Increasing visitor engagement is the most popular reason marketers use online video on their sites, according to a new study from TubeMogul, Brightcove, and DynamicLogic.

Close to 80% of marketers using online video on their sites do so to increase visitor engagement, or time spent. This is by far the most popular reason. Another 60% use online video to strengthen their brand, and almost 60% use online video to increase overall visitors (more than one answer was permissable).

 Visitor Engagement Leading Reason for Online Video

No other reason garnered as much as a 40% response rate. Approximately 30% of respondents said they use online video on their sites to increase available ad inventory.

Marketer efforts to boost visitor engagement may be working. During Q1 2010, online video viewers watched an average of 5:55 minutes of video in each session, growing by an average of almost 9.5% per month during the past six months.

The number of videos watched per viewer in a given session averaged 2.82, growing at a pace of about 0.3% per month in the same time period.

Video advertising, both display and pre-roll, leads to purchase intent for 1.4% of all viewers that saw an ad, a number that’s grown for three consecutive quarters and is more effective than other mediums. Rich media and simple flash advertising both lead to purchase intent for less than 1% of all viewers, with rich media improving during 2009 and rich media decreasing in effectiveness last year.

 Visitor Engagement Leading Reason for Online Video

In addition to leading to purchase intent at a higher percentage than rich media or simple flash advertising, video advertising is also substantially better at raising online ad awareness (3.2% compared to 2.4% and 1.8%, respectively).

 Visitor Engagement Leading Reason for Online Video

Video advertising also leads the other two formats in helping brand favorability and brand awareness. Rich media performs slightly better at message association (1%, compared to 0.8% for both video and simple flash).

Although YouTube videos which become viral sensations receive lots of attention, in reality, a combined 56% of YouTube videos get less than 100 unique views (31.5%) or 100-500 unique views (24.5%). Another 10% get 500 to 1,000 unique views.

 Visitor Engagement Leading Reason for Online Video

At the other end of the spectrum, only about 0.4% of unique YouTube videos are viewed more than 1 million times. About 2% are viewed 500,000 to 1 million times, and a little less than 2% get 100,000 to 500,000 unique views.

Other study data indicates that tracking YouTube’s top 100 daily most-viewed videos by content type for a 30-day time period, comparing results to six months ago, shows that although only about 42% of the most popular videos have ads, that number is growing by 0.83% per month and both pirated and user-generated content are down.

Breaking out ad content by type (not counting YouTube’s homepage), about 93.5% of ads are 300×250 display ads. Another 5.5% are pre-roll, and slightly less than 1% are overlay.

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