By Andrew Angus on February 7, 2013

Here at Switch, we’re all about explainer videos that get results. If your video doesn’t accomplish what you set out to accomplish, then it’s not doing its job.

That’s why we focus on making awesome videos that convey a clear and concise message and that really connect with your audience. That’s also why we share tips about how to get more out of your explainer videos. Why? Because we want to make sure your videos are accomplishing your business’s goals, and that’s what this post is about.

In this post, we’re providing a tip that will help your videos perform better by explaining why two seconds can make a world of difference when it comes to showing videos online.

Why two seconds can make a world of difference

Ramesh K. Sitaraman and S. Shunmuga Krishnan of the University of Massachusetts (Amherst) recently conducted a study where they evaluated 23 million video playbacks from 6.7 million unique viewers with a total of 216 million minutes and 102 thousand videos viewed over 10 days.

Yes, that’s a lot of data. Here’s what they found:

Viewers begin abandoning videos after two seconds of delay.
Every additional one second of delay leads to an increase of 5.8% in abandonment rate.
Viewers who receive a rebuffering delay of 1% of the total video length play 5% less of the video when compared with someone who didn’t experience rebuffering.
Viewers who experience a video failure are 2.32% less likely to revisit a website within a week as someone who did not experience a failure.

As you can see from these numbers, video-streaming quality has a big impact on the viewers’ experience and the likelihood that they’ll finish your video or come back to your site. This is especially important when you invest a hundred or so hours or thousands of dollars in creating an awesome explainer video.

For example, even if you invest $30,000 to create the perfect explainer video that tells people exactly what you do and inspires them to get involved, if there’s a 5-second loading delay, the number of viewers will go down, which means your total conversions will decrease. Fewer viewers means fewer leads and fewer sales. This is particularly problematic when you’ve invested good money in making a video that converts well.

So what should you do? Here are some ways to decrease video-loading times:

Invest in better hosting: One of the first things you can do is make sure that you have super-fast web hosting for your site. The faster the hosting, the quicker your website and videos will load, and the better the experience will be for visitors. You’ll even rank better for search terms because Google gives precedence to sites that load quickly. A Google engineer offered this statement on the topic: “Every millisecond matters.” This is true for the user experience, search engine rankings, and video playback.
Test your website loading speeds: You can use browser add-ons like YSlow! and Google Page Speed to test your site and diagnose how load times can be improved. You can also use WebPageTest.org to conduct similar tests.
Make sure the other page elements load first: Without doing this, the video will cause the site to load slower because everything’s trying to load at the same time. Thus, it’s better to have the video load after the page elements have loaded. You can read this post to learn how to carry this out.
Utilize browser caching: When you leverage browser caching, you decrease the page-load time when people revisit your site by making sure the browser pulls images that are stored in the cache rather than re-downloading them. For example, according to WebPageTest.org, the SwitchVideo.com took 10.389s to pull up the first time, and 4.780s the second time. It looks like we have room to improve our load times, but at least repeat visitors don’t have to wait as long as they did the first time.
Consider outside help: There are a numerous technical considerations when it comes to optimizing for video load speeds; ultimately, we’d recommend leaving this challenge to a professional video platform. These tools make it easy to get the most out of your video investment without outside technical assistance. At Switch Video, we recommend Vidyard to our clients to help with video hosting and deployment.

Following these steps can help you to improve your website and video-loading times. We also recommend talking to your webmaster to find more ways to speed up your site. As the study referenced above shows, this can be critical for increasing the views of the explainer video you’ve so painstakingly produced.

In the fast-paced world we live in, people don’t take the time to sit down and wait. There are so many other sites to browse and other videos to watch that if yours doesn’t load quickly, visitors will move on and do something else. Thus, the faster your video loads, the more likely people are to watch it, and the more likely they are to watch it, the more visitors you’ll convert into leads and sales.

The best way to make sure viewers have a positive experience with both your video and your website is to speed up load times. Remember this: you don’t want to just invest in making an awesome video—you also want to invest to make sure your video loads quickly in order to get the most views.

Sources:
Study: Video Stream Quality Impacts Viewer Behavior, University of Massachusetts (Amherst)
Online viewers ditch slow-loading videos after 2 seconds, CNN.com
How to Fix Video Slowing Down Your Page Load Time, CSS-Tricks.com
How to Speed Up Website Load Time, BlueFountainMedia.com
15 Tips to Speed Up Your Website, SEOmoz

 

 

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