Video Essentials

Online Video by the Numbers

Ever have a color-by-numbers set as a kid? You could create masterpieces that were ready made for the refrigerator door, even if all of your other coloring books were filled with incoherent scribbles that rarely stayed inside the lines. Unfortunately, there aren’t many opportunities after the age of five where numbers lay the groundwork and set the direction, which is too bad, since life usually tends to get a bit harder after kindergarten.

For those in the online video industry, the path ahead can be particularly difficult, and it can be hard to know what to do, when to do it, and how to get audiences to react the way you’d like them to. Wouldn’t it be nice if online video were as easy as the old color-by-numbers set? Well, this might not keep you from completely going outside the lines, but this brief video-by-the-numbers should at least help you create content that’s refrigerator-worthy.

2: The maximum number of minutes your video should be to retain most of your audience. It’s not always easy to make your point or tell your story in a short period of time, but viewers don’t have a lot of patience. Significant drop-offs will happen at the two minute mark. Keep in mind that if there’s a 30 second pre-roll playing, then the total viewing time of a two minute video is really two minutes and thirty seconds. Go any longer and you’re likely to lose your audience. It’s better to keep the message shorter and have more people see it to completion, than to take more time and have your audience give up.

10: The number of seconds you have to capture the audience. Just because you’ve kept your videos to two minutes or less doesn’t automatically mean anyone will watch it. You have to gain your audience’s interest immediately. On TV, you might have a minute or two to grab someone’s interest before they look elsewhere for entertainment. A book might have two or three pages to capture a reader’s attention. Online videos have about 10 seconds to get people interested enough to stick around.

15: The maximum number of seconds a video ad should be. Unfortunately, this is by far the norm, as 30-second ads rule the online video universe. But, for marketers who want to maximize the number of viewers that will see their ad to completion, 15 seconds should be the target length of your ads. It’s the length that video networks prefer, and it’s the length that most viewers agree is acceptable for them to wait before watching their selected videos.

5: The number of seconds marketers should take to make their point. With more networks incorporating ad-skipping technology on their sites, marketers have a diminishing window within which to make their point. So, the luxury of having 30 seconds to tell a story on TV won’t translate to video environments as more users have the option to skip the ad completely, usually after the fifth second. Take a second look on the cutting room floor and find some way to splice together something quick and memorable with your brand name and logo featured prominently in the first five seconds, before your viewers hit the Skip button.

2.5: The minimum number of minutes into your video before a mid-roll should be called. If you have control over where ads are placed (you may not; sometimes it’s entirely up to the ad network showcasing your content), give viewers a full two-and-a-half-minutes before adding a mid-roll ad. Even that is pushing it. Any less than that and you create an unbalanced situation where the ratio of ads to content gets skewed in the wrong direction. For content that runs over 10 minutes, the second mid-roll should come a good three minutes after the first. This way, you get to monetize your content without disrupting the viewing experience too egregiously.

1: The minimum number of new videos you should publish each week. Getting people to watch once is one thing. Getting them to come back and become regular viewers is another. Aside from needing the content to be compelling, it’s also important to get on a regular schedule for new episodes. Ideally, you should post new videos far more regularly, perhaps daily, but that’s not always possible due to time and economic restraints. At a minimum, though, create and upload new video once a week, so that viewers know when to expect new content.

This article was contributed by Jay Miletsky, the founder and CEO of MyPodStudios. We accept vendor-written articles based upon their usefulness to our readers.

Numbers image via Shutterstock.


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