Like a contender on American Idol, Web video is asking to be discovered.That's the primary takeaway from a new nationwide survey of online consumers, conducted in March for ClipBlast!, the premier Web-wide video navigation and distribution platform, by Chicago market researcher Synovate. Where video is concerned, traditional search techniques take a back seat to methods popular on the social Web, the survey reports.
ClipBlast! asked 1,000 online consumers how they get to video on the Internet. Of the total sample, 530 expressed a preference and 470 did not. Among the 530 respondents who had a definite opinion, "discovery" is the primary means that they get to video online (28 percent), followed closely by recommendations from friends (27 percent). Some 22 percent rely on search engines. Roughly 10 percent get video from people they know only online – through social networks and the like. Relatively smaller percentages receive video from unsolicited email and RSS feeds, to which they have subscribed (5 percent, respectively).
Interestingly, as popular as YouTube and other video sharing sites are, the process of getting to video remains undefined for a substantial percentage of Americans – indeed, for nearly 47 percent the experience of looking for video remains new. "Even with millions of new clips coming online each day, online video is still in its infancy — and as the survey shows, habits have yet to be fully formed," said Gary Baker, founder and CEO, ClipBlast!.
According to a new comScore report, there's a lot of viewing going on. Web users watched more than 10 billion videos in February, and during the month, an estimated 73 percent of U.S. Internet users viewed video online.
"The Video Web is dictating a fundamental break from the traditional search model – a departure that represents a tremendous vote of confidence in Web 2.0," Baker said. "It's now about discovery and browsing and navigating in non-linear ways. Social media works more like a real community than any 'constructed' community the Web may have sought to create up to this point, which is why discovery and recommendations figure so prominently in the mix.
"Social media mimics the way that we interact when we're offline—it traces the sometimes circular, sometimes whimsical paths of relationships, and follows a few tangents," he said. "It's clear that video consumers know at a gut level that if a picture is worth a thousand words, there's no way that metadata will ever be enough.”
Among the survey's key findings:
- Men Asking for Directions? – Discovering video is more prevalent for men (34 percent) than women (22 percent). Similarly, men are more likely to locate video based on recommendations from associates (30 percent to 25 percent for women), and to rely on existing search engines – 27 percent to 17 percent.
- Gen Y Users Go Their Own Way… – Discovery is biggest among the young — 41.5 percent of those 18-24, gradually declining among those ages 25-34 (38 percent) and 35-44 (37), then dropping precipitously for the remaining age groups.
- While Gen X Favors Search – and Tips from Friends. – Those 25-34 are most reliant on search engines (43 percent); that group is also more likely to come by video through the recommendation of friends (39 percent) – and, by a significant margin – through the suggestion of those encountered online, via social networks (16 percent).
- Discovery: Big in Boston – Less So in Chicago. – On a regional basis, those in the Northeast are, by a wide margin, more like to both discover video (34 percent) and rely on the recommendations of friends (32 percent); those in the Midwest are relatively less likely to do so (23 percent for discovery, 26 percent for tips from friends). Those in the West are relatively more likely to use search engines (23 percent).
The ClipBlast! platform searches the entire Web for available content, continuously providing video web viewers with up-to-date, personalized video content, no matter what the source. ClipBlast! indexes more content providers than anyone on the Video Web.
The ClipBlast!/Synovate survey has a margin of error of +/- 3 percent. For a full copy of the survey results and a graphic presentation of top-line data, email [email protected].