Yesterday, I could not get out of my head a comment made by a panelist on the session, "Video Search Engine Optimization (VSEO)" at SES, namely Greg Jarboe. Greg mentioned an example video whereby most users who watched the video, discovered the video primarily through social sharing mechanisms (sharing, embedding, etc...) vs. video search. Specifically, he presents findings for a video about Nicholas Carr and goes on to point out that 7.4% of views came from search, 71% from embedded players. He also talks about the dominance of Youtube and the need to focus optimization efforts for youtube.
I completely agree with what I think was Greg's point, namely the importance of taking advantage of all means to drive traffic to your videos and that video search is only one piece. Really, I think that Greg's point was that video marketing and optimization goes beyond just video SEO, and perhaps we need another definition or term. However, I wonder if some folks in the audience were thinking... "If only 7.4% of views came from search, why do I need to know about video SEO?" So, because this was bugging me all night, my plan today was to do some research and find out whether this is an accurate representation of video discoverability overall.
Aside from my intended hypothesis that the above example is not indicative of the overall picture and that more people discover videos via video search than the panelist eluded to, I also wanted to see if there were any trends demonstrating whether or not users are gravitating more towards one method of video discovery vs. another.
Thankfully, I don't have to do the research. Stephen Baker, of Everyzing, wrote an excellent post today on Search Engine Land called, "The Case For Speech-to-Text Analysis In Multimedia Content Discovery." Stephen covers a ton of excellent points but most relevant to this post is some recent research regarding video discoverability.
According to the research quoted from hitwise, multimedia content discovery via search has seen growth in the past year (4/2007-4/2008) which represents somewhat of a shift in the paradigm for multimedia content discovery :
- 42% of videos are discovered via direct navigation to the host or publisher's website. In addition, this percentage has remained steady over the past year.
- 29% of video referrals were attributed to social and/or viral media content, such as that which is discovered on video sharing websites like Youtube. According to the research, this is a huge drop from last year's number of more than 36%
- 29% of videos are found via search engines. This is a huge gain from last year's 22%.
That's right, not only is video search utilized to discover video content more than 1/4 of the time, It is utilized as much as social video discovery, and the use of video search as a means to find online video content is growing.
Do we think this trend will continue? Absolutely! And as usual, Stephen provides excellent insight into why we are so optimistic about video search and why this trend will likely continue:
"Why the shift? This can be explained primarily by two factors. The first is that the audience that consumes online multimedia continues to grow in terms of size and amount of content they consume regularly. As video consumption goes mainstream, one would expect that the web audience relies more heavily on search engines for content discovery, just as they do for text content. In fact, it's not uncommon for web searches to have "audio" or "video" appended to their phrases to bias SERPs towards multimedia content.
The second factor driving this shift is the amount of professionally produced content that is published to the web. Contrary to popular belief, most of the video watching internet audience is not interested in consuming user generated content. Rather, they are looking to the convenience and personalization that the web offers to provide a more engaging video watching experience for high quality, professionally produced content. As the business model comes into focus, big media is responding by publishing more content to their web sites. Statistics from eMarketer reveal that premium content accounts for more than 90% of monthly streams."