Why YouTube is going long-form

It’s funny, I have always been a believer in long form video. Heck, today I put up a 30 minute video with the hottest mobile social network’s CEO (Bluepulse).

But why is YouTube going longform, which is what Silicon Alley Insider just reported?

Easy: it’s much tougher to monetize short videos of, say, kids doing skateboard tricks, than it is to put some ads into a long video like the ones I do at FastCompany.tv.

Advertisers also will pay a lot higher rates for those long-form ads.

Why?

Because someone who’ll watch a 30-minute video is HIGHLY ENGAGED. They are far more likely to become a customer than someone who just watches a two-minute entertaining video.

Here’s why: long videos are a filter. Only the most passionate and most interested people online will watch such a video. Those who aren’t interested wouldn’t even consider watching a long video.

Think about the video I just put up. I bet that out of the tens of thousands of people who read this post over the next day or so that only 5% will be interested in the topic of mobile social networks.

But, if you ARE interested enough in mobile social networks to spend 30 minutes to learn more, think about what that says and the liklihood that such a viewer will be responsive to advertisments, especially ones that are contextual. Imagine that another company building something for mobile users, like Brightkite, put an ad in that video. If you spent 30 minutes interested in mobile social networks, wouldn’t you spend 15 seconds hearing about a new mobile tool that’d add onto Bluepulse? You sure would (at least in aggregate).

But, what kind of audience would show up on a skateboarding video? How likely would they be interested in hearing about Brightkite? Not nearly as much.

So, as an advertiser, which one would you rather spend money on?

Longform wins and wins big.

Oh, and don’t even start thinking about the buying process. If you do, you’ll see why Gary Vaynerchuk is the most brilliant marketer out there right now for starting Wine Library TV. I’m going to do a whole post soon just on what Gary is getting that even Google and Facebook aren’t getting.

Oh #2. Mark Cuban basically just posted the same thing I did, but comes at it from a different angle.

Comments

  1. I agree that long form video engages the viewer and makes for better ad placement/conversion, however this could cause even more problems for GooTube. Long form pirated content often times stays off Youtube due to the barrier to entry of splitting the file into 10 minute bits, and creating a playlist (non searchable still! ughh).

    Mark Cuban’s point still stands, Youtube can’t monetize long-form video it doesn’t own the rights to.

  2. I agree that long form video engages the viewer and makes for better ad placement/conversion, however this could cause even more problems for GooTube. Long form pirated content often times stays off Youtube due to the barrier to entry of splitting the file into 10 minute bits, and creating a playlist (non searchable still! ughh).

    Mark Cuban’s point still stands, Youtube can’t monetize long-form video it doesn’t own the rights to.

  3. I agree that long form video engages the viewer and makes for better ad placement/conversion, however this could cause even more problems for GooTube. Long form pirated content often times stays off Youtube due to the barrier to entry of splitting the file into 10 minute bits, and creating a playlist (non searchable still! ughh).

    Mark Cuban’s point still stands, Youtube can’t monetize long-form video it doesn’t own the rights to.

  4. Totally agree on it. I guess that’s a thing we can learn from old media. My guess on the best duration of a format is about 20-40 minutes, just like TV. I’m also convinced that our TV show (which is also broadcast online) will have to come down from 2 hours a day. But the reasons for this are different.

    Also the art of advertisment (that’s a book title right there ;) ) is easier on a long show. Pre-roll on a 20 second video, not so much. Who’d watch that, even if it’s rather short?

  5. Totally agree on it. I guess that’s a thing we can learn from old media. My guess on the best duration of a format is about 20-40 minutes, just like TV. I’m also convinced that our TV show (which is also broadcast online) will have to come down from 2 hours a day. But the reasons for this are different.

    Also the art of advertisment (that’s a book title right there ;) ) is easier on a long show. Pre-roll on a 20 second video, not so much. Who’d watch that, even if it’s rather short?

  6. Totally agree on it. I guess that’s a thing we can learn from old media. My guess on the best duration of a format is about 20-40 minutes, just like TV. I’m also convinced that our TV show (which is also broadcast online) will have to come down from 2 hours a day. But the reasons for this are different.

    Also the art of advertisment (that’s a book title right there ;) ) is easier on a long show. Pre-roll on a 20 second video, not so much. Who’d watch that, even if it’s rather short?

