UK Internet users spend 240m hours per month watching video

In September 2011, the UK Internet population made over 785 million visits to online video websites – an increase of 36 per cent year-on-year, according to analysis from competitive intelligence firm Experian Hitwise.

According to Experian’s report – Online Video: Bringing Social Media to Life – the majority of growth in this space has been driven by YouTube, now the third most popular website in the UK after Google UK and Facebook. YouTube dominates with 70 per cent of all visits to online video sites. Every month, UK Internet users spend 184 million hours watching YouTube content, with an average session time of 20 minutes.

Ranking second and third are the VoD services from BBC iPlayer and ITV Player, which now represent a significant percentage of overall Internet visits to video sites. Niche sites have also seen a huge increase in traffic, including videozer (+853 per cent), MSN Video (+913 per cent) and Hulu (+123 per cent).

James Murray, Marketing Research Analyst at Experian Hitwise, remarked that there were now more visits to video websites every month than to email providers, travel or sports sites, which represented a huge opportunity to the savvy marketer. “The average Internet user will make 18 visits to video sites a month and almost half will visit at least three different sites. While YouTube dominates the market, the increase in traffic to video-on-demand and more niche sites demonstrates that content is what matters most to today’s Internet users and they’ll go to whatever site has the content they’re most interested in viewing,” he advised.

Music, TV, films and gaming are the top four search topics that drove consumers to video websites. Music is the biggest driver of traffic, accounting for 33 per cent of search clicks.

Seventeen per cent of search clicks to online content were for TV-related search terms; specifically EastEnders, Britain’s Got Talent, X-Factor and South Park, while gamers were looking for trailers for new games and walkthrough cheats.

“As people consume more video content online, brands should increasingly be looking to use video as a core part of their digital strategy,” recommended Murray. Online video is a very diverse media that can be used to build brand awareness, to bring traffic to a website, as an educational tool to demonstrate a product or service, as a customer service channel, or as a way to attract a completely new online audience”.

“Domino’s and British Airways are excellent examples of how brands can use YouTube as a customer service channel. Others, such as Yeo Valley, have created successful multi-channel advertising campaigns by repurposing TV adverts online, where the online advert had a potent effect in generating media awareness and enabled the company to reach a completely new audience”.

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