Guess what? You’re working too hard for views.
An advertising company decided to run a test recently. The company, Solve, wanted to demonstrate that views are more or less worthless barometers of anything so they created literally the most uninteresting video ever — a blank one. No sound, no images, just dead space, devoid of anything for four minutes. And it currently has over 110,000 views.
“Among many marketers and agency peers, ‘views’ have become the holy grail,” Solve CEO John Colasanti said to Adweek. “Views offer a seemingly simple and easy way to measure the power of content. This is a false indicator of success, particularly when a video receives a high number of views, but a low level of likes. Often the video didn’t truly go viral; the view metric was purchased.”
The Blank Video Project, as Solve is calling it, has no likes though … or, curiously, no dislikes. So did no one conscious actually watch the video? Solve thinks mostly not — that people were letting something play in the background or expecting that an actual video was loading.
See, the company advertised the video through the TrueView ad program — meaning that it played on various channels as one of those video ads that you can skip after five seconds, but many people didn’t. According to Adweek’s metrics, “In the end, the video generated more than 100,000 views for an investment of just $1,400—or a remarkably affordable 1.4 cents per view. The ad was served 227,819 times, meaning about 46 percent of viewers watched for at least 30 seconds. Solve says viewers on average watched 61 percent (or 2:26) of the video, and 22 percent made it all the way to the end—seemingly solid engagement metrics. Nearly 1 percent even clicked through to the website.”
Basically the video is a demonstration of how cheaply you can buy views. As Adweek reports, the better metrics to track on a per-view basis are the likes and dislikes. They actively show engagement with videos, something far more important to advertising dollars than artificial views … or at least it will be important to advertising dollars in the future.