Minneapolis-based agency Solve embarked upon an experiment asking "What it we posted a blank video on YouTube -- would anyone watch?" And by blank they mean no content, not title, no description.
Did people watch? Oh yes, they did. Over 100,000 people have watched the video since it launched back in November of 2014. While the video now carries the title "The Blank Video
Project," all it contained when it launched was a link to the agency's website.
Solve promoted the video with instream advertising on YouTube and was charged if the viewer watched for 30
seconds or longer. The ad promoting the video was served 227,819 times at an expenditure of $1,400 yielding a cost per view of 1.4 cents. Forty-six percent of viewers clicked and watched for at least
30 seconds. Miraculously, 22 percent of viewers watched all the way until the end. The video garnered no likes or shares.
Of the findings and the notion that many simply let the video
play in the background or started it by mistake, Solve CEO John
: "Among many marketers and agency peers, 'views' have become the holy grail. Views offer a seemingly simple and easy way to measure the power of content. This is a false
indicator of success, particularly when a video receives a high number of views, but a low level of likes. Often the video didn't truly go viral; the view metric was purchased."
many marketers and YouTube itself has moved beyond views as a meaningful metric, the experiment does call into questions the validity of seemingly boring videos with super high view counts. Much like
a TV ad playing in the background (that still gets counted as a delivered impression), video views, according to Colasanti, do not "work as an absolute and critical metric for measuring and comparing