In Facebook’s Q1 earnings call, Mark Zuckerberg reported that native videos on Facebook are now receiving more than 4 billion views per day. This number is helped by Facebook auto-playing videos (that you might not be actively watching) and because they count a ‘view’ after 3 seconds (whereas YouTube counts a ‘view’ at around 30 seconds). But with native videos on Facebook becoming increasingly significant, is it right to count 3 seconds as a valid view of your content? Is 3 seconds long enough for your video to have any impact at all?

Research by Nielsen (for Facebook) has investigated the impact of how long you watch a video on recall, brand awareness and purchase intent; these are all good measures of the impact your content is having on consumers (and arguably more important than views or length of time watching a video). Against all three measures, almost 100% of the potential impact of the campaign is reached once 30 seconds of a video has been viewed.

But what is interesting is to look at the campaign impact at much shorter view times. At 10 seconds of viewing a video, a campaign has already achieved 74% of the total video recall that it will ever achieve, 65% of the brand awareness and 72% of the purchase intent. Even at 3 seconds, a video achieves 47% of its total potential recall, 32% of its impact on brand awareness and and 44% of its impact on purchase intent.

So length does matter in online video – but it doesn’t need to be that long. Even at 3 seconds, brands are seeing a significant impact of their content on consumers awareness of the brand and purchase intent. That helps to support Facebook counting a view at just 3 seconds. And it means that we need to be designing video content online to make these first 3 seconds count.

The task, therefore,  is creating content that engages and captures the audiences attention. And this challenge cannot be underestimated. As the volume of content continues to increase online, the battle for attention from consumers just gets tougher, even for just a few seconds.

Matt Rhodes

About Matt Rhodes

Head of Digital Strategy for work. Marathon runner and charity trustee for fun.

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