edit 3 sep 15, video now at 1.1 billion views at 3.16/4.32 = 72%
Now all the Taylor Swift Blank Space hype has died down a bit, I'm finally able to unfry my brain and write this post.
Now all the Taylor Swift Blank Space hype has died down a bit, I'm finally able to unfry my brain and write this post.
Call it what you will, but if you get caught up with a #swifty experience you have some great fun, some laughs, enjoy the many moments and wake up singing the darn tune (yes, that last bit def happened to me).
It seems with Blank Space, Taylor has made the almost perfect video to study YouTube Audience
Retention and Average View Duration.
I had no grand plan for this, I stumbled across the data by accident on 15 November then tracked it ever since. At that point the views were at 36 million, average view at 4:14 which was 93.4%.
I was like wow, what's going on here - so I stopped writing two other blog posts and got to work.
This page you're reading is a learning resource, albeit a mini case study that delves into the elements of the video like: what you see on screen, the audio and music you hear, how the video is made like the skillful transitions and why most people cannot stop watching all of it.
This post is not a showbiz article, so if that's what you want - stop reading and go somewhere else.
But, if you do stay and I hope you do, you'll definitely learn something. I would say mostly how to watch a video, how to evaluate it and how to think about making a good video of your own.
The phrase I want to work in here is, faster than real life. You'll see why later..
Coming up, you will learn
- Audience Retention for Blank Space peaked at a whopping 94%
- There are 153 clips that make up the music video
- Each clip has an average duration of 1.538 secs
- On looking at Taylor's VEVO Channel, audience retention is 59%
- Taylor's video Everything, has the second highest retention of 80%
Posts in the Audience Retention Series
3 Dec 14
2 Dec 14
25 Nov 14
24 Nov 14
11 Nov 14
25 Oct 14
11 May 14
|clips 1 to 4 on timeline|
Let's get started and follow this through from the upload on 10 November 2014 to today 24 Nov (regular readers will now I update posts like this, that's why I date parts of it).
I've made three post on this topic already, if you are new do some catching up - this post will still be here.
Audience Retention and Average View Duration. YouTube is brilliant at throwing a lot of data our way (if the account holder makes it public).
As a start point, the entire video is 4:32 in length, with the music track element running from 0:00 to 3:54. From 3:55 to 4:33, there are few clips showing the App experience. For those people who have not seen the video, then watch it a few times and come back here.
Here's where it gets interesting - the average view duration right now is 4:09/4:32 = 92%. At 60
million views, it was 4:15 = 94%
To get a 94% average, parts of the video must have been watched at higher than 100%. Or a severe drop off at near the end of the video. Anyone looking at sitting exams knows this, you work all year at 70%, then one paper slips in at 62% and your average on getting that elusive first is null and void (if you need it see average at wiki).
As the music element ends at 3:54 (86%), we may expect the average view to stop there - ok fair enough it doesn't. There's no point in saying how fantastic that is, until we look at some other examples.
There are two places to look - Taylor Swift at VEVO and some other high level Music Videos at Youtube.
Taylor VEVO has 68 videos, I have data on 35 of those (if a video is about two years old, there is no average view data).
Table 1 shows an average view of 2:07, average upload length of 3:34 and an 59% Audience Retention. Everything, which is the 8th most watched video on the channel has 80% -- making Blank Space all the more special as it has 92-94%. Shake it Off has 77% (270m views).
|153 clips on a video timeline|
On googling the most watched music videos, we see - Miley's Wrecking Ball with 2:46/3:41 = 75%. Katy Perry's Roar 70% and Dark Horse 78% (both with about 700m views each). There is a top ten too.
At this stage, if we vaguely agree the Blank Space is looking high at 94%, then let's see what elements we have and what made the audience stick around.
A super easy way, simply watch the video a few times and think about what you remember. The media picked up on that lovely sport cars being hit with a golf club or how Taylor cuts the nipples out of a shirt.
The Deconstruct is a way to break down any video into it's component parts. In this case, I've loaded the mp4 into a video editor and patiently added markers. Another way is to watch the video and count how many clips or transitions there are.
Remember, this post is written as a learning tool for wannabe singers, videographers and people interested in making something truly special. I will add, I feel quite dirty having to break down a work of art and peek behind the scenes - but we all do this, otherwise I'm not sure we would achieve anything new.
There are 153 clips (or scenes) from 0:00 to 3:54 (see Table 2 below). The average clip length is
1.538 seconds, where the first third of the video, we have 1.795, second third as 1.731 and the last third of 1.089.
