Thursday, December 03, 2009

Is Longer Better?

Once again this week, Visible Measures listed the ten most viral videos.

The shortest video was one minute in length. The longest video was 7 minutes and thirty seconds in length.

The amount of viral video views was impressive. The most watched piece, for a brand called Muscle Milk, received 3,043,735 viral views. At number ten, with 422,329 viral views, was a spot for Frito Lay. The Muscle Milk piece ran 2 minutes and 40 seconds. The Frito Lay spot ran 3 minutes and 40 seconds.

There wasn’t a fifteen-second spot in the top ten. There wasn’t a thirty-second spot in the top ten. Obviously there wasn’t a pre-roll spot in the top ten. It’s difficult, if not damn near impossible to forward a pre-roll spot.

And yet, still, all we hear is that attention spans are shorter online. That people won’t watch anything over fifteen seconds. Of course, the people that are saying this are those people that sell pre-roll spots.

The fact is, if the content is of interest, people will watch. Visible Measures is proving this week after week. What’s more, if viewers like it, they’ll share it with their friends. Who, will also watch, since the spot was forwarded to them from somebody they trust.

So here’s the question. Would you, as a marketer, rather have 10 million, fifteen second pre-roll impressions? Or, 3,043,735 viral video views?

If impressions are your goal, then the answer is easy.

But are impressions really the goal online? Or, is the goal to increase the amount of time spent with the brand?

If it is the latter, then 10 million impressions at fifteen seconds each would garner 1,500,000 seconds of time spent with the brand.

Now compare that to 3 million impressions of 2 minutes and 40 seconds each – 480,000,000 seconds of time spent with the brand.

Which is why it seems to me that marketers should be focusing on two things. Buying less pre-roll. And creating great content.

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