So the holiday weekend is over, we’re all climbing out of food comas, lathering up skin lotion from too much sun and generally getting back into the groove. We’re still free, we partied like it and now we’ve all got to pay. Luckily, I refrained from too much and so am actually in better shape than prior to the holiday. What has that got to do with online video? Not much, except that I probably dropped 15-30 minutes of mobile video footage to my social networks this weekend, and that my friends is what we call a segue.

Two years ago, Yahoo!, who was then a major player in online video but has since tumbled off the major charts for video (and closed their own attempts), put out a report about the online video revolution. Two years on, it seems we’re still fighting that same revolution, while Yahoo had all but given up apparently. But they did return to the research and get a snapshot of what’s changed over the course of this revolution.

The Methodology

Because you know I’m probably going to tear apart their results (as that is my bailiwick), I thought we would start with how they got them first.

Yahoo! partnered with Interpret to survey more than 4,100 online video viewers about their last viewing experience in the past 24 hours. To ensure accurate representation of online video usage as it compares to traditional television, we used last occasion coincidental methodology, a common practice in TV advertising research but unique in online video.

The “last occasion coincidental methodology” means they asked the participants to only talk about their last video experience. This is supposed to get a gauge of how engaged the viewers were I guess (they didn’t really explain it all that well and there’s little online about it. I suppose if I were a TV ad guy I would know all about it…maybe I just need to watch more Mad Men).

Aside from the actual methodology, the number of viewers, 4,100 isn’t all that large so with an estimated US viewing audience of 178 million, that’s a margin of error of approximately 1.53%–though if they had doubled the sample size, the margin of error would have only dropped to around 1% anyway.

Now remember, they polled online video viewers so this isn’t about how many new viewers there are, it’s just a look at the shifting behaviors of viewers online.

The Big Stuff

So with their methodology and sample group they found out that short clips are dipping, full-length TV and films are growing and some other major trends have emerged.

The Long and Short of it

There was a 10 point shift away from short clips into TV and Movies online. That’s a pretty big move in just two years and if that were to continue, within five years long-form online video will be more than 50% of all online video viewed. Seven percent of people shifted into full-length TV online. Then again, how many TV shows had full episodes online two years ago? This could possibly even accelerate over the next few years if TV gets head-from-arse and puts more online so we can see it.

So I think this was actually a combination of factors. Not only more people watching video online, but more content being online. I wish someone would do a “how much illegal video have you watched online lately,” research. I think that would be pretty interesting.

Daily viewing was also up 33% from the previous study with a nice 57% of participants watching a video.

Prime time is Prime again

In the last research there was a big dip in the evenings starting around 6pm and ending around 9pm. Presumably that was the eat-dinner-in-front-of-the-TV and the watch-new-TV-first-run effects having their toll on viewing of online video. But now, that’s not such the case as there was a pretty massive upward movement in viewing. In fact, more people now watch video during that three hour period than ever before. This also seems to have lowered the ‘at work’ viewing, or at least the viewing during those 9-5 hours as it all dropped off a bit. How much of a change was there in evening prime time? Something like 30-35% which we can call the HuluFlix Effect.

Sure there are some other services like Best Buy Cinema Now, VUDU, VEVO and different content now on YouTube which might have also impacted these numbers, but Netflix and Hulu probably are the majority.

You vs. Them vs. Us vs. Professionals

This was interesting, and a strange way to phrase a question in research I thought. They asked people about ads, based on whether they were made by professionals or ‘people like me,’ which makes me skeptical of these numbers.

The majority of these results seem to say that if you want to do video online and have it be successful, you can’t do it alone, so go pay gobs of money to a company to make your creative. Personally, I think it’s a bit skewed.

Now, there is an ad on Hulu that drives me mad because the chicks on it, while cute, act like they’re doing an SNL skit…and the video resolution is so low that it looks pixelated even on my netbook. I don’t know that it is a pro vs. amateur thing as much as it is a re-purposing of content in a poor way thing. Plus honestly, are ads ever really relevant to what you’re watching? Let alone being relevant to me. No matter what the hell I tell Hulu, they keep showing me that stupid ad. Hey, I get it! The damn sea turtles are in trouble! Stop showing me the bloody advert like I asked you to.

How’s that for some bloody brand recall? You know what I do now when you show me ads, Hulu? I flip over to another browser window and surf… yes, even on my netbook, because you can’t seem to sort your ads out when I tell you I don’t want to see those particular ads.

Now, I might be a special case, as I’m both acutely aware of the ads (due to my writing here) and despise them because I paid for Hulu Plus (which is going to definitely be a tax write off this year, for me, not them).

Mix and Match Media

Here’s something that I really like because I’ve been doing it over at GDN a lot lately. Mixing in video with my news and game reviews. I figure, we’ve got the bandwidth, we write about video games, so we should have some video, right? Plus, I just got a kick-ass new video service with Playwire and their Bolt player (Hi Michelle!). I’ll be writing about that service in the down the road a bit.

Well, mixing video with news seems to perhaps be one of the reasons for our recent success, since 57% of participants in this study say that video inline with text rocks. Well, not really quite like that, they said they really enjoyed it.

Generally at Gamers Daily News the ads are YouTube embeds that are sent from the game publishers but on our reviews it’s our own productions and hosting. I like that it says 61% are more likely to think of the site (or is it video?) as professional.

The Take Away

They included this list of marketing implications at the end of the research:

  • Online Prime Time.  With the meteoric rise of online video viewership between 6pm to 9pm, online video is becoming a viable opportunity to connect with consumers during prime time. Capitalize on this trend by integrating TV and online video advertising. (which ReelSEO has been preaching for how long now?)
  • Happen Upon Your Consumer.  While appointment viewing is more prominent for long form content, short form content is an integral part of consumers’ every day online experience – leading to more opportunities for advertisers. (er, what?)
  • Get Shorty, but Professional.  Leverage professionally-produced short video series on large video sites and content providers. (I will get back to this another day)
  • Advertise on the “Right Content.”  Consumers react significantly more positively to ads placed next to professional content, so make sure you know which content will be aligned with your ads. (duh!)
  • Social is About Short Clips I Didn’t Make.  Plan media buys next to content that is shared most often – mainly professional short clips like music, entertainment, or news clips. Achieve advertising  “viralocity” by investing in great creative that aligns with content consumers want to share.

Ha! Viralocity!

That whole ‘put ads on content that is relevant’ is just common sense right? I mean if you’re watching, let’s say a show about Chicago police (which, after catching up on the whole first season you realized was already canceled because FOX executives are [email protected]&#*), you don’t want an ad about sea turtles…do you? Sure, my brand recall is high on it, but my perception in general of the place is pretty low.

Now if you were, say, watching a video game review video, and someone were to show an ad about a similar game, well that’s just peachy keen, now isn’t it, jelly bean? It would work for me, well probably not as I’d be surfing in another window anyway. Then again, that video game review video is short-form anyway as we try to keep it to 3-4 minutes so we try not to show too many ads on them.

Kung Pao! I’m out!