Time for another data deep dive. This week we’re taking a look at how video duration impacts high level engagements. For this study we analysed videos posted on Facebook or YouTube in the last 30 days with more than 10k engagements – 24,000 videos in total. With that kind of data, we show you how to capture the best engagement through optimal video length, and what platform will work best for your content type.

Optimal Video Length: YouTube vs. Facebook

This data was just a WOW moment for us. We expected YouTubers to be making longer content, but according to the data from the past 30 days, videos on YouTube are nearly 10X longer than Facebook.

Using data from Tubular, we can confirm that creators on YouTube are making not just longer content, but WAY longer content. Some of this is certainly a function of YouTube rewarding longer retention, but it really points to the type of content each platform currently values most. Facebook tends to value short, flash in the pan type content to keep you moving and tied in to the feed, while YouTube is more focused on serving you longer, higher quality content to keep you on the site longer.

Although we keep looking at YouTube and Facebook as competitors, they may actually be on opposite ends on the video spectrum not just in duration, but in what metrics indicate a video’s success as well.

Platform Average of Duration (seconds)
Facebook 81.22
YouTube 870.89

Facebook Vs. YouTube & Views Vs. Engagement

Our previous deep dive which was specific to Buzzfeed, showed that video posted natively to Facebook tends to generate more engagement. But in this study, we see that YouTube has a lower views to engagement ratio than Facebook, which means it takes less views to generate the same engagement on YouTube.

Our gut reaction is this as an indicator for view quality. YouTube fans continue to tout the value of a YouTube view compared to Facebook and this data would tend to support that claim. It may also suggest that the type of engagements occurring on Facebook the most, namely likes, are more freely given and less indicative of meaningful engagement.

Platform Average of Views:Engagements
Facebook 31.12
YouTube 22.42

But not so fast. Analyzed another way this data would suggest that an engagement on Facebook can generate more views for a given video. It all depends on how you view video and what comes first, the view or the engagement.

For YouTube, a combination of views and engagements can help it rise in search, so there is a distinct partnership in these numbers. On Facebook, however, views are somewhat less indicative of the performance of a video – the almighty engagement actually causes it to propagate across multiple feeds, granting the video more views.

What this bit of data may really suggest is that Facebook videos may be better judged on the number of engagements they get, while YouTube seems to have focused more on the quality of their view counter.

Let’s revisit the first chart real quick, but add in the average view count as well. While Facebook is beating YouTube in views more than 2:1 on these videos, YouTube is only losing 3:4 in the engagement department. To me, this suggests that Facebook has a lot of what I’ll call “empty” views. But that also suggests that Facebook is clearly getting the traffic and may even be beating YouTube in raw traffic.

Platform Average of Views:Engagements Average of Views
Facebook 31.12 1,405,078.82
YouTube 22.42 632,056.19

Looking at this data broken down by duration categories, YouTube has clearly trained viewers to not only stay around, but interact a bit before they leave. On the other hand, Facebook seems to trend towards getting the video in front of somebody, getting a like/share and moving on.

As for optimal video length, as duration increases, the likelihood of high level engagement goes down on Facebook, where YouTube is just the opposite. YouTube engagement seems to perform the best early in the video, like Facebook, but remarkably they get more high engagement videos the longer they go. There is a definite plateau around the 3 minute mark for YouTube, which has often been used as a marker for the general attention span of a YouTube viewer. As viewers watch past the 5 minute park on YouTube, it seems that the interaction drops quite a bit. This could point to a larger issue of actual viewer retention. How mentally engaged is a viewer after a certain point?

Platform Average of Views:Engagements Count of Video_Title
Facebook 31.12 15750
<=30s 30.69 6825
<=1m 34.10 3144
<=2m 31.69 2778
<=3m 30.53 1339
<=5m 27.89 1066
5m-10m 27.28 463
10m-15m 23.95 57
15m+ 10.91 78
YouTube 22.42 6833
<=30s 34.38 52
<=1m 38.95 116
<=2m 29.63 309
<=3m 29.46 446
<=5m 24.95 1366
5m-10m 18.55 1974
10m-15m 22.46 1190
15m+ 19.69 1380
Grand Total 28.49 22583

Looking at this chart would seem to suggest the best place for a call to action is right around the 30 second mark for a video, or wait until it is just about over. Personally I’d advocate doing both if it makes sense for your content.

If you want high engagement, the sky is the limit on YouTube. The videos analyzed averaged nearly 15 minutes in length for YouTube while Facebook was just shy of a minute and a half. But if you are looking for short form content, the fleeting nature of the Facebook feed may provide you with a better place to get massive exposure. Either way, we may have been measuring Facebook video all wrong this whole time. The secret sauce may lie in their engagements and not in their views. The engagements ultimately lead to the exposure that those in video desire.

Optimal Video Length Takeaways:

  • Videos posted natively to Facebook generate more engagement – but it takes less views for YouTube videos to generate the same engagement rate
  • Engagement rate for Facebook video is a more reliable metric than view count
  • The most engaged videos on YouTube are nearly 10x longer than the most engaged videos uploaded to Facebook.
  • Short-form video content tends to do better in terms of engagement on Facebook.
  • The longer the video on YouTube, the more viewers will engage with it.
  • Best place for a CTA on a YouTube video is around the 30 second mark.

