Case Study: Testing Online Educational Video Formats to Engage a Wider Audience


A non-profit organization dedicated to advancing science through research and education produces scientific video series for educational and mass audiences.  The company was preparing to launch a second season of a series and wanted to ensure it appealed to a broad audience.

The client wanted to test two different approaches for the videos in the series – one focused on the scientific method and process of arriving at the findings, and one focused on the insights themselves with less emphasis on the process. The client had previously conducted qualitative research with high interest groups, but wanted more reliable, quantitative insights to identify the most effective approach for engaging a general market audience and help them develop marketing strategies for the video series.


In order to measure the interest and impact of both video types, Rockbridge designed a survey in which all participants viewed and provided feedback on key comparison metrics for both videos, but only provided a detailed assessment for one of the videos.  Given that the videos were nearly 10 minutes in length, this approach was chosen to keep the survey time and costs down, while achieving robust feedback on both videos and being able to make direct comparisons between the videos. The order of the videos was randomized to ensure that the viewing order would not influence the results of the study.



Another key consideration was ensuring that the videos were actually being watched. This was achieved by triggering questions to appear for 15 seconds at specific time intervals throughout the videos.  If a respondent did not answer these questions, we could deduce that they were not watching the video and remove them from the analysis. This quality control measure also provided an added level of insight as we were able to track changes in interest throughout the length of the video.

Using this quantitative approach, we were able to reach nearly 1,000 participants from an online panel and provide reliable results that reflected the general US population.


The study provided quantitative insights that clearly identified the preferred storytelling approach among a general audience, as well as key differences by various audience niches.  The client was also able to understand the impact of the videos (e.g., what was learned from the videos, behavior triggered, etc.) and viewing habits of the target audiences (TV channels watched, mobile viewing, etc.).  The results of the study were used to guide the client’s efforts to produce educational video content that appeals to a broader audience, as well as guide future marketing strategy to expand viewership for similar educational video series.

Learn more about Rockbridge’s Education practice.