This shows, in the classic storytelling model, that shorter clips near the end add to the tension and the climax. Remember any writer knows, long sentences are romantic while short sharp sentences add suspense. The same is true of video making - especially when telling a story from multiple camera viewpoints appearing to be faster than real life.
Here's a chart on that, we can see how the clips appear as a set of rolling hills. In case you're wondering the two longest clips (48 and 49) are when Taylor is happiest hanging a picture and carving names on a tree.
While the shortest set of clips are when Boys only want love if it's torture, Don't say I didn't say I didn't warn you (from 3:00) and just before the infamous golf club comes out.
Let me highlight a few more golden moments in the editing. The lead slide in this post has six iconic images. The first is Taylor wearing an oversized 1920s headband while sat on a bed holding a cat - this is one image that cements the video for me (at 0:08).
The second image shows happiness (at 1:16), with Taylor running - it's only on screen for 2 secs. When the phone is cheekily help over the water, that image is on screen for just 0.52 secs - we hardly see it at all, just enough to see the smile and the wave (2:15).
For an effective transition at 0:25, Taylor is looking to the left with an outstretched arm, we see Sean looking back, then Taylor again sat at the other end of the table - notice how the frames match (I have the slide and mix here).
A sharp eye will also notice how the camera rarely moves. If it does move, it's not that much - there just isn't the time. Each frame is a work of art in itself, you don't have to have a big budget to achieve this, rather a clear vision and some tough timing with discipline. In any writing or video making, just ensure you have more than you need and don't be scared to hit the delete key.
Conclusion You will have looked at some data and merged that with some qualitative hunches you may already have. The reason I've spent this amount of time on just one video, is not as it's had lots of views, but as the video has retained a very high percentage of it's audience. So, the big question - do we have enough evidence to reach a balanced conclusion? Of course the video is only fourteen days old, so the more data will emerge.
How I watch most videos at youtube I use the brilliant Chrome extension: Video Speed Controller (built by Google's +Ilya Grigorik) . That allows any video to increase or decrease in speed (using the keyboard or mouse, of course many youtube players allow this too). I always watch videos at about x1.6, so a 5.00 minute upload I can watch in 3.12 ..
With Blank Space, I have never sped up, got bored or distracted - the video appears to run at breakneck speed, much faster than real life. It uses a high number of clips (39 a minute), even if you mute the speakers, the video is still easily watchable - it tells a story.
As always, let's talk - for my next posts I have more of the same on this topic. earlier today, I saw some baloney posted claiming Minecraft had views of billions and took me no time at all to see 7% audience retention.
Here are a few videos, for fans like +Christina Warren - this is a must ..
Playlist 1, Blank Space 2, Taylor at BBC #die #ripme 3, Swiftamine 4 Shake it off
Table 1 - Taylor Swift VEVO Average View Duration for 35 videos
|Title||Views||Average View||Total time||average/ total||Percentage|
|blank space (no13)||85,635,541||04:09||04:32||0.92||91.5|
|shake it off (no2)||270m||03:05||04:01||0.77||76.8|
|Fav CA Fem||0.492m||00:25||00:35||0.71||71.4|
|Fav CA Alb||0.391m||00:25||00:35||0.71||71.4|
|I knew you (no4)||200m||03:45||05:58||0.63||62.8|
|Red Carpet Int||0.940m||01:06||02:04||0.53||53.2|
|We are Live||5.8m||02:12||03:24||0.65||64.7|
|You belong Live||2.5m||02:21||03:53||0.61||60.5|
|Pt 7 Love||0.8m||02:01||04:30||0.45||44.8|
|Pt 6 Love||0.6m||02:13||04:16||0.52||52.0|
|Pt 5 Love||1.5m||01:49||04:14||0.43||42.9|
|Pt 4 Love||0.5m||01:09||03:08||0.37||36.7|
|Pt 3 Love||0.6m||01:05||02:20||0.46||46.4|
|Pt 2 Love||0.6m||01:18||02:42||0.48||48.1|
|Pt 1 Love||3.3m||00:46||02:13||0.35||34.6|
|We are never||247m||no data||03:35||no data||no data|
|We are n lyric||32m||no data||03:15||no data||no data|
Table 2 - Blank Space, Average Clip length and lyric timeline
|Time clip starts||Clip||length in secs||Taylor Swift "Blank Space" lyrics|
