FEATURE15 May 2015

Pressing play with the cross-platform viewer


Online video views have risen by an astonishing 532% worldwide over the past two years.* Mobile viewing drove a significant portion of that growth, as smartphones and tablets are quickly becoming the ‘first screen’ for many online video viewers.


In the industry’s scramble to devise mobile first strategies that incorporate more video content, the consumer’s preferences and expectations for mobile video are now more important than ever. In a new study by FocusVision and AOL, researchers set out to understand how this quick acceleration of mobile online viewing has affected survey research while also determining the keys to optimising the mobile experience from the consumer’s perspective.

Mobile videos are increasingly a part of online surveys so that they can be studied, but also because mobile users are a growing part of the survey-taking population. The implications are critical for publishers and brand marketers who must build engaging video content and ads.

The research

We interviewed 1,350 online video viewers ages 13-54 to examine how survey engagement and participation varied over different cross-platform video treatments. Questions explored include:

  • How does video length impact consumer experience and survey engagement metrics, across different devices?
  • Is there a mobile video adoption curve?
  • How does the consumer’s experience with the video ad content impact brand metrics?

The results

Ultimately, the research was designed to provide guidance about how to incorporate mobile video into cross-platform strategies. Through an in-depth look at the consumer’s experience with mobile video, the study was able to identify best practices for reaching and engaging an increasingly mobile video-viewing audience. The results of the research were recently published in a white paper by FocusVision and AOL: Survey Design for Mobile Video. This paper included key insights for researchers looking to conduct video research on mobile devices.

One of the experiments conducted was structured to help researchers understand the upper limit of video length that respondents would watch. The study explored abandon rates for a three-, 13- and 20-minute video. For the shortest video, completion was high and comparable across all devices (mobile, tablet, PC). In fact, for the three-minute video, three out of four mobile respondents voluntarily finished watching. The 20-minute option clearly showed length has a significant impact on completion, as less than 34% of mobile viewers finished watching the longer video.

To further explore this phenomenon, half of the sample were told the length of the video before they began viewing. This mostly affected completion rates for the long video, with the effects most pronounced for those taking the survey on a mobile device. Clueing mobile users ahead of time about a long video length caused 20% more of the survey takers to drop out of the survey. However, even though length disclosure may increase respondent dropout, we found it may have the benefit of a more engaged survey sample.

Finally, we found little difference in video enjoyment ratings between PC and mobile users. Video length was also not a factor. Rather, likeability of the video content itself had more impact on the overall survey experience and brand engagement. Here, we simply reinforce the notion that respondent engagement and therefore good, accurate data is less related to length (whether it’s the length of the survey or the video) than content.

Aaron Jue is director of Market Research at FocusVision


* Source: Ooyala’s Q1 2014 Global Video Index