to revise your video strategy, take a peek at my next post, Make the Most of Your Video Blog Posts: Advice From a Videophobe.

Photo by Brett Farmiloe 

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