The Internet can be a harsh place; if someone isn’t interested in you, they don’t let you down easy or sugarcoat to save your feelings. They simply click away, sometimes mid-conversation, sometimes before you’ve even gotten more than a few words out. And worse, you can’t even ask them why.

Or can you?

Only the toughest, smartest video marketers succeed in such a challenging environment. How do they do it? With attention span data. It’s your key to finding out what your audience truly thinks of your content.

First things first: You can’t please everyone.

Not every viewer who clicks on your video will watch to the end and become a customer. That’s okay. You don’t need 100% attention span from everyone. In fact, no matter how good your video is, you never had a chance of converting drop-offs who weren’t actually interested.

You simply need the people who are actually interested in your product to keep watching.

But, if you are losing more viewers during your videos than you think you should be, don’t just ignore the content and publish another and another and another video hoping one of them will perform well. Doing so will only clutter your library, make it harder for you to scale as your content and needs grow, and diminish your polished, professional brand in the eyes of potential and current customers. A library of redundant and useless videos will only drive your viewers away from your other, potentially top-performing content.

Instead, it’s a much better idea to use attention span data to edit and optimize your current videos to increase engagement. Don’t gasp and make that face at me – unless your name is Peter Jackson, you have no business trying to make people watch 9 hours of footage about walking.


With attention span data, editing isn’t scary, and the benefits are huge.

How can attention span data help?

Attention span data can help you figure out how your video content is performing, and why. An attention span chart for a video inside Vidyard could look something like this:


This chart shows the data for a product demo video created by marketing automation software company Act-On. The darker green color indicates that the original product demo video was over 24 minutes long, and only about 10% of viewers watched until the end.

After looking at this engagement data, Act-On knew what they had to do to increase engagement and retain more viewers: shorten the video. The lighter green color in the chart shows the attention span data for the edited version of the video. The video was shortened to just over 9 minutes long, and had an increased audience retention rate of more than 20%!

Total video length can be a significant factor for viewer drop-off; audiences feel they don’t have the time to watch long videos when a short one would do just as well. But length isn’t the only reason people may click away from your content.

Viewers dropping off at the beginning?

Look at the data to understand where you’re losing the significant portion of your audience. What is going on in your video during that time? If people are dropping off at the beginning of the video, perhaps the goal of your content is unclear; viewers may have clicked on it expecting to get different information than what was actually offered. In this case, your content may need an overhaul to realign it not only with your video strategy, but with the content journey you would like your audience to take as they move through the sales funnel.

Or, early drop-off may also be improved by simple edits like a change in title or thumbnail image to better explain what the video is about.

The average viewer’s attention span is now considered to be 8 seconds long, so long intros will also contribute to early drop-off rates. Cut out unnecessary intro shots or text. You can check out this post for more ideas on how to edit your video for short attention spans.

Or are they dropping off somewhere in the middle?

Now that you have a strong start, how is your content performing throughout the rest of your video? If your video is filled with a talking head and nothing else, no matter how good the message is, viewers will click away. Consider adding b-roll footage to your video. Interesting footage and good quality, well-suited music that fit your brand will increase engagement.

Perhaps your video data shows that viewers are dropping off at one specific point in your video. What’s going on in that moment? How can you tighten it up to move the viewer more quickly from point to point? Or, perhaps the data is telling you that the video should be broken up into two (or more) pieces of content so that the viewer isn’t bogged down with more than one key message.

Do you reference something in your video at the point where the audience is dropping off? For example, maybe you talk about an ebook available on your site. Viewers may be clicking off at this point in your video not because they aren’t interested in your content, but because they are searching for that ebook. This is where you can consider adding a pop-out call-to-action to your video; offer the audience a link to the ebook so they can view it after the video plays, rather than leaving altogether.

Are your viewers refusing to watch all the way to the end?

It’s true that many viewers won’t watch your video to the end. That’s why it’s vital to put your most important content at the beginning of the video to make sure that even if viewers drop off, they’re still engaging with your key message. But you don’t want people missing out on your final call-to-action; this CTA is what will help drive your audience further along your content journey, and through the sales funnel. So don’t wait to get the final message out there. Consider popping out your final CTA during the last ten seconds of your video, rather than waiting to display it until after the screen goes black.

Attention span data is your ear to the market; it’s your audience telling you what’s working and what’s not. No more assumptions, or just hoping your video will be a success. With this data, not only will your viewers enjoy your content, you’ll be sure to see impressive returns on your video marketing investment.

That should mean happy faces all around.


Emily Ross