‘Over 3bn hours of video are watched on YouTube every month’ shout infographics attesting to the phenomenal growth of online video over the last few years. It’s a well-worn statistic, but one that clearly illustrates the appetite for video among today’s internet users.
There are numerous other statistics that highlight the increase in popularity of online video as a format, and I’ll throw those into another blog post as a separate resource. Regardless of who produced the stats and what their methodologies were, it’s become unarguable that video is rapidly becoming the content of choice for internet users.
All you need to do is think about how many times you’ve personally watched a video in the last week. This blog from Chris Rick at ReelSEO gives an interesting perspective.
The purpose of this blog and those that will follow it over the next couple of weeks is to assess what makes video so popular. In the first installment we’ll cover off the user experience and establish why users find video content so appealing. Our focus will then shift to the affiliate sphere and highlight the benefits of video for publishers and advertisers, we are a video performance network after all.
Why is it so popular?
ReadWriteWeb lists the top ten YouTube videos in terms of views here. Justin Bieber’s song ‘Baby’ has 760m views. Bieber…760m………
What’s immediately noticeable though is that apart from Charlie biting his brother’s finger again, the little scamp, the majority of the top ten are music videos. Music videos are the perfect example of why the format is so popular. It’s an audiovisual experience and as such is far more appealing to an audience than static text, an audio stream or pictures.
Music videos have the characteristics of all the most successful videos. They are short-form, attention grabbing and easily digestible. Of course they also typically have high production values and the huge marketing spend that goes into promoting music is what propels people like Bieber to three-quarters of a billion views. However, users aren’t just watching music videos, they’re viewing all kinds of engaging content produced on varying budgets.
A great example of video’s appeal is the way internet users now consume reviews. Imagine you’re doing a bit of research before deciding which phone to buy, you’ll search the the internet for reviews or you might have a technology website you particularly trust. Either way, as a user you’ll be presented with a choice of review format – a text review several pages long supported by pictures, or a video review. You may even choose to check out a home-made user-review on YouTube or a blog.
With a video you get a feel for the real-life experience of using the phone while the reviewer talks you through the features. You can see how it works and what it looks like outside a photographer’s studio, all the time just sitting back, watching and listening.
The text review requires you to read through reams of content, perhaps on a mobile device, squinting. Let’s be honest, no-one really likes reading more than a few hundred words at a time from a screen that isn’t a Kindle.
The increasing numbers of publishers turning to video reviews to supplement their traditional approach, and the prominence of such videos on websites, typically sited directly under the headline, show the demand for the format among their users.
Tips and tricks for applying make-up, guides to fitting car parts and video-game walkthroughs are all examples of user- and professionally-created video content that chimes with internet users because of how easy it is to digest. It communicates the information we want to know in a simpler, more convenient and more compelling way than any other format.