A New Study of Video Viewing by Tablet, Smartphone Users
Mefeedia.com, the video search site that aggregates material from YouTube, Vimeo, Blip, the broadcast networks and something like 20,000 other places, has just finished research that shows what you might have expected anyway: Owners of tablets are great viewers of videos available from dedicated apps.
According to Mefeedia data, an iPad user will view 7.1 videos per session via an app (and 5.69 for Android table owners). Neither figure is probably hard to believe when you think about your own personal use of the tablet.
But the number, to my mind, doesn’t decrease much when the size of the screen does. The study says iPhone users view 6.24 videos per session; Android phone users reduce that down to 3.69. Windows 8 users view 3.8 per session.
“We aggregate so much material from all over the Web we thought we had a good feeling of the pulse of how people are using mobile and the tablet,” says Frank C. Sinton III, the CEO. “When the iPad first game out, we just looked at where video was going. Just watching how my kids were watching video on the iPad furiously all the time and we saw the trend definitely going to, you know, video everywhere basically.”
(His kids, by the way, are 3, 6 and 9 and together they have downloaded 150 games off of the family iPad. Sinton’s not only amazed they were able to do that without instruction whatsoever.)
Engagement is the word now. “So we wondered before we did this survey what was the most obvious engagement data we could get,” Sinton explains, “and obviously, it was the number of videos watched per session in apps.”
Mefeedia has reason to be interested because it has a new native app video platform, called Beachfront Builder, used by publishers and creators, that will reformat content to fit the demands of whatever device the viewer is using.
That’s a solution Sinton thinks should be enticing to publishers and mid-tier networks that don’t have the high-six figures bankroll needed to build apps that sync up with every kind of media device. Beachfront Builder would fill that gap.
That kind of app flexibility helps advertisers, Sinton thinks, because it allows them to fit the message to the device. The smartphone user is (presumably) in a more lean-forward mode, ready to buy or travel impulsively. A tablet owner is closer to the lean-back mode of TV, just taking in the info, shopping for clothes, not for a movie to see in the next half hour .
“Advertisers know that too,” Sinton says. “They know if you want to get the moms, advertise on iPad. For younger or teenage kids, it’s all about the phone.” (Though he adds, “Not like there’s a lot of conclusive data on that, but that’s what a lot of the big brand advertisers are doing, and shifting their money accordingly.”)
There’s confusion about how far advertisers should push on any of the screens. “It’s probably because of all the different formats and the different screen sizes,” Sinton believes. “And advertisers want to see how people are really interacting with ads on the iPhone. Obviously they want their ads to be noticed, but you don’t want to be highly interruptive all the time, or else people will get pissed.”
Like a lot of others in the online video biz, Sinton firmly believes what’s going on now is a gap between what advertisers know and believe and what they can act on. It took years for the Internet advertising business to get a place at the table on Madison Avenue.