20% of the audience is gone in the first 10 seconds

20% of the audience clicks OFF a video in the first 10 seconds; 40% is gone at 1 minute and 60% has tuned out at the minute thirty mark.
I think this is a near fatal blow in recognizing audiences don’t even give many programs a chance before they’re clicked off. For corporate clients… for news producers… for any one who produces content this is a sad set of numbers produced by Benchmarking Viewer Abandonment in Online Video which “looked at how viewers watched and ultimately abandoned over 40 million unique video clips, which, in aggregate, have received nearly 7 billion views.”

Blink taught us people make judgments about one another in the first 3 seconds of a conversation, but even at 10 seconds this study gives me little reason for optimism. What does this say for our concentrations? What does this say for our quick-trigger response about what interests us, or what we want to give time to, invest ourselves in?
For clients who produce videos in the hope of delivering messages this will be positively frightening. For my students who flit about from story to story with little regard for depth or concentration, this just gives weight to their argument that if a piece isn’t interesting (quickly) they just wont watch it at all.

10 seconds is hardly justification for ignorance.

Author: Peter Shaplen Productions

More than four decades of experience as a journalist, producer, reporter, writer and professor of news, corporate production, crisis management.

4 thoughts on “20% of the audience is gone in the first 10 seconds”

  1. Sorry, Peter, but did you look at the link you provide. They show a video that’s dumb. I got through 30 sec, only because it was in your post. There’s too much ‘stuff’ out there now. I don’t think it’s our attention span. There’s too much video and not enough personal time to discriminate.

    It’s sort of like expecting that you’ll say Hi! to every person you pass walking on a busy New York street, or Oakland for that matter. “Hi there, how are you? Hi there, how are you?” You’d go crazy. Just because someone now puts a video up on YouTube or in the middle of a TV program doesn’t mean there’s any obligation at all for me to watch any of it!!

    Do a YouTube search on: “inside the cell” animation.
    What’s being done now in video ‘animation’ in science is extraordinary and if narrated well, can open up fields of understanding and even careers! like never before. I watch them WAY into the pieces and usually to the end…when I have time and desire.

    If your clients want to sell, then they’ve got to have an audience that wants to buy. Generally I don’t make my decisions on what I see on TV commercials. Period. With most, ok, I got the name of the product and don’t want it within those first 10 sec. If they make me wait to the end for the name of the product, they’ve already lost me. Sucks for them, maybe, but also sucks for me. I prefer to read reviews.

    Yes, maybe real inventiveness works, but do I have to waste my time watching stuff I don’t want or need just to show someone I don’t have a short attention span?

    1. Sharon, I do not believe the entire survey was not about that single story – whether good or not, amusing or not. The real question is how quickly people click on and click away from video content, how quickly they make a decision as to whether something merits their time or could be interesting. It poses all sorts of questions about audiences as well as challenges for producers…. what’s the result? We all put the most fantastic video or outrageous claims or worse in the 1st few seconds regardless of context or value in order to entice an audience?
      Attention spans are shorter… and that’s not necessarily bad, but it sure does make me pause.

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