When using videos to promote your company and its products or services, you should pay close attention to average viewing time or view duration. Videos with a high average view duration typically outperform those with a low average watch time. Unless you’re familiar with this metric, though, you might be wondering why it’s so important. To learn more about average watch time and the role it plays in video marketing, keep reading.
What Is Average View Duration?
As the name suggests, average view duration is a video marketing metric that reveals how long a typical viewer spends watching a video. Not all viewers watch your videos until completion. Some may stop watching them three-quarters, whereas others may stop watching them halfway through. Average view duration reflects the average amount of time viewers spend watching a video.
Average View Duration Reflects Viewer Engagement
By tracking the average view duration of your videos, you’ll have a better understanding of their respective viewer engagement levels. The amount of time a viewer spends watching a video reveals his or her level of engagement with that video.
If a viewer isn’t interested in a video, it’s unlikely he or she will watch it until completion. Instead, the viewer will abandon the video, resulting in a lower average view duration. If a viewer is interested in a video, on the other hand, there’s a good chance he or she will watch all or most of it, resulting in a higher average view duration.
Whether you’re trying to sell a product, sell a service or simply achieve greater brand recognition with a particular video, tracking its average view duration can help. If the video has a low average view duration, it means viewers are disengaged. You should respond by tweaking and optimizing the video so that it compels viewers to watch it until completion.
Average View Duration Affects Search Rankings
Average view duration can affect the search rankings of your videos. YouTube, Google, Bing, Facebook and other platforms use average view duration as a ranking signal. If a video has a high average view duration, these platforms will likely rank it higher in the search results for relevant queries than similar videos with a low average view duration.
Why do these video platforms use average view duration as a ranking signal? Well, as previously mentioned, this video marketing metric reveals viewer engagement. And because video platforms, as well as search engines, strive to provide their users with the highest-quality, most engaging content, they usually rank videos with a high average view duration at the top of the search results.
How to Track Average View Duration in YouTube
For videos uploaded to YouTube, you can track average view duration by running a Watch Time report. While logged in to the Google account associated with your company’s YouTube account, click this link.
Keep in mind, the “watch time” metric displayed at the top of the YouTube page isn’t the same as average view duration. Watch time shows the total amount of time viewers spend watching your videos, whereas average view duration shows the average amount of time they spend watching your videos. To track average view duration in YouTube, you must click the “Engagement” tab at the top of the page, at which point you’ll see “Average View Duration.”
For videos uploaded to Facebook, you can track average view duration using the audience retention graph. On this graph, you’ll see average view duration displayed in the top-right corner. Facebook defines “average view duration” as the total amount of time viewers spend watching a video divided by the total number of plays the video has received.
Research shows the average view duration of videos uploaded to Facebook is roughly 18 seconds. Considering that the average length of a Facebook video is 55 seconds, that means viewers only watch about one-third of a typical video on the social media network. For YouTube, average view duration is a little higher, with researching showing that most videos on the Google platform have an average view duration of about 50% to 60% of their length.
Don’t Overlook Other Performance Metrics
While undoubtedly important, there are other video marketing metrics you should track besides average view duration. Impressions click-through rate (CTR), for example, shows how many YouTube users clicked your video’s thumbnail. If a video’s thumbnail generated 1,000 impressions and attracted 100 clicks, its impressions CTR would be 10%.
Of course, you should also track the total number of views your videos generate. A video isn’t going to yield any tangible results for your company unless it’s watched by viewers. By tracking the total number of views, you’ll know exactly how many viewers watched at least some of a video.
Regardless of what type of video you create and promote, you should track its average view duration. Allowing this video marketing metric to go unnoticed will only hinder your ability to create effective videos that drive results for your company.