Source: What’s the Optimal Video Length for a YouTube or Facebook Video?

We all like to believe we’re special. Or as anthropologist Margaret Mead wryly put it, “Always remember that you are absolutely unique — just like everyone else.”

That belief (or state of denial) is why so-called “batch and blast” email is usually less effective than email campaigns customized to your unique market. In a recent study of marketing professionals by Experian Marketing Services, 62 percent said a personalized email subject line is crucial.

The study also revealed that personalized promotional emails generated transaction rates and revenue per email six times higher than non-personalized emails. The personalized mailings had 29 percent higher unique open rates and 41 percent higher unique click rates. For triggered email campaigns (in which emails are triggered by a calendar event, a business action or an action taken by a website visitor), personalization doubled transaction rates.

Because today’s email marketing services allow for more detailed data about customers, users can implement some pretty impressive personalization that likely wouldn’t have been possible a couple of decades ago. Logistics like fully optimized mobile applications and time-delayed messaging are now par for the course, as is message micro-customization based on consumer behavior.

“With so many available tools, businesses of all sizes can now employ the best email strategies for reaching customers,” writes Jayson DeMers in the Huffington Post. “When used correctly, these tools let businesses of all sizes compete with even the largest corporations. As more marketers discover the value of personalized marketing, businesses that don’t personalize their efforts will likely find their campaigns are largely unsuccessful.”

Reasons to Ditch

“To get started with such customization, conducting customer research is imperative,” explains Vertical Response Senior Content Marketing Manager, Linzi Breckenridge. “Your success with email marketing lies in understanding as much as you can about your contacts so you can better communicate with the groups of people likely to find your message relevant,” she says.

Since personalizing messages for a world’s worth of potential customers is probably still out of technology’s reach, here are tips for identifying whom to target in your next campaign.

Identify your target market(s), segmenting the groups of customers most likely to buy your goods and services. Think about which segment of the population has a problem your product is able to solve. Narrowing that down keeps you from wasting time and energy, and maximizes your chance of gaining and keeping customers, growing profits and expanding market share.

The most common ways to segment are by demographics, geographic location, purchasing behavior and/or psychographic segmentation (interests, hobbies, lifestyles, values and attitudes). The most common demographics used are age, gender and income level, notes social media blogger Lisa Furgison, all of which can be collected from your customers and embedded for reference onto your website or blog platform.

To help you form your messages, some marketing professionals recommend identifying common themes among your best customers and conceiving of actual “personas” that represent them in their various forms — including their shopping objectives and possible objections to buying.

Further fine-tune your target market by analyzing email data to identify customers who answered calls to action, like clicking to open windows announcing new product arrivals. “Knowing if, when and how contacts engage with your email is useful in determining which contacts find the message relevant,” notes Breckenridge. “You can continue the communication with those who respond, and tweak or completely change the message for those who don’t.”

Limit your target market to a manageable size. Warns Furgison: “If you overdose on segmentation, you could get frustrated and make your email marketing strategy more complicated than it needs to be.”

Consider rewarding loyal customers with discounts or special sneak peeks of products. “With a marketplace overflowing with options, repeat buyers are a much smaller segment than they once were,” Furgison notes.

Identify, target, and maybe reward brand advocates — customers who praise your products on social media or provide you positive feedback.
Make an effort to bring back inactive customers, possibly with a promo. Such emails have titles like “We miss you!” or “It’s been a while,” notes Furgison, who also advises that surveys should find out why customers have strayed.

Place the customer’s first name or user ID at the top of the message to quickly capture attention, advises Kevin Gao on targetmarketingmag.com. “If the user took the time to register with your business, then there is some implicit trust between both of you,” he says. “Remind them of your relationship by promptly showing their names. This tactic is especially important for consumers on mobile devices as the limited space means brands need logical personalization right away.”

Ask customers for information so you can provide even more apt customization in the future. “But avoid being greedy,” warns Gao. “Customers don’t want to spend time with a detailed registration page that asks for demographic data or other personal information. Ask for the minimum, use that in personalized emails, and expand your data as the relationship grows.”

Messages to customers triggered by real-time behaviors — such as reminders that items have been left in a “shopping cart” — can be very effective. “Even if the visitor receives it minutes after leaving the site, it does help the brand to stick in their mind,” states Gao. “Personalization should also be included in standard messages, such as shipment confirmations, where companies can suggest additional products or services, perhaps at a discount.”

Consider customizing email messages to arrive at the optimal times for your customers depending on demographics and time zone. For example, emails to student customers could arrive in the evenings when they’re most likely to be browsing via computer.

Lastly, always test your email campaign before sending. Having more than one pair of eyes review the email reduces the chance of suffering from an error. After making the effort to boost open and click rates with personalization and segmentation, the last thing you want is to waste it on a typo.

Conclusion:  Move beyond the old-fashioned and ineffective approach of “batch and blast” to get the best results with email marketing.

Source: Reasons to Ditch “Batch and Blast” and Get Started with Email Marketing Personalization