Americans watched almost 52.4 billion online videos from desktops and notebooks in December 2013, surpassing the 50 billion mark for the first time on record, according to the latest figures from comScore. About half of the monthly growth could be attributed to a big increase in the number of videos viewed on Facebook, as comScore began counting Vine videos uploaded to Facebook and – less significantly – auto-play content in the News Feed. Strikingly, though, the bigger story may have been on the video ads side.
For the month, total video ad views on desktops and laptops reached more than 35.2 billion, an astonishing 32% increase from the prior month (26.8 billion). That was easily the highest total of the year – and is even more impressive considering it is almost 4 times the figure from the start of the year (9.1 billion). (2012 saw a bump in video ad views in December – to 11.5 billion – but not nearly to the extent of 2013′s bump.)
During the course of the year,the percentage of the online population reached by video ads grew from 50.5 in January to 55.6 in December. More significantly, though, the number of ads seen by the average viewer ballooned from 58.4 to 204.1.
In fact, the end-of-year spike means that during December, ads accounted for 4 in every 10 videos viewed, up from 36% in November. That’s a hefty rise considering the concurrent increase in video content views. As has been the case throughout the year, the increase in video ad views owes more to the frequency of ads per viewer than an increase in reach among the total US population. In fact, ads’ reach in December (55.6%) was slightly lower than in November (55.8%) – but viewers watched an incredible 204 ads each in December as opposed to 155 a month earlier.
AOL remained the top online video ad property in December, boosted by its acquisition of Adap.tv. AOL served roughly 4.3 billion ads, and was followed by LiveRail.com and Google Sites in a virtual dead heat (each at nearly 3.6 billion). In all, 9 properties delivered at least one billion ads.
After surrendering the second spot in the online video content property rankings in November, Facebook regained its hold of that position in December. The organic and inorganic factors detailed by comScore – the inclusion of a “significant volume” of Vine videos and (to a smaller degree) the rollout of the auto-play videos – boosted Facebook’s number of video views from 1.2 billion in November to 3.75 billion in December. The rankings, though, are based on unique viewers – which also grew for Facebook, from 66.2 million to 79.1 million.
Google remained the top property with 159.1 million unique viewers and 13.4 billion video views. Based on viewers, AOL took the third spot, followed by Yahoo Sites and NDN, though more video views occurred on NDN than on Yahoo sites.
Overall, comScore’s data indicates that 86.9% of online Americans watched video content in December. The duration of the average online content video shortened from 4.7 minutes to 4.2 minutes, likely due to the inclusion of the Vine views in the count. The duration of the average online video ad remained unchanged at 24 seconds.
The average online video viewer spent close to 19-and-a-half hours watching content during December, fairly unchanged from the prior month. Ads accounted for 5.7% of all time spent watching video online, up from 4.4% a month earlier.
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