Internet video viewers have a two-second attention span

Over 20 percent of people with a high-speed internet connection will abandon a video clip if it has failed to load up after 5 seconds and 75 percent give up after a 10-second delay.

Further proof that improving internet connection speeds are making users more and more impatient comes in the form of a study from Ramesh Sitaraman, a computer science professor at UMass Amherst. According to his research, users start abandoning video content after 2 seconds if it isn't loading and, with every subsequent second that passes without the video starting to play, 5.8 percent more viewers will quit the clip. That means that within 10 seconds more than 20 percent of viewers will have abandoned a long clip (more than 30 minutes in length) and that almost 60 percent of viewers will have deserted if the clip is under 30 minutes in length.

When the results were analyzed by connection type, users with fiber optic internet connection were the most impatient, with 75 percent of users giving up after 10 seconds, compared with 20 percent of mobile internet users. In fact, it would require a 50-second start-up delay for 75 percent of mobile internet users to abandon a clip.

The study, published this week, analyzed and collected data from 23 million video playbacks by 6.7 million unique users -- making it the largest of its kind -- the majority of whom were based in the US and Europe. It also correlates with the latest figures from Sandvine. The broadband service company's data shows that in the US YouTube accounts for almost a third of all downloaded mobile web traffic in the US while Facebook is the most popular upstream site (ie, users upload more to it than any other internet destination).