In a recent poll, over half liked salted caramel ice cream. Therefore less than 50 percent didn’t like it. Or to put it another way, one of the two people asked preferred salted caramel, the other wanted plain vanilla, but given no choice didn’t actually mind.

Statistics are wonderful things. Like Spanx, they have the ability to adapt to all sorts of situations and to create an illusion. Statistics can show the average, or they can highlight the middle. They can be positive or negative. And used incorrectly, they are confusing.

The Internet is awash with statistics about the power of video.  They shout at you constantly. Statistics say video has a 90% conversion rate from viewing to making a sale! 60% of people watch all the videos on your website! At least 74.3% of all 35 year olds are watching your videos!

Statistics about video should be treated like any other number. The popular phrase ‘eight out of ten cats’ has to be caveated with the phrase ‘who expressed a preference.’ That tells the whole story of the statistic.

Identifying meaningful statistics in the world of video is important. The first is to look at the source. Many statistics are simply not sourced – they’re just repeated with the hope the more they’re said, the more like they’re to become fact.  It’s an admirable way of thinking and worked for Alesha Dixon (the more she insisted she was a celebrity, the more people believed it) but it doesn’t give credibility to statistics.

And even when the statistic is sourced, check the reliability. One classic example is the oft-quoted statistic of Dr James McQuivey that “a minute of video is worth 1.8 million words.” Dr McQuivey is from Forrester Research, so that number sounds credible.  Forrester Research is a credible institution, so what’s not to like? The problem is, the statistic was misquoted once, and then the mis-quote was re-quoted as fact, and the myth perpetuates (see Alesha Dixon).

Video Statistics

Video is a fast-moving world.  The phrase ‘so last year’ might have been invented for video, so statistics have a sell-by date. Something that was true five years ago about video is probably not true now. Take the example of Brazil  – five years ago, the country was a leading light in the emerging markets with a growing economy. Now it’s in deep, deep recession. Check the providence of statistics before use, and like 10-day-old milk, discard before it turns into yogurt.

At Tallboy, we’ve done some sourcing of video statistics.

Receiving and processing information:

  • Videos are best for people to receive information: 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual, and visuals are processed 60,000 times faster in the brain than text
  • 40% of people will respond better to visual information than plain text
  • After watching a video, comprehension and retention of the information increases by 50% compared to reading text

(Sources: 3M Corporation, Zabisco & Wharton School of Business)

Driving content:

  • Visual content drives engagement. Just one month after the introduction of Facebook timeline for brands, visual content — photos and videos — saw a 65% increase in engagement
  • Out of the people who watch an online video, 46% will take action, with 26% looking for more information about the subject of the video and 15% visiting the company website
  • 85% of the US Internet audience watches videos online
  • In the US, the 25-34 age group watches the most online videos, and adult males spend 40% more time watching videos on the internet than females
  • 700 YouTube videos are shared on Twitter every minute

(Sources: Simply Measured, Online Publishing Association & YouTube)


  • Video will represent 80-90% of all global Internet traffic by 2019
  • By 2019, 1 million minutes of video will be watched on the Internet every second
  • 80% of businesses believe video content provides a competitive edge
  • Video viewing on Facebook grew from 4 billion views a day in April 2015 to 8 billion per day in November 2015

(Sources: Cisco & Cass Business School)