During the fourth quarter, brands saw average video viewing time double to just over two minutes, as the overall number of views also doubled. This suggests marketers are improving the quality of their content and connecting with receptive audiences, according to the latest quarterly study from Web video ad and analytics firm TubeMogul and video provider Brightcove.
The jump in engagement could also reflect a seasonal bounce as people watched product demo videos more in connection with holiday buying. Among other key findings, broadcasters led in total minutes streamed last year, with 1.7 billion, as well as in average minutes per view.
Newspaper sites finished the year second in total minutes streamed, followed by magazine sites and online media. But newspapers had the highest number of player loads (giving a user the opportunity to view a video), indicating that newspapers have video players across more pages and more total page views than other media categories.
Newspapers also continued to upload new videos at a growing pace, posting 1.2 million titles in the fourth quarter -- triple the number in the prior quarter.
The study found that usage rates overall increased quarter-to-quarter, with audiences watching online video longer and completion rates moving higher (up 5.7%). Broadcasters and online media had the highest completion rates in the fourth quarter, with both pushing past 50% -- the first time any categories have achieved that level. A Nielsen report last week found that time spent watching video last year climbed 45%.
As a video referral source, Twitter and Facebook accounted for the highest engagement rates (as measured in minutes viewed) across all categories. Brands, however, saw the longest viewing times with referrals from Yahoo at 2:30, as compared to the two social sites, Google and Bing. Facebook was responsible for one in 10 referred video views, second only to Google as a referral source.
Facebook's referral traffic increased 11% in the fourth quarter, while Google's was roughly flat, Yahoo's dropped 6%, Bing's went up 4% and Twitter's dipped 2%. The TubeMogul/Brightcove report attributed Facebook's uptick to growing support on the site for embedded video that plays in-stream, allowing for contextual viewing without requiring any redirect of traffic.