Numbers to watch: Analyzing video viewership and page engagement

Consumption of news video is on the rise, both in terms of the percentage of news consumers who watch and the amount of time they spend watching. This statistic appears to line up with another insight: three times as many pages now feature a video as compared to 2015. But in some parts of the world, more video does not necessarily equal more video engagement.

Getting the most out of your video viewership isn’t merely about more content, but, as always, understanding audience identities and behaviors. Do you know who your video audience is? Are they loyal and engaged? Using data from video viewers across the Chartbeat network, we’ve broken down the state of news video consumption and identified some opportunities to take advantage of as you get to know your viewing audience.

Video by the numbers

We analyzed video and page engagement across a sample of more than 50 global sites over a four week period to understand the current state of viewership. Here’s what we found:

From these numbers it’s clear that the majority of website visitors will watch at least one video, but it’s also worth noting that there’s a steep drop off from the 77% of visitors who watch 1-2 videos to the 14% watching 3-5. Even smaller is the number of power watchers who consume more than 15 videos in a visit.

As we go a layer deeper into regional trends, we start to see why one video strategy won’t work for every publisher. For example, while sites in the Asia/Pacific region have the highest percentage of pages with video content, Latin American viewers spend 63% more time actively watching a given video. With video on only 6.5% of pages, LATAM publishers are seeing an average engaged time of 01:14 while the Asia Pacific region only gets 00:46 of engaged time per video despite having video on 28% of pages. Volume alone, with video as with text, does not increase engaged time.

Video consumption and loyalty

Though it isn’t easy to graduate visitors from 1-2 videos per visit to higher tiers, our data shows it’s worth investing in tactics that encourage video consumption from the very first visit. New visitors who watched at least 3-4 videos in their first 24 hours on a site were significantly more likely to return within the next 7 days than those who looked at a large number of pages in the same time period. Complementing traditional story layouts with the addition of video content looks to be stickier than text alone when it comes to turning new visitors into loyal returnees.

Video consumption and engagement

Our research has previously shown that visitors won’t stick around for long if they’re not engaged, so we also measured video’s effect on Average Engaged Time. We found that visitors who watched video content engaged with a page for 1.5-2x longer than visitors who did not watch any video at all. When evaluating engagement regionally, Latin America recorded both the highest engaged time on pages with videos and the lowest engaged time on pages without video. North America had the highest engaged time on pages with just text at 00:25.

To answer the question of how video engagement affects a visitor’s interaction with the rest of the page, we look to scroll depth, a measurement of the amount of a page’s content that the visitor has seen. On average, visitors scrolled 33% further on pages where video content was viewed, indicating that video viewership also increases engagement with text content. By the numbers:

  • 2,312 pixels scrolled on pages without video
  • 3,095 pixels scrolled on pages with video

Leveraging the data to grow video engagement

Our key takeaways from this recent analysis of video viewership and page engagement include:

It starts with the first video

Increasing the percentage of site visitors who watch even a single video is a great place to start revamping your video strategy as this can increase engagement by up to 2X.

Video increases engagement with text

Video and text go hand in hand. Visitors who watch video content end up engaging with the page for 1.5-2x longer than visitors who do not watch any video at all and they’re far more likely to return than those who visit pages with only text.

Customize the experience to convert casual viewers

Encouraging casual viewers to convert into loyal visitors can be done through user experiences that facilitate subsequent views. One way to do this is by customizing content depending on the device used to view it.

Data and experimentation will reveal your best video strategy

Using data to experiment with video can help validate the best strategy for your region. Determine the top performing video content based on metrics like Total Engaged Minutes as well as number of starts versus ad drop-off rate. Experiment with placement on high-performing pages to optimize for viewership, and don’t be afraid to pair or replace older videos with more recent content.

Interested in loyalty and engagement insights that can improve your viewership goals? Get a free demo of Chartbeat.

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