Are audiences as crazy for videos as advertisers are?

Video: Key findings from the 2016 Reuters Digital News Report

The push for video increases daily. We see it auto-play on sites and on social media channels. We see commercials for more usage. We stream it from Hollywood studios and brands and close friends.

And we see advertising before, during, after, below and beside it.

But the audience isn’t as engaged as we may believe.

Two studies indicate the format isn’t growing on fans as quickly as once thought.

1. News analytics company Parse.ly examined data from the last 2 years on various formats and engagement. In looking at posts long and short, videos and slideshows, it found that long-form posts had the best user engagement, while videos performed worst.

Parse.ly - format engagement

Chart: Audience engagement by post format, from Parse.ly

Parse.ly puts out three possible causes for video’s poor showing: auto-play (which might cause an audio disturbance in offices), slow loading and technical issues (with Parse.ly’s measurement app).

2. In its 2016 Digital News Report, Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism surveyed more than 50,000 people in 26 countries. One followup question asks: “You said that you don’t usually watch news videos online. Why not?”

Reuters - news video

Chart: Why people skip news videos,
from Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism

From the report:

The vast majority (78%) say they only read news in text or occasionally watch news video that looks interesting. Just one in twenty (5%) say they mostly watch rather than read news online. When pressed, the main reason people give for not using more video is that they find text quicker and more convenient (41%). Around a fifth (19%) say that videos often don’t add anything to what is already in the text story.

We also find a significant proportion (35%) that say they are put off by pre-roll advertisements, and this figure has increased in a number of countries … including the United States.

Video is tricky: It’s more difficult to measure engagement and reach. It requires large resources to assemble. Any number of mishaps can occur during live broadcasts. It insists users have the right technology and bandwidth.

For brands looking to video for their corporate storytelling, we recommend:

  1. Studying the trends (see links below).
  2. Define concrete goals for video marketing.
  3. Measure the impact of brand videos.

If we are deliberate in our deployment of video, we can add a valuable method of winning new fans and new customers and enhancing our current ways of engaging people.

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About Wade Kwon

Wade Kwon is conference director for Y'all Connect. See his full bio.