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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Live Streaming Video Jumps 600% in Past Year

Andres Palmiter/Comscore 

Nearly a decade before anyone had heard of YouTube, the first viral video spread among snickering teens and procrastinating college students. Discovered via direct download links and embedded QuickTime players, Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s “The Spirit of Christmas” not only launched what would soon become the popular animated series “South Park”, but also reinvigorated an entire cable network. What I remember most about “The Spirit of Christmas” was not the story (or the salty language), but the size and quality of the video. The file was huge! And it took close to a day to download! Even after the download bar clicked through to 100%, the video quality was still a fraction of what you’d experience on TV.
A lot has changed in last 10+ years. YouTube, once maligned for its streaming quality, can now pump out videos in 4K (for the uninitiated, that’s 4x the pixels of broadcast/cable HD), most online TV programming can be found in HD, and even the cheapest camcorders have the capability to upload a HD video. All those extra pixels require bandwidth and computing muscle; and fortunately, over the past two years publishers and portals have made the necessary technology investments to create a significantly better viewing experience. Live streaming video, however, with its own pernicious set of tech requirements, has lagged behind the larger Video-On-Demand portals and publishers in terms of consumer experience.
Now more than ever, live online video sites are willing to build out their technology infrastructure to provide a better user experience. For instance, recently announced mobile applications for Android and iOS, the former allowing users to live stream from their mobile device. The growth of broadband (both through regular and cellular networks) has made features unthinkable two years ago a reality today. What’s the payoff? Over the past year, the amount of time American audiences spent watching video for the major live video publishers (, USTREAM, Livestream, LiveVideo, and Stickam) has grown 648% to more than 1.4 billion minutes. By comparison, the amount of time American audiences spent watching YouTube and Hulu increased 68% and 75%, respectively, over the same time period. Though the amount of time spent watching live video is still only a small fraction of the total time spent watching online video, its sharp growth indicates viewers’ growing comfort with the content.
Live online video sites have not only been successful in building audience, but also in keeping that audience tuned-in. For instance, the average live streamed video view is 7% longer than the average online video view. If you narrow the audience to a specific demographic, though, live video really begins to prove its advertising value to media planners. Live video sites are 72% more likely to deliver the elusive demographic, males age 18-34, than the average online video site. In fact, males age 18-34 comprise almost 30% of the total live video viewing audience in our sample sites. Even without the same brand recognition as other portals and publishers, live video sites are able to retain viewers’ attention and deliver desirable audiences for advertisers.

In particular,, USTREAM, and Livestream have exhibited tremendous growth over the past year and are vying for supremacy as the leading live video publisher. In July, USTREAM reached more than 3.2 million unique viewers, with reaching 2.6 million and Livestream 2.4 million. Livestream, though, served more than 160 million videos, compared to roughly 130 million from and 20 million from USTREAM. Those 20 million videos on USTREAM, however, were viewed eight minutes longer on average than videos on and 17 minutes more than those on Livestream. In terms of total minutes, viewers logged nearly 900 million minutes watching in July, outpacing the other two sites.
Although live video sites may not have the cachet or visitor base of more established broadcast brands or larger video portals, they do provide a savvy planner with the tools to reach valuable targeted audiences. As live-streaming technology moves more mainstream content creators will increasingly realize the importance of mirroring their live TV strategy with live online video.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

3 Studies Show Facebook’s Marketing Potential

Facebook is hot. There’s no question that Facbeook has a large audience. But what does this mean for marketers and business owners?

Here are three recent Facebook-related studies that answer these very questions by examining how much time Facebook users invest in the platform, if Facebook ads are effective and other Facebook trends among online merchants.
#1: One-Third of Online Time Spent on Facebook Among U.S. Users

According to recent findings by market researcher Morpace, U.S. Facebook users are on the site for 1 of every 3 minutes of time spent online. Users 18 to 34 years old spend the most time on the site per week (8.5 hours out of 22.4 spent online). Users 55 and older spend an average of 4.6 hours per week on Facebook.

The study also explored Facebook activity by ethnicity. According to the results, Asians were the heaviest users of Facebook. As a group, they devoted the most of their Internet time per week to Facebook (39.6%). African Americans were the second heaviest users at 35.1%. Hispanics spent the least amount of time on Facebook (31.7%).

One of the most interesting stats from this study showed that Facebook users making at least $100,000 annually spent the most time on Facebook and on the web as a whole. This is valuable information for companies selling products and services online.
#2: Facebook Ads Most Effective On User Profile Pages

Facebook users spend more time looking at ads on their own Facebook profiles than they do on news feed pages (their homepages), found a new report by Mulley Communications. Specifically, the study found that 71% of users looked at advertisements on their profile pages, while only 31% of users looked at advertisements on the news feed page.

In addition, 53% of users pay attention to page updates in their news feed wall, which may explain why they mostly ignore ads on their pages.

#3: Online Merchants Loving Facebook ‘Likes’

There’s been a lot of discussion about retailers extending the power of Facebook to their sites. Website conversion company SeeWhy found that 35% of ecommerce online marketers have implemented Facebook’s “Like” plugin, while 33% plan to do so in the near future.

The second most popular Facebook social plugin was the login application, as 18% reported they had implemented it and 15% said they plan to do so in the future. The login plugin allows consumers to skip the registration step and login directly from the merchant’s site. This allows conversion to be simple and quick, which is a huge advantage for the merchant.

Facebook social plugins have been getting a lot of attention from online merchants because they can drive traffic back to their own sites without having to build an entire ecommerce site into their Facebook page. Although 26% of respondents said they plan to build ecommerce applications on Facebook itself, 67% said they plan to use Facebook to actually drive traffic to their sites.

In addition, 44% said they plan to use Facebook applications in place of microsites for launches and specific promotions.