Despacito” became the most watched video in the history of YouTube. At the time of this article, the music video for “Despacito” has over 3.450 billion views on YouTube.

It took just seven months for the hit song from Luis Fonsi to unseat the reigning champ of most-watched YouTube videos…which was also a music video.

According to ye olde Wikipedia, of the top 80 most-watched videos on YouTube, only three are not music videos. The exception videos? Content for children (if you have seven minutes, might we recommend losing yourself in a quick culinary adventure with Masha and the Bear?).

What’s the point of this billions-of-views content showcase?

Well, everyone’s trying to make videos that get watched these days. With an overwhelming amount of content being uploaded all the time, how can you ensure your video actually gets watched? What’s the recipe for a good video?

YouTube, unfortunately, doesn’t offer many answers. It’s no coincidence that the videos dominating the charts are for mega-hit songs.

Lucky for us, all hope is not lost.

See, video marketers love to break down video performance.

We might not be able to unlock the secret behind the explosive success of “Despacito” (too much power for mortals, anyway), but at least we can dive into some video consumption STATISTICS!

Let’s put on our lab coats, grab a couple vials of mad science, and see if we can’t Rick-and-Morty our way to a formula for the “statistically best” video.*

Timing–How Long Should Your Video Be?

Our friends over at Vidyard recently put out a 2017 Benchmark Report for Video in Business, and it’s got some juicy figures to bite into.

It turns out that keeping things short and sweet is still the way to go. A day may come when the pendulum of timing preference swings back to the side of long-form video… That day is not yet here.

Videos lasting less than 90 seconds are best for holding viewership. For videos in the 0-90 second range, 87% of the audience is held (on average) for the first 10% of the video. At 90% of the way through the video, the average percentage of viewers drops to 62%. A loyal 53% of people make it to the end of the video.

Ok, so…53%. Is the digital theater “half full” or “half empty” here?

Short answer: half full. But to show you just how strong that number is, we need some context.

Videos in the 90-300 second range maintain an average of 77% of their audience 10% of the way into the video. At the 90% mark, only 48% of the audience remains. By the end of the video, just 37% of the audience is still watching.

It can always get worse: Videos over 30 minutes long keep a mere 10% of their audience until the end.

Even the best-performing long videos are outperformed by shorter videos.The proof is in the pudding (Unlike web videos, pudding is something that we all wish would last longer).

The Takeaway: Statistics say <90 seconds is still the sweet spot for video length. For your statistically best chance at retaining the most viewers, aim for a video length of 90 seconds or less.

Screen of Choice–What Device are Viewers Watching From?

The Benchmark Report from Vidyard says that 86% of business-related video consumption takes place on a desktop browser. A desktop! That leaves only 14% for mobile consumption (non-business related is a different story).

The Takeaway: We aren’t going to tell you to ignore mobile. That’ll come back to bite you in the long run. But don’t cater to mobile at the expense of doing something special for desktop viewers. Whether it’s formatting or audio or what have you, stats say design your business video for desktop first. For now, optimize for some big screen viewing.

Bonus Fact: Over half of the viewers use chrome as their browser (53%).

Timing Counts–When are Videos Being Watched?

Here’s the scoop from the Benchmark Report: Most videos are watched on Wednesdays. And on most weekdays (Wednesday especially), most videos are watched from 7 AM to 11 AM PST.

But while 18% of all videos are watched on Wednesdays, Tuesdays and Thursdays both receive 17% of the week’s share. Mondays and Fridays receive 16% each. Saturday and Sunday combined receive 17%.

The Takeaway: You could try casting a wide net at a busy time. Or if everyone else (or just *cough cough* your competitors) is casting nets during the week, the weekend might be your chance to have the watering hole all to yourself.

When you release isn’t as important as what you release, but that doesn’t mean there’s no value in being more thoughtful with your release timing.

“Whatcha’ Watchin?”–What Kinds of Videos are Being Made and Watched?

We know music videos on YouTube are played billions of times…but are those videos being watched billions of times? Not necessarily. I can say 100% anecdotally (sounds like a big no-no in the world of stats) that, although I listen to the same songs over and over on YouTube, I rarely watch the video content more than once (if at all).

The Benchmark Report doesn’t tell us which type of video gets the most views. However, it does tell us the four most common videos being made by businesses. They are:

  • Explainers
  • Product Demos
  • How-Tos
  • Testimonials

This data puts us in a conundrum, much like we faced above with release timing–On the one hand, it’s harder to stand out if you’re doing the same kind of videos that everyone else is doing. On the other hand, there’s a reason that businesses are making these kinds of videos: they work.

The Takeaway: People like to see how products and services work, and they like to hear that these products and services have worked for others. Our advice: give the good people what they want!

Bonus fact: When a video is personalized, viewership increases an average of 35%over non-personalized videos. Personalization isn’t always an option, especially for evergreen content. But, if you can personalize a video, the stats say it will pay off.

How are Businesses Making Videos?

Video has become such a marketing staple in recent years that 85% of businessesmaking video have developed some kind of in-house team.

Even though it’s popular, Internal visual asset generation isn’t a necessity. Even in-house teams can be overbooked. For those of you without internal video production resources, there’s always video studios.

The Takeaway: Outsource what you can’t do yourself! Hiring professionals is an investment, but it’s worth it (especially when you consider the time and headaches you’ll save).

The Sendoff

*Of course, when it comes to entertainment and holding attention, science isn’t always the best answer (any biology teacher who’s had to teach a first period high school class can attest to this).

But, statistics and data can give us some important insights. Certain video lengths, formats, video types, and even release times can affect the number of viewers you catch and how long you keep them. If you’re stuck, change one of these elements. Analyze the results. See what makes a difference to your target market.

Heck, maybe our next blog will be analyzing your latest viral video.

If you are looking to do a video, whether it’s for your own company or a client, Epic Dog Studios can help. Drop us a line and we can talk turkey about your next project (and this talk would be totally free!).

Elliott Regan

Plain ol’ Elliott Regan is a psychology fan, a writing man, and a member of a rock n’ roll ban…d. A triple threat in the loosest sense of the phrase, he likes to write about what makes people tick and what makes their screens flick. Apparently, he has a thing for rhymes. He’s ghosted pieces for a best-selling author whose byline appears in top-tier publications–but that’s a story he’ll only tell ‘round the campfire…

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