  7. all great ideas robert. people that watch the longer videos self filter and you end up with exactly your deeply engaged audience that is much more disposed to opening their wallet. ;)

    sent from: fav.or.it [FID188565]

  8. all great ideas robert. people that watch the longer videos self filter and you end up with exactly your deeply engaged audience that is much more disposed to opening their wallet. ;)

    sent from: fav.or.it [FID188565]

  9. Does long-form video show higher conversion rates than short-form video? We’ve had both for long enough now to do some kind of comparison, surely?

    And surely BrightKite wouldn’t be advertising on the short-form skateboard video. A skateboard company would be advertising on that video.

    To be honest I push any video longer than 5 minutes off of my laptop screen and onto my living room television screen. Long-form video gets interrupted when you are in “laptop, work” mode and you end up not getting engaged.

  10. Does long-form video show higher conversion rates than short-form video? We’ve had both for long enough now to do some kind of comparison, surely?

    And surely BrightKite wouldn’t be advertising on the short-form skateboard video. A skateboard company would be advertising on that video.

    To be honest I push any video longer than 5 minutes off of my laptop screen and onto my living room television screen. Long-form video gets interrupted when you are in “laptop, work” mode and you end up not getting engaged.

  11. I watch long form videos on interesting subjects all the time, but I also watch 2 minute skateboard kids for fun. I mean we all like watching silly stuff once in a while. So I’m kinda split here.

  12. I watch long form videos on interesting subjects all the time, but I also watch 2 minute skateboard kids for fun. I mean we all like watching silly stuff once in a while. So I’m kinda split here.

  13. this is validation for all the naysayers on the long form videos…the value users place on a video is independent on the size of the file but the content in it.

    The web is an opt-in platform – if the user wants to watch and get the value they opt-in and long or short doesn’t matter. It’s the value of the content.

  14. this is validation for all the naysayers on the long form videos…the value users place on a video is independent on the size of the file but the content in it.

    The web is an opt-in platform – if the user wants to watch and get the value they opt-in and long or short doesn’t matter. It’s the value of the content.

  15. In an attempt to prove you wrong, I’ve posted a short-form video on this topic (at my personal blog – rizzn.com/blog).

    It isn’t that I think long-form isn’t a winner, Robert, but I think that the engagement factor is reliant on a lot more than show length.

  16. In an attempt to prove you wrong, I’ve posted a short-form video on this topic (at my personal blog – rizzn.com/blog).

    It isn’t that I think long-form isn’t a winner, Robert, but I think that the engagement factor is reliant on a lot more than show length.

  17. Mr. Scoble could you do a pole/vote on what you just mentioned if anyone would actually “watch” the video – it would be interesting to see if your theory holds true.

    Thanks.

  18. Mr. Scoble could you do a pole/vote on what you just mentioned if anyone would actually “watch” the video – it would be interesting to see if your theory holds true.

    Thanks.

  19. “Because someone who’ll watch a 30-minute video is HIGHLY ENGAGED. ”

    How is that going to work with today’s youth? The average scene of a typical television show is around seven seconds.

    Which leads to the conclusion that….. uh, umm. What’s trump? Uh, forgot what this post was about.

  20. “Because someone who’ll watch a 30-minute video is HIGHLY ENGAGED. ”

    How is that going to work with today’s youth? The average scene of a typical television show is around seven seconds.

    Which leads to the conclusion that….. uh, umm. What’s trump? Uh, forgot what this post was about.

  21. “T” I’m not sure that’s the point Scoble is making. He’s been rightly criticized for making long crappy videos. So he’s using this announcement to say “See! I’ve been validated!” But, as Mr. Furrier so accurately notes, it’s not the lenght that makes a difference, it’s the quality of the content. A long crappy video is a long crappy video . If I’m an advertiser I want my product associated with a quality product. Just because a video is long doesn’t mean the content is better.

  22. “T” I’m not sure that’s the point Scoble is making. He’s been rightly criticized for making long crappy videos. So he’s using this announcement to say “See! I’ve been validated!” But, as Mr. Furrier so accurately notes, it’s not the lenght that makes a difference, it’s the quality of the content. A long crappy video is a long crappy video . If I’m an advertiser I want my product associated with a quality product. Just because a video is long doesn’t mean the content is better.

