Where Do People Find Videos Online? Video Discovery Research

There are many ways in which people discover video online; videos embedded on blogs, video search engines, major search engines (i.e. Google, Yahoo, MSN), email, and social networking, to name a few.  In February, our friends over at Tubemogul released some new research which helps to answer the question,  "Where do people discover video online and which sources drive the most video views?"

According to the research, most internet users discover video on blogs and through direct navigation to the major online video destination sites.  Google was the top individual site for referring video views.  Additionally, more videos were discovered via social networks than via the search engines dedicated to video discovery (like blinkx, truveo, etc...).

So, is this bad news for the video search engines?

The sites included are all dedicated to video and are big names you've heard of, so any extrapolations on video discovery should be limited to that context.

The biggest video search engines are the video sites themselves. As we reported late last year, Youtube is itself one of the largest search engines when you look at the number of queries searched.

As David Burch, Marketing Manager for Tubemogul points out, the results present "a compelling case for long-tail bloggers in terms of getting a video discovered"

Blogs and direct navigation to video sites, mostly. Google is the top individual site referring video views; also: social networks refer more views than video search engines.

Methodology

Over the course of 2 months, Tubemogul tracked inbound referral URLs to a sample of more than 35 million video streams over 6 leading video destination sites.  TubemogFor a two-month period, we recorded inbound URLs for a sample of 35,528,837 video streams from six top video sites (due to partnership limitations, we cannot disclose which sites). For instance, if someone executed a Google text search and clicked on a link to a video, we recorded that inbound link as coming from Google. Views from embedded videos were also included in the sample.
Results

Here are the results of their Study:

The most common way in which videos were discovered (45.13% of all views our sample) was through direct navigation to a video site (i.e. going to YouTube and running a search or clicking around the featured or related videos).  In terms of sites that refer traffic to videos, no single source dominated.  However 80.88 percent of those sources were blogs.

SiteShare of Video Referrals
google7.19%
yahoo2.12%
facebook1.93%
myspace1.55%
digg1.49%
stumbleupon1.13%
msn/live0.92%
blogspot0.78%
aol0.43%
reddit0.29%
truveo0.22%
flurl0.21%
blinkx0.19%
ask0.19%
comcast0.16%
twitter0.15%
wordpress0.15%
cnn0.12%
wikipedia0.11%
ovguide0.06%
Since there were millions of referring sites in our sample, manually compiling a full breakdown by category was untenable. However, since there are a limited number of players in certain sectors, we were able to infer the following breakdown of share of referral traffic by category:
  • Search engines: 11.18%
  • Social networks: 3.66%
  • Social bookmarking sites: 3.19%
  • Video search engines: 0.63%
  • Email/IM: 0.05%
  • Everything else (almost all blogs, from the thousands we scanned): 80.88% of all referred traffic.

Analysis/Conclusions
These results likely come as bad news to the myriad sites that are set up with online video discovery in mind, such as video search engines, which source a relatively modest 0.63% of all referred video views.

To those trying to unlock a formula for making a video go viral, perhaps this gives some clues: reach out to bloggers and optimize a video's meta-data to ensure it ranks highly on intra-video site plugs.

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About the Author -
Mark Robertson is the Founder and Publisher of ReelSEO, an online information resource dedicated to the fusion of video, technology, social media, search, and internet marketing. He is a YouTube Certified, video marketing consultant and video marketing expert, popular speaker, and considered to be a passionate leader within the online video and search marketing industries. View All Posts By -

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