Agency Proves People Will Watch Anything On YouTube

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. Nada.

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 Colasanti said: "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."

And while 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 creative effectiveness.



2 comments about "Agency Proves People Will Watch Anything On YouTube".
Check to receive email when comments are posted.
  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, August 20, 2015 at 7:57 a.m.

    Not surprising, actually. In the early days of TV many stations signed off at 11PM or a few minutes later and signed on again at 7AM or much later. Meanwhile, they showed their test patterns on the viewers' screens. Captivated by the new medium, some viewers were so reluctant to let go that they watched the test patterns and this showed up in the local Arbitron diary rating studies of the time as well, I presume, in the Nielsens.

  2. David Scardino from TV & Film Content Development, August 20, 2015 at 11:23 a.m.

    And there was a derisive saying back then that "you can get a 1 share with a test pattern." Ah, the good old days!

Next story loading loading..