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YouTube Video Views Decrease as the Focus Turns to Engagement

John Waghorn

by John Waghorn on 1st June 2012

Social video sharing and promoting site YouTube has introduced a new metric to determine which videos are brought to the forefront of their pages as video views are on the decrease.

YouTube’s video views have declined 28% since December 2011 according to figures from ComScore (see image below); and what’s more interesting is the fact that views during March 2012, compared to the same month in the previous year, are only marginally greater. Some people might be surprised hearing this considering that the site’s popularity has increased dramatically since its inception six years ago in May 2005.

Yet this data is no cause for concern, and rather a planned outcome as the site is now using a different metric to measure how popular videos are on their platform. Engagement is now far more relevant than just clicks.

YouTube has come a long way in those six years, as a large sum of money has been invested in creating an established content channel which today is used by thousands of people all over the world. It is true to say then that results have certainly been achieved, but now they are making a dedicated shift by steering away from sending the viewer to a video of a sneezing panda, albeit worth a watch, and instead to more engaging, longer videos. The idea behind the move you ask? Well it’s pretty obvious, they want viewers to watch more content instead of just clicking on videos.

Clicks previously determined popularity and in one respect, depending on your preferences, the quality of a video and whether it’s worth a watch. This meant that over time, YouTube was able to use its accumulated data on clicks to suggest similar recommendations so that viewers would then click through to other content. In this model, if the video was watched for 30 seconds it would count as a ‘view’; under the new metric, tracking will monitor a longer time period of video content in order for the view to be valid.

So it’s hardly surprising that as engagement, the length of time watching videos and accuracy of returned result increases, the overall views have slipped slightly . As views have decreased, users are spending more time actually watching content – 61 billion minutes during March 2012 according to ComScore. In contrast to views, this figure has increased on the previous year by 57%.

With all of this in mind it’s now more important for companies wishing to use YouTube to provide content that will keep their customers more engaged and connected with what they are offering. Uploading worthwhile, relevant and engaging content is now more important than it has ever been. Not to say that companies haven’t been doing this to start with, as they should always  steer away from promoting poor quality videos, but being more creative and consistent in their efforts to promote their services will now have greater impact.

With more customer engagement, videos will gain greater attention on YouTube and potentially in the search engines. This has a knock-on effect for your company’s branding too as you can gain more recognition through the ability to use YouTube as a platform to share your brand’s products and values whilst keeping viewers coming back to your channel.

Advertisers will also notice the opportunity to show their ads through short breaks that feature in between longer videos. As viewers are potentially more engaged there is a greater chance of them being more receptive to the adverts that are being shown, a mind-set that is taken by Media Evangelist for ComScore Eli Goodman who says “The effectiveness of advertising is enhanced when someone is in an engaged state.”

As YouTube can now be viewed on smartphones, tablets, televisions and apps, its video content can be accessible in a range of locations on different platforms – all the more reason to start getting creative with the content you are producing for your customers. This should be your main focus us YouTube aims to improve their viewers user experience.

John Waghorn

John Waghorn

John works as a Content Marketing Executive at Koozai. With previous experience in PR, he helps the team by writing a range of client content including press releases, guest blog posts and website copy. He is also a regular contributor to the Koozai blog.

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