U.S. Online Video Market Soars in July to 21.4 Billion Videos Viewed

Yesterday, I talked about my new book, YouTube and Video Marketing: An Hour a Day, during Business Wire’s free webinar series. During the webinar, I cited comScore Video Metrix data for June that showed YouTube getting more unique viewers that month than the Super Bowl.

Greg-Jarboe-SES-5.jpg Today, comScore Video Metrix released July 2009 data showing that 158 million U.S. Internet users watched online video during the month, the largest audience ever recorded. Online video reached another all-time high in July with a total of 21.4 billion videos viewed during the month.

This means there are Super Bowl-sized audiences for online video each and every month. Oh, by the by, the more than 158 million viewers watched an average of 135 videos during the month of July. That’s some average!

Here are some of the other stats buried at the bottom of comScore’s press release:
* 81.0 percent of the total U.S. Internet audience viewed online video.
* The average online video viewer watched 500 minutes of video, or 8.3 hours.
* 120.3 million viewers watched 8.9 billion videos on YouTube.com — an average of 74.1 videos per viewer.
* 48.2 million viewers watched 518.6 million videos on MySpace.com — an average of only 10.8 videos per viewer.
* The average Hulu viewer watched 12.0 videos, but they totaled 1 hour and 13 minutes of videos per viewer.
* The duration of the average online video was 3.7 minutes.

So, what does this mean to search engine marketers?

About nine days ago, comScore qSearch announced there were 12.9 billion searches in July 2009 — on sites where search activity is observed. Yes, yes, Google ranked #1 with 9.2 billion searches that month. But, YouTube ranked #2 with 3.6 billion searches, ahead of Yahoo! with 2.7 billion searches, and Bing with 1.0 billion searches.

Now, as I mentioned during the Business Wire webinar, the search terms used at YouTube often differ from the search terms used at Google. For example, if you use the Google AdWords Keyword Tool, you’ll often find find people searching for “Steve Ballmer Video.” But, if you use the YouTube Keyword Suggestion Tool, you’ll find that people just look for “Steve Ballmer.” They already know they’ll find videos, so they don’t need to add “video” to a search term.

In addition, the Google algorithm is different from the YouTube algorithm.

As Google says, “We use more than 200 signals, including our patented PageRankā„¢ algorithm, to examine the entire link structure of the web and determine which pages are most important. We then conduct hypertext-matching analysis to determine which pages are relevant to the specific search being conducted. By combining overall importance and query-specific relevance, we’re able to put the most relevant and reliable results first.”

As YouTube says, “After determining the content of the video using our spidering technology, YouTube combines sophisticated text-matching techniques to find videos that are both important and relevant to your search. Our technology examines dozens of aspects of the video’s content (including number of hits and rating) to determine if it’s a good match for your query.”

So, optimizing video for YouTube search is different than optimizing web pages for Google search. This may seem perfectly obvious, but you’d be surprised by the number of people that are surprised to hear this for the first time.

So, while you try to figure out what — if anything — you should do differently to optimize your website for Bing, you might want to spend as much — or more — time trying to figure out what you should do to optimize your videos for YouTube. Oh, if they videos are on your website, then YouTube won’t find them. It doesn’t crawl sites looking for video to include in a search. If you haven’t uploaded your videos to YouTube, they won’t be found when one of the 3.6 billion search is conducted on the video sharing site next month.

I know, I know, that’s not what anyone told you back in 2004 when you started putting videos on your website — but YouTube didn’t exist back in 2004. And if you think that you can avoid creating a YouTube channel, check out HuluDotCom’s Channel on YouTube. Yep, even one of YouTube’s direct competitors is smart enough to upload some videos from Family Guy and The Simpson’s.

I actually talked about this a year ago at SES San Jose 2008 — after speaking at a session entitled, Video Search Engine Optimization (VSEO). In fact, I mentioned back then that YouTube.com accounted for more than 99 percent of all videos viewed at Google Sites, while Google Video accounted for less than 1 percent. So, the session should have been called “video optimization” or “YouTube optimization” instead of “video search engine optimization.”

Check out some of the other things I said in this interview with Li Evans.

VSEO – Video Search Engine Optimization – with Greg Jarboe at SES San Jose 2008

So, the online video market is soaring. YouTube is the market leader. And you need to upload your videos — and optimize them — for the YouTube Search algorithm.

Get it? Got it? Good.

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