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TubeMogul Discovery Analysis

February 12, 2009

TubeMogul just released their latest research on how videos are discovered.

Over 2 months, TubeMogul analyzed over 35MM video streams and found that the most common discovery method is direct navigation on a video site (45%). This makes sense since big distributors like YouTube are destination sites that facilitate discovery (e.g., related videos, their own search, etc).

For site traffic referrers, the categories break down as follows:

  • Search engines: 11.18%
  • Social networks: 3.66%
  • Social bookmarking sites: 3.19%
  • Video search engines: 0.63%
  • Email/IM: 0.05%
  • Everything else (almost all blogs): 80.88% of all referred traffic.

This actually makes sense to me. Video search engines (while a nice idea) is unlikely to comprise a large share of the discovery process, because 1) blogs and other websites already act as filters and fills the search gap, 2) many streams are likely secondary/complementary to other content on a site, and 3) the big video sites already fills the need for search with their own search feature.

People go to blogs as filters for content. If I want to know about a particular topic or am looking to be entertained, I’ll go to the best blog I know for that particular category. The blog chooses what is relevant for me to watch. I don’t have the time or the patience to do my own video search for a topic when I know that top blogs will make sure I’m aware of relevant videos.

Second, a lot of videos serve as secondary or complementary footage for other content. For example, if I’m looking for information on the new palm pre, I’m more likely to go to a niche mobile site for content. Once there, a video may enhance the content on the site (check out as an example. I met this guy at an entrepreneur’s meetup last night). A lot of the streams in the study may be a result of complementary viewing to other content.

Finally, I’m not sure how important video search is when (as the study shows), most people can go straight to YouTube or Hulu to do a search in their own ecosystem. When only a few big players exist, it seems that search outside of these distributors becomes less relevant.

UPDATE: Liz has a post on Google Search as it related to videos. The other key reason why video-only search engines can’t find share is because people are already using regular search engines like Google in discovering videos.

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