Study: Viewers abandon video buffering more than 2 seconds

Everyone knows online users’ attention spans are short, but a new study shows most won’t wait much more than two seconds for an online video to start.

After two seconds of watching the buffer sign, viewers get frustrated and begin to leave. Each additional second of waiting results in a 5.8 percent increase in the rate of leaving, according to the study, authored by Ramesh K. Sitaraman of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and S. Shunmuga Krishnan, of Akamai Technologies.

But that’s not all – a user who experiences wait time on a video is also more likely to play less of the video and also less likely to come back to the site.

“Further, we show that a moderate amount of interruptions can decrease the average play time of a viewer by a significant amount. A viewer who experiences a rebuffer delay equal to 1% of the video duration plays 5% less of the video in comparison to a similar viewer who experienced no rebuffering. Finally, we show that a viewer who experienced failure is 2.32% less likely to revisit the same site within a week than a similar viewer who did not experience a failure,” the study explains.

The study collected and analysed a data set of more than 23 million video playbacks from 6.7 million unique viewers who watched a total of 216 million minutes of 102,000 videos over 10 days.

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