Well, the latest and greatest study has confirmed what I could have told you based off my personal preferences and experience: You’ve got 2 seconds to load a video (or webpage) or the viewer will click away out of frustration.

bufferingBuffering kills comedic timing, and according to a study published by University of Massachusetts professor Ramesh Sitaraman, it kills attention spans, too “What we found was that people are pretty patient for up to two seconds,” Sitaraman says. “If you start out with, say, 100 users — if the video hasn’t started in five seconds, about one-quarter of those viewers are gone, and if the video doesn’t start in 10 seconds, almost half of those viewers are gone.” If a video doesn’t load in time, people get frustrated and click away. This may not come as a shock, but until now it hadn’t come as an empirically supported fact, either.

In Video-Streaming Rat Race, Fast Is Never Fast Enough

Here are a few more tips, based on my personal preference:

  • If your video is too long (over 2 minutes), I’m out of there.
  • If your video doesn’t come with a recap so I don’t have to watch it, I’m out of there.
  • If you video doesn’t get straight to the point, I’m out of there.
  • If your video is loaded with ads, I’d better get rewarded on the flip side, or I won’t come back.

Video is great. But you don’t want it to become a gimmick.

Sometimes I just want the information and the facts and the the moment I see a video, I’m out of there. I might be in a place where I don’t want to, or perhaps I really shouldn’t, watch a video. I might not want to invest the time to buffer and watch a video when there is not guarantee that what you are about to say is spot-on the topic I am researching.

And I don’t need an overly produced and scripted video.

For whatever reason, I came to your site for information. I may or may not want to watch a video. And while video does add interest, for me, I’m most likely looking for facts that I can use. And it’s pretty hard to print out and site from a video.

Add all of those barriers to buffering that lasts more than 2 seconds, and you’ve lost me before you had the chance to say hello.