Your video questions answered

Your video questions answered

We recently published our analysis of 2016 video consumption in the UK. There have been a couple of questions about it, what it shows and how we do it. So I thought I’d answer them all in one place. This exact place to be precise.

Why does Thinkbox do the video analysis?

There’s no single source of measurement for all forms of video, so we draw on industry data – joint industry where possible – to show how video consumption looks in the UK and where TV fits in. We employ data from respected organisations such as comScore, BARB, the IPA and Ofcom.

Is it the absolute truth?

The result is an estimate. We strive to be as fair as possible – for instance, comScore says the average YouTube ad is watched for 3 seconds; YouTube claims it is longer than this, but not by how much. So in our analysis of video advertising we allow for YouTube ads being watched for an average of 15 seconds. I’d say that’s not just fair, it’s generous.

The goal of the analysis is to get the best estimate we can and we’re confident it is a reliable reflection of the way things are. However, if you can help us make it better, please get in touch.

Facebook’s share of video decreased – that’s weird isn’t it?

It was surprising, but it is what the data shows. Facebook’s share of the average person’s video diet in the UK was 1.7% in 2016, down from 2.2% in 2015. For 16-24s, its proportion of video viewing dropped from 5.7% in 2015 to 2.5% in 2016 (by the same token, YouTube increased its share)

Remember this is time spent, not the number of views. For a video to count on Facebook as being watched it only needs to start. So lots of views don’t necessarily add up to lots of time.

How did you calculate Facebook’s share?

The methodology is here but, in a nutshell, for Facebook and other online video, we use comScore, the official measurement for online use, coupled with the IPA’s brilliant Touchpoints study.

We use two sources because comScore didn’t include mobile video viewing in its 2016 figures. To include mobile online video viewing, we have Touchpoints – a diary study of 5,000 people – which records media use as it happens, including what device people use, so it can tell us what proportion of Facebook use was mobile (any use of Facebook, in-app or web).

Touchpoints found that 75% of Facebook was mobile in 2016, so we take the machine data from comScore as a base level representing only 25% of the total.

TV accounts for 94% of all video advertising time

YouTube has a small proportion of video advertising time – why?

YouTube accounted for 0.7% of the video advertising that was seen in the UK in 2016 (1.8% for 16-24s). This may seem odd given that YouTube accounted for 6.4% of average video viewing and 15.6% of 16-24s’ video viewing.

But it isn’t that odd. YouTube is hamstrung by a few things (notwithstanding the ones in the headlines at the moment): it has a long tail of content most advertisers wouldn’t want to be next to; most of its premium content is already being advertised around; it makes ads skippable so people generally skip; the majority of its viewing is by a relatively small group of super users (around 80% of viewing is by 20% of viewers).

Contrast this with TV, which accounted for 94% of video advertising viewing. TV has tonnes of premium programming able to satisfy thousands of advertisers simultaneously; it has a combo of very high reach and lots of time spent; and 86% of TV is watched live, so the ads are too.

Does the analysis take into account the advertising context?

No, it can’t. The issues with video advertising that are on front pages and dominating Ad Week Europe point to one very important aspect that is missing from our analysis of video time: it says nothing about the relative quality of the different forms of video and the advertising environments they offer.

Not all video advertising is equal. Clearly an ad in Game of Thrones or Gogglebox is a world away from an ad that was bought blind and ended up somewhere near the tip of online video’s long tail.

But we do this analysis to help put things in perspective. Knowing how much time we spend with different forms of video and, most importantly for advertisers, how much we spend with different forms of video advertising is a good place to start to understand how the video world actually looks.

If you have any more questions about the video world, please do get in touch.

You might also like

Cannes 2022 in 4 minutes

TV was never far from people’s lips at this year’s Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, writes Thinkbox’s Chris Dunne.

Finalists: Young TV Planner of the Year 2022

We chat to the five finalists ahead of this year’s Thinkbox TV Planning Awards.


Highlights from ITV

McDonald & Dodds are continuing to solve crime in Bath. It’s all hands on deck at The Savoy. Go behind the scenes in Emergency Nurses: A&E Stories and learn more about one of Britain’s finest athletes in Kelly Holmes: Being Me.