  23. Vote me in for short form vids, I’m just not following on the long form video. If i can read a summary in 30 seconds, why do i need to sit through a long video? The first time the interview goes off subject or gets boring, I’m out. Perhaps that’s just me, but

    wait, this post is taking too long…

    =)

  24. Vote me in for short form vids, I’m just not following on the long form video. If i can read a summary in 30 seconds, why do i need to sit through a long video? The first time the interview goes off subject or gets boring, I’m out. Perhaps that’s just me, but

    wait, this post is taking too long…

    =)

  25. Vote me in for short form vids, I’m just not following on the long form video. If i can read a summary in 30 seconds, why do i need to sit through a long video? The first time the interview goes off subject or gets boring, I’m out. Perhaps that’s just me, but

    wait, this post is taking too long…

    =)

  26. YouTube will including long form videos like Lost, 60 Minutes, The Daily Show, NBA finals, etc.

    They are similar to what you put up on FastCompany.tv in that they both use a device with a light sensor in them to record the information. That is where the similarity ends.

  27. YouTube will including long form videos like Lost, 60 Minutes, The Daily Show, NBA finals, etc.

    They are similar to what you put up on FastCompany.tv in that they both use a device with a light sensor in them to record the information. That is where the similarity ends.

  28. YouTube will including long form videos like Lost, 60 Minutes, The Daily Show, NBA finals, etc.

    They are similar to what you put up on FastCompany.tv in that they both use a device with a light sensor in them to record the information. That is where the similarity ends.

  29. [sung to You're So Vain]

    You’re so vain, you probably think this YouTube feature’s about you.. You’re so vain …

  30. [sung to You're So Vain]

    You’re so vain, you probably think this YouTube feature’s about you.. You’re so vain …

  31. [sung to You're So Vain]

    You’re so vain, you probably think this YouTube feature’s about you.. You’re so vain …

  32. Not necessarily. The on-line cooking shows are very popular among the public likely to buy ingredients or tools for cooking.

  33. Not necessarily. The on-line cooking shows are very popular among the public likely to buy ingredients or tools for cooking.

  34. Not necessarily. The on-line cooking shows are very popular among the public likely to buy ingredients or tools for cooking.

  35. [...] Scobleizer — Tech geek blogger » Blog Archive Why YouTube is going long-form « Internet isn’t limited by space, Youtube users neither. And they’re right doing it. But there are some other reasons. Scoble provides us with one important point: “it’s much tougher to monetize short videos. To read! (tags: Scoble fastfwdinnovation youtube) [...]

  36. Um, I’m pretty sure they started out long-form. Then went to 10 minutes to deal with copyright infringement. And now that people are talking to them directly about wanting to upload longer content with permission to do so, going long form sort of is a natural consequence.

  37. Um, I’m pretty sure they started out long-form. Then went to 10 minutes to deal with copyright infringement. And now that people are talking to them directly about wanting to upload longer content with permission to do so, going long form sort of is a natural consequence.

  38. Um, I’m pretty sure they started out long-form. Then went to 10 minutes to deal with copyright infringement. And now that people are talking to them directly about wanting to upload longer content with permission to do so, going long form sort of is a natural consequence.

  39. It’s not just about ‘engagement’ Scoble, in fact many users just listen to content while doing other things.

    One reason is that they have lots of long form media to now add, INVENTORY exists already.

  40. It’s not just about ‘engagement’ Scoble, in fact many users just listen to content while doing other things.

    One reason is that they have lots of long form media to now add, INVENTORY exists already.

  41. It’s not just about ‘engagement’ Scoble, in fact many users just listen to content while doing other things.

    One reason is that they have lots of long form media to now add, INVENTORY exists already.

  42. Apples and oranges. I know a Scoble video of any length is more likely to contain something of value to me. But a YouTube video has a higher chance of being hardly worth the effort from the beginning unless it was recommended to me. So I’d rarely bother with a long video there unless I already knew what it was. It’s not the length, originally, but who it’s from and the subject matter. After that, the advertising hardly matters. Especially since I’d mentally be tuning that out.

