We’ve all been there… sitting on YouTube, streaming a killer video and then BAM – the spinning wheel of death. Buffering is not only frustrating to a user, but it can seriously hurt the business that created the video in the first place.
According to a study published at the University of Massachusetts by Ramesh Sitaraman, video & site buffering can kill a user’s attention span. According to NPR, the study looked at close to 6.7 million viewers who watched almost 23 million videos play. That’s around 216 million minutes of video time. They found that “viewers are less tolerant to startup delay for a short video such as a news clip than a long video such as an hour-long TV episode”.
They also found that users give up in 2 seconds if a video starts buffering. Two seconds! This is a serious issue for businesses with short advertisements who are looking to use video to hook a user on their product or service.
So what do you do?
Well, a big problem has to do with bandwidth. According to NPR, the major video hosting providers (like Wistia, YouTube, and Vimeo) are working hard behind the scenes to help solve the bandwidth constraint issue. While your video is happily hosted on their site, they are constantly chopping it up into segments of varying quality so that they can swap the segments in and out as the video streams. So, if there is a ton of bandwidth available, your video is free-flowing with no issues, but if bandwidth is limited, lower-quality pieces will be swapped in as substitute.
So in short, the issue outlined above is one of the main reasons why we always encourage our clients to host their video on one of the major providers, even if they plan on self-hosting on their site. And, hey! Hosting on a major site will also make your video more accessible to the masses. Win – win in my book.