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Study: Users not as engaged with online video

By Kevin Allen | Posted: February 6, 2017
With such an emphasis on video content creation from news outlets, brands and individual users, could we be facing oversaturation? That’s what the results of a new study from the social analytics outfit Parse.ly suggests.

In an analysis of 700 sites in the Parse.ly network, the organization found that video posts saw 30 percent lower engagement than the average post. This goes against the current narrative that video is the go-to storytelling medium for today and the near future. Still, long-form, short-form and slideshow posts tend to outperform their video counterparts.

The study suggests some reasons for lack of engagement with video posts, including the fact that people seem to dislike autoplay and slow load times.

But perhaps marketers and communicators have been so blinded by bloated video budgets that they’ve overlooked one glaring fact: We’re producing more video than consumers care to consume.

Nearly every time I wind up on a USA Today story, for example, there’s an autoplay video that may or may not pertain to the story I clicked on. And if it does pertain to the stories, the video just gives a few details that you can ascertain from the first three paragraphs, accompanied by some stock imagery. I don’t mean to pick on USA Today, but you can probably picture the meeting where an executive said, “More video!” and the poor multimedia reporter said, “OK. What’s our budget?” to which the executive said, “Next to nothing!”

Think of how the Facebook newsfeed has evolved to rely heavily on native video. Publishers have, at most, five seconds to capture your attention before you scroll to the next thing. It’s no wonder that a NewsWhip study found that Facebook video engagement had dropped sharply last year, with likes falling 55 percent, shares falling 57 percent and comments dropping 64 percent.

I think it’s oversaturation: When everybody’s producing decent video content, it’s tough to find the really good stuff. Perhaps we’ve become complacent enough to accept whatever is published without bothering to question whether it’s truly valuable.

What’s your theory, PR Daily readers: What’s behind the online video paradox? Or have you experienced something different with your brands?

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