One of the benefits of hosting thousands of business videos is that we have an opportunity to learn and track the patterns of how these videos are really being watched. What we've found is that there are a few very specific ways in which viewers watch commercial video. I'm going to focus on the three most common patterns and explain what each is trying to tell you about your video.
The Early Finisher was excited enough to click play but lost interest almost immediately. Most of the time this means that they didn't get what they were expecting, and expectations for the video are predominately set by the thumbnail. An easy fix is to change your still frame to something that provides a better explanation of what's in the video. Another common issue that creates an early finisher is the "slow start". Viewers expect instant gratification when watching video, especially when they're watching commercial videos. Keeping a title screen up for even just 5 seconds can easily cause 20% of your audience to leave.
The Skipper, just like his Gilligan's Island counterpart, is an under-appreciated player. This guy or gal skips throughout the video looking for an answer to a question or just for something that interests them. They're trying to find something interesting and sometimes they will (like the example below). The skipper is far more common on long videos. We've found that the best solution is to break up your videos into logical bite-sized pieces. For example, instead of having one long demo reel, our friends at Lilipip (an animation studio) showcase a number of shorter videos in one playlist. Helping people find what they want quickly is the key to keeping a skipper happy.
The Sherlock is a deeply engaged and inquisitive viewer. They are clearly trying to get something out of your video. This also means that they are highly interested in what you are providing. There's no fix for this because having a Sherlock is great! What you should do is focus on the areas the Sherlock is most interested in and decide if their interest is unique or an indication of larger interest. Do whatever you can to talk to your Sherlocks. We put the Olark chat widget onto our website (you can see it on the lower-right of this page) so that we can make sure that we engage with our most interested viewers.