We Asked 1,500 People Why They Watch so Much Video and Here’s What They Said

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We spend 86.11 minutes a day watching digital video in the US. That’s four times more than the time we spend on things that are actually important to us—like playing with our children.

For marketers, the fact that so many people love video is great because now they can leverage a medium that they know consumers already enjoy.

If people love videos so much, why are we seeing such a large number of ads skipped, or even worse, annoy consumers? What are popular TV shows doing that video marketers are not?

Consumers love video because it’s entertaining and fun.

To answer this question, we surveyed viewers. One thing that was of particular interest to me at the beginning of this process was the gap between the time consumers spend watching digital video overall, (including platforms like Netflix), and the completion of video ads.

What is it that consumers are craving in video that they get from popular shows, but not marketers (just yet)?

In order to answer this, we took a step back and decided to ask the people themselves—what do you love about video? We ran a survey asking 1,500 people from all around the US the same question, and here’s what we found:

  1. It’s easy, or as one of the respondents put it, ‘it beats reading or thinking’
  2. It’s informative or we watch videos ‘to get answers
  3. It’s relaxing and it ‘keeps me calm
  4. It’s entertaining and ‘kills time
  5. It’s fun, and in general, ‘they are enjoyable

Although there’s a slight difference between entertainment and fun, for the purpose of this analysis we decided to combine the two. The results showed that 71% of people enjoy watching video because it’s entertaining and fun (see graph below).

When we collected the responses from our survey participants, one thing was clear—no matter what age, gender, or area in the United States they were browsing from:

People watch video simply, because it’s fun.

Fun from the psychological standpoint.

In 2009, Volkswagen ran a series of experiments as part of a ‘fun theory campaign.’ In one of those experiments, they tried to get more people to use the stairs than the escalator, and they did this by transforming the stairs into a giant piano keyboard, where stepping on specific stairs would actually produce a musical note.

66% more people used the stairs that day.

It’s not because the escalator broke, or because they got some kind of monetary compensation. They used the stairs because it was fun for them, giving them an intrinsic reward.

The Mars bar and KFC nailed it with entertaining videos.

These two food brands came up with a couple of amazing 15 second video ads that ran in Australia. See how they promoted their brand (I’m dying for some chocolate covered chicken right now) in a fun and entertaining way with these videos:

Marketers—make fun videos. They’re intrinsically rewarding.

As marketers, we need to understand that the same intrinsic reward that applied when people used the piano staircase applies today when consumers watch our videos.

If we want people to engage with our videos and for the videos to have a real impact, we need to create videos that are in line with what consumers desire: videos that are fun and entertaining.