Is Your Video Traffic Upside Down?

For content sites with a mix of text and video, are there times when it makes sense to shift the balance towards video?

I would argue, for these types of sites, video traffic tends to be upside down.   Video consumption will be relatively lower during the site’s peak traffic hours, toward the middle of the day on weekdays.  Video consumption will be relatively higher on weekends and in the evenings when total site traffic is at low ebb.

The way to see the pattern is with a calculated metric, video starts/page views.   Call it the video content ratio.   There are issues with this metric, as I’ll note in a couple of paragraphs.  But it indicates a rough percentage of the content consumption on your site accounted for by video, a useful thing to know.   And you can track it across time to see  interesting patterns in video consumption, as related to total site traffic.

What you will likely see, if you go through this exercise, is that page views and video starts both tend to peak during the week versus the weekend and they both tend to peak during the mid-day hours versus the evening.    But video will peak less sharply and trough less, so that the video content ratio will actually peak on the off days and off hours.

The implied consumer behavior behind the pattern is the most interesting thing.    During peak traffic times when people are at work they’re looking for information in quicker, tighter hits.   They’re consuming everything in high quantities, text and video, but there there are inherent efficiencies for text.   During soft traffic times when people are more likely at home they’re less likely to be online and cruising content sites.  But when they are using content sites they are more in lean-back mode… and in a more conducive mood for watching videos.   Perhaps somewhat longer videos as well.

There may be a number of ways for site programming to take advantage of this picture…

Before leaving the topic, a few words on the video content ratio.   What’s wrong with this, aside from being yet one more calculated metric, are the various fudge factors.   Are there auto starts on various pages?    That will distort the ratio.   Does the implementation count some video starts as page views; are these completely exclusive definitions or is there some fuzzy overlap?   So there are certainly issues…let’s call it crude.

And yet there are various uses, as you can see.   It’s helpful, when looking at video trends for a site to benchmark them against total traffic trends, to see if video is merely trending with the site or on a distinct trajectory.   It’s useful, when there are a number of sites in a portfolio, to see which are doing relatively better in delivering video content relative to each traffic base.   Accepting its warts, the video content ratio is a way to break down data silos and look at the big picture.   And that’s always a good thing.

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