|9.760||5||0.880||0.08||Nice to meet you|
|12.280||7||1.160||Where you been?|
|14.240||9||0.640||I could show you incredible things|
|16.240||11||1.720||Magic, madness, heaven, sin|
|19.200||13||1.400||Saw you there and I thought oh my god|
|23.080||15||2.000||Look at that face, you look like my next mistake|
|27.080||17||1.320||0.27||Love's a game, wanna play|
|28.400||18||2.840||0.28||New money, suit and tie|
|31.240||19||1.680||I can read you like a magazine|
|32.920||20||1.320||Ain't it funny rumors fly|
|34.240||21||0.760||And I know you heard about me|
|35.000||22||1.560||So hey, let's be friends|
|36.560||23||1.040||I'm dying to see how this one ends|
|37.600||24||1.280||Grab your passport and my hand|
|45.520||28||2.800||0.47||I could make the bad guys good for a weekend|
|48.320||29||2.720||0.48||So it's gonna be forever|
|53.320||31||1.000||Or it's gonna go down in flames|
|54.320||32||1.040||You can tell me when it's over|
|55.360||33||1.560||If the high was worth the pain|
|56.920||34||1.520||Got a long list of ex-lovers|
|58.440||35||1.360||They'll tell you I'm insane|
|59.800||36||0.840||Cause you know I love the players|
|66.280||42||1.880||1.07||And you love the game|
|68.160||43||2.560||1.08||Cause we're young and we're reckless|
|70.720||44||2.680||We'll take this way too far|
|73.400||45||1.240||It'll leave you breathless|
|74.640||46||1.480||Or with a nasty scar|
|76.120||47||2.040||Got a long list of ex-lovers|
|78.160||48||4.840||They'll tell you I'm insane|
|83.000||49||5.400||But I got a blank space baby|
|88.400||50||1.800||1.28||And I'll write your name|
|98.480||56||2.360||I could show you incredible things|
|100.840||57||1.200||Stolen kisses, pretty lies|
|102.040||58||1.320||You're the king baby I'm your queen|
|103.360||59||2.280||Find out what you want|
|105.640||60||2.440||Be that girl for a month|
|108.080||61||4.640||But the worst is yet to come|
|114.680||63||0.720||Screaming, crying, perfect storms|
|115.400||64||2.840||I could make all the tables turn|
|118.240||65||1.760||Rose garden filled with thorns|
|120.000||66||3.080||Keep you second guessing like oh my god|
|123.080||67||1.080||Who is she? I get drunk on jealousy|
|124.160||68||1.320||But you'll come back each time you leave|
|129.960||72||3.560||Cause darling I'm a nightmare dressed like a daydream|
|133.520||73||1.720||2.13||So it's gonna be forever|
|135.240||74||0.520||Or it's gonna go down in flames|
|135.760||75||0.760||You can tell me when it's over|
|136.520||76||1.440||If the high was worth the pain|
|137.960||77||1.120||Got a long list of ex-lovers|
|139.080||78||0.840||They'll tell you I'm insane|
|139.920||79||1.320||Cause you know I love the players|
|150.880||85||2.800||2.32||And you love the game|
|153.680||86||2.360||2.33||Cause we're young and we're reckless|
|156.040||87||1.640||We'll take this way too far and leave you breathless|
|157.680||88||1.800||Or with a nasty scar|
|159.480||89||0.880||Got a long list of ex-lovers|
|160.360||90||2.320||They'll tell you I'm insane|
|162.680||91||2.280||But I got a blank space baby|
|171.200||96||1.520||2.52||And I'll write your name|
|172.720||97||2.480||2.53||Boys only want love if it's torture|
|178.720||102||1.080||Don't say I didn't say I didn't warn you|
|183.760||108||0.600||Boys only want love if it's torture|
|192.080||119||1.080||3.12||Don't say I didn't say I didn't warn you|
|193.160||120||2.120||3.13||So it's gonna be forever|
|199.200||124||0.920||Or it's gonna go down in flames|
|200.120||125||1.120||You can tell me when it's over|
|201.240||126||1.800||If the high was worth the pain|
|203.040||127||0.520||Got a long list of ex-lovers|
|203.560||128||1.000||They'll tell you I'm insane|
|204.560||129||1.280||Cause you know I love the players|
|212.080||133||1.400||3.32||And you love the game|
|213.480||134||0.800||3.33||Cause we're young and we're reckless|
|216.000||137||0.760||We'll take this way too far and leave you breathless|
|220.880||142||1.800||Or with a nasty scar|
|222.680||143||1.600||Got a long list of ex-lovers|
|226.880||146||1.280||They'll tell you I'm insane|
|229.880||149||0.960||But I got a blank space baby|
|232.680||152||1.640||And I'll write your name|
|235.320||1.538||average||3 m 54 s 8 f|
https://www.youtube.com/user/TaylorSwiftVEVO/videos (Most Viewed sort)
http://vidstatsx.com/TaylorSwiftVEVO/youtube-channel (68 videos)