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Viewers say 'You have our undivided attention'

By Rick Silvestrini

Product Marketing Manager

How much television did you watch yesterday? A half hour? Three? If you're anything like the average American, you watched for five hours (according to a Nielsen study). Five. Hours. For some, that's 30% of your waking day. In truth, 'watching' is a relative term. TV often provides background noise in many households, and people are rarely focused on the content alone.

Contrast that to watching YouTube or other online video, and, as an advertiser, you might think twice about where your ad dollars are best invested. You want your money where viewers are engaged. A new study that Google conducted with Next New Networks and Magid revealed that viewers of web original content (think Funny Or Die, Machinima, or Key of Awesome) are 2.5 times more likely to pay full attention to online video than they are to pay full attention to the TV show they are watching. Advertising Age discussed the research in-depth last Friday.

This type of engagement makes sense, when you consider the very social and viral nature of web original content.  Let's say a friend emails you a link to something they found funny. Or you wonder if 'The Social Network' is going to live up to the hype. With web originals, you're in control of the content, and it takes a fresher, more topical format than mainstream TV. It is also a lot easier to devote your full attention to a 3 minute video than a 30 minute show. When people are engaged, they can also be educated, informed, and persuaded. They are also likely to share content with their friends. 23% of the YouTube sample said they go on to email video links to friends or post links to Facebook or MySpace. This is the new definition of word of mouth.

Similarly, when it comes to video advertising associated with web original video versus TV, web original viewing proves to be advantageous in several areas. Web original viewers are less likely to:

  • Fast forward through ads (compared to those who watch TV shows using a DVR)
  • Talk to other people
  • Browse the Internet while watching 
  • Do things around the house

Furthermore, the study indicated that significant proportions of web original video viewers take advantage of the medium's interactive elements:

  • More than half read comments posted by others
  • Nearly half rate the videos
  • Four in ten share the videos with others
  • Three-quarters say they use some means to tell others about their favorite Web original videos, with significant proportions using email, social networking sites, and conversation

If you're interested in more points of the study, check out Next New Network's release. This is further evidence that, on YouTube, you have the audience’s attention. What you say to them is up to you..