Video Metrics: A Closer Look At The Latest Data

Marketers and agencies from around the country have recently been exposed to some new findings in the world of video, thanks largely to Nielsen. I recently had the opportunity to hear a fascinating presentation by Mark Hosbein, Nielsen VP, as he shared a series of video-focused stats and observations in a meeting with marketers from the greater Los Angeles area. 

While much of the news here is somewhat intuitive, the scope of these trends weaves an intriguing story, especially for those of us in the business of video.

First, let me share a few of the stats, for those who haven’t seen the latest: It’s pretty common knowledge that we Americans spend a ton of time watching video across our various screens -- 33 hours per week, in fact. And he number of users viewing video on the Internet is up 21.7%, from Q3 2008 to Q3 2011.  Not all that surprising and this might even seem low, if anything.  Meanwhile, the number of people who used time-shifting for watching videos at the times most convenient for them increased by 65.9% during that same period.  But here’s the shocker:  The number of users watching video on mobile devices increased by a whopping 205.7%. On that little screen?



Surprisingly, the time spent on computers watching video is actually on the decrease (Nielsen reported a 7.5% decrease in time spent, year-over-year from Q3 2010 to Q3 2011), as people are preferring to do their video surfing on mobile devices, or on the less-researched but growing tablet devices. Getting detailed tablet research is apparently one of the next items on the plate for our friends at Nielsen.

Bigger picture, a significant takeaway for those of us in the video business is that streaming video is now the second most popular and common activity, trailing only social networking.  Overall, about 14% of Internet usage time is dedicated to streaming video (October 2011 census data).  To put it in some perspective, social networks comprised 21% of all minutes spent in this category.  The streaming videos most people are watching, by a large majority, are TV programming and movies. Entertainment sites are driving the viewing. 

Hosbein’s presentation then led to the inevitable question for marketers and agencies alike: “Are all video gross rating points equal?”  Nielsen would argue that they are and is studying this issue with leaders in the industry. A few key insights here:

  • Online video performed better than TV across every brand metric and for every vertical.
  • A campaign combining online video and TV ads improved recall and likeability for all verticals.

Through a panel comprised of Facebook members (via Facebook’s registry of 150 million+ persons), Nielsen concluded that online video GRPs are consistent with Nielsen TV ratings.  I expect we’ll hear more about this online rating system as Nielsen continues testing and evaluation in the coming months.

Moving forward, we need to keep an eye on the projected meteoric growth of online video viewership, particularly on mobile devices.  I also think we can further expect a continued move towards time-shift video viewing across all devices.  As for the “Are all video GRPs equal?” question, clearly we are getting close to a better understanding of the complexity of rating video performance online, and how it can be compared to the illustrious GRP that has dominated TV understanding and evaluation for years.

This is an exciting and fluid time for all of us in the world of video, so it’s sometimes worthwhile to take a step back to review some third-party data and assess what it could mean to us all.






3 comments about "Video Metrics: A Closer Look At The Latest Data".
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  1. Daryl McNutt from TapClicks, April 10, 2012 at 12:35 p.m.

    Great article. This is a big discussion within the industry. The only thing I would add is comScore needs to be an equal participant. As someone that has done over 1k comScore Campaign Essentials reports and several Nielsen OCR's, it's important to remember these products are projection models and not auditing tools. When Nielsen opens up the MRC audit for standard peer review, we will really start to understand the application of these tools. Keep the conversation going!

  2. Claudio Marcus from FreeWheel, April 10, 2012 at 1:19 p.m.

    While it is certainly true that video viewing on various devices is on the rise, I find it misleading to focus solely on growth, as it comes on top of relatively low prior year levels of viewing. Specially without any discussion of the absolute amount of time spent with each viewing viewing platform, which is also available on the cited Nielsen report (

    When you look at the total monthly time spent with each video viewing medium you see that traditional linear TV still accounts for nearly 147 hours per month, which is roughly equivalent to 70% of all video viewing time across all of the measured video viewing options. It is also notable that monthly viewing of linear TV grew by 25 minutes versus prior year, which in total number of incremental minutes was greater than any other video viewing option.

  3. Augustine Fou from Marketing Science Consulting Group, Inc., April 27, 2012 at 10:26 a.m.

    Claudio, not sure why you keep pounding on the time spent watching TV -- 147 hrs per month. Watching TV doesn't necessarily mean watching TV ads (everyone knows people turn away or do something else when commercials come on). Also, I don't know about you, but I am PISSED OFF that I am forced to spend 25% of my time for every show watching ads. I guess that's why more and more people choose to buy entire seasons of TV shows on DVD, so they can watch a 60 minute episode in 41 mins, or a 30 min show in 22 mins.

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