YouTube, SEO & Other Video Data

My email and LinkedIn group inboxes are constantly flooded with the latest information concerning every aspect of video. While often the information falls into the common sense category, sometimes I see data that piques my interest. Two such summaries came across my screen this week, one focused on YouTube’s algorithm for ranking video and the other containing an infographic with more off-beat statistics concerning the use of video by marketers and advertisers.

Several months ago the Official Youtube Content Partners and Creators blog announced that it would rank videos based on the extent to which viewers actually watch them rather than simply the number of clicks any given video receives. The blog noted that the company wants to “reward engaging videos that keep viewers watching.” This approach is consistent with the SEO focus of Google (which owns Youtube) on substantive content on websites.

This information interlaces with the infographic, posted by Larry Thomas on the Latergy Social Video Channel. According to a recent study by videoexplainers published by visual.ly, videos that are over one minute in length produce more click-through rates than shorter videos, except for videos that are 15 seconds or less. Videos that fall into the category of 16 to 60 seconds in length are 41% less effective than videos that are over a minute.

So putting these pieces of information together: Though it is commonplace today to lament the lack of attention span across wide swathes of the population, it seems that many folks out there are actually interested in more substantive content and are watching it in video form — and Google/Youtube is rewarding those producers.

My advice: Short sound bite videos (particularly those under 15 seconds) containing clear, articulated information are impactful (153% more effective in terms of click-through rates than videos between 16-60 seconds, according to the infographic) and should be included – in multiples – as part of an online video strategy. But they should be anchored to longer, content-filled videos. Of course, “longer” is a relative word, and it does not have the same meaning as “long.” An examination last year of Youtube codes seeking the length of the top 950 viewed videos on Youtube determined that the ideal length in terms of audience engagement (other than for music videos) is 2.5 minutes. That sounds about right to me. If the content is interesting, I think it is okay to stretch the timeline a bit. If there is more to say after that, it is, in my opinion, time for another video.

Two other interesting statistics that came out of the infographic:

  1. 4 in 10 social videos are humorous and viewers of those videos are more than three times as likely to click to a brand’s Facebook page than viewers of non-humorous videos.
  2. Celebrity videos drive 12% fewer visits to brands’ Facebook pages than non-celebrity videos.

My takeaways? Comedy over celebrities, and make sure your video budgets reflect the outcomes you are seeking.

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