  43. Apples and oranges. I know a Scoble video of any length is more likely to contain something of value to me. But a YouTube video has a higher chance of being hardly worth the effort from the beginning unless it was recommended to me. So I’d rarely bother with a long video there unless I already knew what it was. It’s not the length, originally, but who it’s from and the subject matter. After that, the advertising hardly matters. Especially since I’d mentally be tuning that out.

  44. There are so many variables here, that seeking validation just on account of length, is crazy thinking, eyeballs dot.crash accounting-like. And sometimes mere length is counterproductive, when you can say something in 8 minutes, why have one of your start-up egoists, self-worship-foam-at-the-mouth for 55 minutes? Even the most “highly engaged” can’t handle that torture.

    Don’t have the numbers? Claim that your audience is somehow superior, better than the common peasantry riff-raff, “more engaged” or “connected”, sounds good, but it’s just a sleight-of-hand trick to make advertisers THINK they are actually getting something, in spite of the horrible ratings. It’s a way to make metrics and demographics irrelevant, so you can cue up all the fluffy ‘social media’ analysts and consultants, to perform Svengali-like magic out of pure air, you know, like Jeremiah and ilk. Shoot up the town, take off with the money before the Sheriff rides in — which actually is quite nigh, as Web 2.0 isn’t making any coin.

    But here’s where it breaks down, the MORE “engaged”, the less tolerant they are of blubber, so your argument really backfires. The ones that aren’t as knowledgeable about such topic are more likely to watch hours and hours of bad interview slop. If you know the game, you can’t handle the filler or the fakers, and most of the Web 2.0 stone soup is pure fraud.

    All TV shows are the same length, yet some succeed and some don’t. When’s the last time you heard of a show becoming a hit because of how LONG it was? Long form doesn’t always work, (esp. given the short-attention span web audiences) nor does such, in any way guarantee your “connected” audiences.

    Content, content, content. Demographics, demographics, demographics. So basic commonsensical as to be redundant even stating it.

  45. There are so many variables here, that seeking validation just on account of length, is crazy thinking, eyeballs dot.crash accounting-like. And sometimes mere length is counterproductive, when you can say something in 8 minutes, why have one of your start-up egoists, self-worship-foam-at-the-mouth for 55 minutes? Even the most “highly engaged” can’t handle that torture.

    Don’t have the numbers? Claim that your audience is somehow superior, better than the common peasantry riff-raff, “more engaged” or “connected”, sounds good, but it’s just a sleight-of-hand trick to make advertisers THINK they are actually getting something, in spite of the horrible ratings. It’s a way to make metrics and demographics irrelevant, so you can cue up all the fluffy ‘social media’ analysts and consultants, to perform Svengali-like magic out of pure air, you know, like Jeremiah and ilk. Shoot up the town, take off with the money before the Sheriff rides in — which actually is quite nigh, as Web 2.0 isn’t making any coin.

    But here’s where it breaks down, the MORE “engaged”, the less tolerant they are of blubber, so your argument really backfires. The ones that aren’t as knowledgeable about such topic are more likely to watch hours and hours of bad interview slop. If you know the game, you can’t handle the filler or the fakers, and most of the Web 2.0 stone soup is pure fraud.

    All TV shows are the same length, yet some succeed and some don’t. When’s the last time you heard of a show becoming a hit because of how LONG it was? Long form doesn’t always work, (esp. given the short-attention span web audiences) nor does such, in any way guarantee your “connected” audiences.

    Content, content, content. Demographics, demographics, demographics. So basic commonsensical as to be redundant even stating it.

  46. Scoble, do you have data on how many people actually watch your long videos all the way through? I understand you all the “hits” data in the world. I’m more curious how you actually track viewership. If I’m a sponsor that’s what I want to know. Or are all the ads placed at the beginning?

  47. Scoble, do you have data on how many people actually watch your long videos all the way through? I understand you all the “hits” data in the world. I’m more curious how you actually track viewership. If I’m a sponsor that’s what I want to know. Or are all the ads placed at the beginning?

  48. Google’s entire youTube strategy has been bizarre. It seems like they did not have a solid plan when they first started out on this endeavor. It is obvious to even the casual observer that it is easier to advertise on long form videos. People who only have a 20 second attention span are not looking for advertisements.

  49. Google’s entire youTube strategy has been bizarre. It seems like they did not have a solid plan when they first started out on this endeavor. It is obvious to even the casual observer that it is easier to advertise on long form videos. People who only have a 20 second attention span are not looking for advertisements.

