the 2-second rule for better online giving

I’ll make this quick! If you want to improve your online giving and all your online activities recognize how impatient people are. I shared how the 20-second elevator rule applied to direct mail. Well now the University of Massachusetts has raised the bar (or shortened it depending how you want to imagine the metaphor).

Science Professor, Ramesh Sitaraman of U Mass reported to NPR that online viewers have no tolerance for videos that take longer than just a few seconds to load on their screens. In fact, people are only patient for about 2 seconds.

“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,” says Professor Sitaraman.

Here are two critical implications for you to chew on:

1. Videos that you post online have to load lightning fast. If they don’t load fast (remember that 2 second rule) then don’t bother. Yikes! If you insist on having 4 and 5 minute videos, maybe you ought to test a 1 minute version as a trailer or highlight to see what gets the most views and the highest abandonment rate. Long videos won’t be seen as much as short videos. You don’t have to like that, but it is true.

2. Your website has to load lightning fast. If the 2 second rule applies to video, you can bet similar rules apply to general web traffic. (I’ll spare you the various stats and studies I’ve seen—they all say: faster is better). You have to always be thinking about how long it take your homepage to load. However fast it is, speed it up. This is a constant battle that you have to stay on top of. There are tons of great tricks and techniques to speed up load times. Investigate them all. And never settle for “good enough.”

Everyone says that video is the killer strategy. That’s true unless it takes too long for your video to load. Then it’s a waste of time and effort. And if your website doesn’t load FAST, you have a higher abandonment rate than you should. Which is a killer today.

The good news is that you can change the game by taking action and keeping your eye on load times. That will make your online stuff more effective. And that will raise more money! That’s the way it works.

What about you? I’m very impatient concerning video and website load times. Hate to wait. And I don’t watch long videos (3 minutes are long in my world). What about you? What do find effective? I love to hear from you.

Oh, and we’re shipping an another newsletter off the Oneicity digital dock this week. If you haven’t signed up, you really should give it a try. It’s free, of course. We have a completely different conversation there. Here’s the link!


Steve Thomas
Partner, Oneicity

(photo credit: daveynin)

Steve Thomas

Steve Thomas

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