  50. I like the sgort form for two reasons.

    1) billions of people are going to watch short vids @ work, before bed, in between reading emails, during commercials. You get WAY more views. So if we can come up with a way to advertise on that we got something. Something more seamless than what they do on broadbandsports.com.

    2) I’m interested in Mobile Social Networks, but what do I need a 30 minute podcast for? you tell me bluepulse, i look it up and 5 minutes later I know what I need to know.

    I might watch the 30 minute video, but I’ll definitely play the 30 min audio podcast for the ride in to the office.

    -M

  51. I like the sgort form for two reasons.

    1) billions of people are going to watch short vids @ work, before bed, in between reading emails, during commercials. You get WAY more views. So if we can come up with a way to advertise on that we got something. Something more seamless than what they do on broadbandsports.com.

    2) I’m interested in Mobile Social Networks, but what do I need a 30 minute podcast for? you tell me bluepulse, i look it up and 5 minutes later I know what I need to know.

    I might watch the 30 minute video, but I’ll definitely play the 30 min audio podcast for the ride in to the office.

    -M

  52. @Not God

    It seems consumers of video don’t want to watch ads at all. Why is Tivo and other DVR’s so popular? Why is there such a market for downloading shows from iTunes and such? Which makes me wonder why Scoble would want to punish his audience even more by polluting his crappy long videos with ads?

  53. @Not God

    It seems consumers of video don’t want to watch ads at all. Why is Tivo and other DVR’s so popular? Why is there such a market for downloading shows from iTunes and such? Which makes me wonder why Scoble would want to punish his audience even more by polluting his crappy long videos with ads?

  54. @Not God

    It seems consumers of video don’t want to watch ads at all. Why is Tivo and other DVR’s so popular? Why is there such a market for downloading shows from iTunes and such? Which makes me wonder why Scoble would want to punish his audience even more by polluting his crappy long videos with ads?

  55. What matters most to viewers is quality content. If you keep their attention for at least the first couple minutes, I’m sure you’ll engage them through the whole video. Best way of monetizing is to discreetly place the ads within the video. Just like how movies and music videos have done. Honestly, nobody wants to see ads. Doing it subconsciously works best for both worlds.

  56. What matters most to viewers is quality content. If you keep their attention for at least the first couple minutes, I’m sure you’ll engage them through the whole video. Best way of monetizing is to discreetly place the ads within the video. Just like how movies and music videos have done. Honestly, nobody wants to see ads. Doing it subconsciously works best for both worlds.

  57. What matters most to viewers is quality content. If you keep their attention for at least the first couple minutes, I’m sure you’ll engage them through the whole video. Best way of monetizing is to discreetly place the ads within the video. Just like how movies and music videos have done. Honestly, nobody wants to see ads. Doing it subconsciously works best for both worlds.

  58. Most of the responses I have seen to this post assume there is only one type of long form video. That’s just not true! – And the format used will have a lot to do with the way the audience will respond to that longer video .

    In fact, YouTube has added two types of long form video in the last week.
    * “YouTube Screening Room” is going to air longer films that Google is acquiring from professional producers.

    * “YouTube Annotations” lets the rest of us post longer format stuff on YouTube. The trick here is that you need to use new YouTube tools to embed links that jump you from chapter to chapter. This approach will attract a very different type of audience than a 30 minute movie you watch front to back.

    I go into more detail about this in my post at CamcorderInfo.com (my posts are on the lower right of the home page).

  59. Most of the responses I have seen to this post assume there is only one type of long form video. That’s just not true! – And the format used will have a lot to do with the way the audience will respond to that longer video .

    In fact, YouTube has added two types of long form video in the last week.
    * “YouTube Screening Room” is going to air longer films that Google is acquiring from professional producers.

    * “YouTube Annotations” lets the rest of us post longer format stuff on YouTube. The trick here is that you need to use new YouTube tools to embed links that jump you from chapter to chapter. This approach will attract a very different type of audience than a 30 minute movie you watch front to back.

    I go into more detail about this in my post at CamcorderInfo.com (my posts are on the lower right of the home page).

  60. It’s nothing to do with long form or short form. It’s entirely whether the video is engaging. People will quit a boring video whether it’s long or short. People will continue to watch an interesting video, whether it’s long or short.

    To say that a long form is inherently better than a short form is like saying that a novel is better than a short story.

    Measuring creative quality by size completely misses the point. if it were true, then the biggest statues would obviously be more artistic. But that argument is doesn’t hold any water.

  61. It’s nothing to do with long form or short form. It’s entirely whether the video is engaging. People will quit a boring video whether it’s long or short. People will continue to watch an interesting video, whether it’s long or short.

    To say that a long form is inherently better than a short form is like saying that a novel is better than a short story.

    Measuring creative quality by size completely misses the point. if it were true, then the biggest statues would obviously be more artistic. But that argument is doesn’t hold any water.

  62. interesting…I never thought that deeply about long form vs. short form….after reading your post, I must agree; however, couldn’t you also argue the type who watch 2 minute videos are more hyper active therefore they click more things( i.e. advertisements)

  63. interesting…I never thought that deeply about long form vs. short form….after reading your post, I must agree; however, couldn’t you also argue the type who watch 2 minute videos are more hyper active therefore they click more things( i.e. advertisements)

  64. Depending on my mood and how much time I have, I can watch either short or long videos. If the video is interesting to me, I’m going to take the time to watch it.

  65. Depending on my mood and how much time I have, I can watch either short or long videos. If the video is interesting to me, I’m going to take the time to watch it.

  66. just to play devil’s advocate… do you think people have the attention span these days for longer content? think twitter, your favorite, people are addicted because of its ‘short form’, not withstanding its non-biz model other than collecting eyeballs and having someone buy them.

  67. just to play devil’s advocate… do you think people have the attention span these days for longer content? think twitter, your favorite, people are addicted because of its ‘short form’, not withstanding its non-biz model other than collecting eyeballs and having someone buy them.

  68. just to play devil’s advocate… do you think people have the attention span these days for longer content? think twitter, your favorite, people are addicted because of its ‘short form’, not withstanding its non-biz model other than collecting eyeballs and having someone buy them.

  69. The remake of King Kong didn’t do very well, ‘long format’ and all, well plus, it was horrible picture with a terrible script, and in it’s case, the ‘length’ was cited as a seriously negative factor.

    Good books, become great with the right amount of editing, not too hot, not too cold.

  70. The remake of King Kong didn’t do very well, ‘long format’ and all, well plus, it was horrible picture with a terrible script, and in it’s case, the ‘length’ was cited as a seriously negative factor.

    Good books, become great with the right amount of editing, not too hot, not too cold.

  71. The remake of King Kong didn’t do very well, ‘long format’ and all, well plus, it was horrible picture with a terrible script, and in it’s case, the ‘length’ was cited as a seriously negative factor.

    Good books, become great with the right amount of editing, not too hot, not too cold.

  72. i don’t think youtube will have a good chance of having long-form vidoes on there.. myself, i like short-form videos but thats just me :P but for long-form videos, i just go some where else where the servers can handle it and the owner can watch over it

  73. i don’t think youtube will have a good chance of having long-form vidoes on there.. myself, i like short-form videos but thats just me :P but for long-form videos, i just go some where else where the servers can handle it and the owner can watch over it

  74. i don’t think youtube will have a good chance of having long-form vidoes on there.. myself, i like short-form videos but thats just me :P but for long-form videos, i just go some where else where the servers can handle it and the owner can watch over it

  75. When was the last time you read a long article on the web? No way I’ll watch long video’s… and I consider myself to be ‘highly engaged’. Guess youTubes monetization has a long way to go yet

  76. When was the last time you read a long article on the web? No way I’ll watch long video’s… and I consider myself to be ‘highly engaged’. Guess youTubes monetization has a long way to go yet

  77. I have tried uploading a 30 minute video to youtube lately and i recieved a message from them saying that i cannot promote a website without proving to them im the owner of the site but i couldnt prove that as i am only the marketing director of the site and have no access details. Youtube is going weird these days.

    Debbie

  78. I have tried uploading a 30 minute video to youtube lately and i recieved a message from them saying that i cannot promote a website without proving to them im the owner of the site but i couldnt prove that as i am only the marketing director of the site and have no access details. Youtube is going weird these days.

    Debbie