Video used to be optional in communication, but now it’s vital. Whether your organization creates content or partners with existing content creators, these are the trends that are shaping your communication future.
Growth in traffic, volume and influence
Cisco forecasts that by 2019, video will make up 80 percent of all consumer Internet traffic, up from 64 percent in 2014. They also forecast that every second, more than 1 million videos will be transmitted across the Internet.
Some quick statistics:
- Millennials turn to YouTube for instructions. Sixty-seven percent of these users say they can find a video on “anything I want to learn.”
- 5 percent of all videos are responsible for 95 percent of all views.
- Globally, a third of people watch more videos on their mobile devices than last year.
Questions to Consider:
- What results come up when somebody types “how to,” “how can I” or “what is” plus the name of your product, organization, service or sector in a YouTube search?
- If you have an organizational or product FAQ, are all the appropriate answers available in video as well as written format?
- Who are the major YouTube influencers in your sector or specialty? How can you develop a transparent, ethical and mutually beneficial relationship with them?
Entertainment and lifestyle still dominate, but messages and education are powerful
Just like television, most people turn to video for entertainment, lifestyle information and news, but they’re also interested in learning and open to being moved or inspired to act.
- While 10 videos (all music videos) have each received 1 billion plus views (Psy’s “Gangnam Style” is number one, with 2.4 billion views), there are still almost 60 million videos with more than 10,000 views.
- Lifestyle and entertainment specialists make up the top 10 creators of video content.
- Entertainment videos draw the most views: an average of 9,816 per video. How-to or DIY videos come in second place with 8,332 views.
- Pet and animal videos average only 6,542 views.
- In gaming, user-generated content makes up 95 percent of all views, with content by the game publishers making up the remaining 5 percent.
Video influencers can seem more direct and relatable than television and movie stars, especially if they take time to interact with viewers in the comments. Organizations with complex products or services can become a valuable resource on YouTube, especially if they make their videos easy to find with good descriptions and metadata.
At the same time, advertorial campaigns with messages can draw millions of views. Always’ Like a Girl campaign, which counters the use of “like a girl” as an insult, created several videos. The two highest-volume YouTube videos have a combined approximately 100 million views. Videos for Dove’s Real Beauty campaign, which emphasizes realistic standards for beauty, have approximately 66 million viewers for the 3-minute version and 6 million for the 6-minute version.
In the nonprofit sector, the ALS Ice Bucket challenge was tremendously successful at raising awareness of ALS and, though to a lesser extent, at fundraising. Dan Savage’s It Gets Better Project tells the stories of thousands of LGBTQ people through its videos. Thousands of people and organizations, ranging from Barack Obama to Laverne Cox to the New Zealand Defense Force, provided messages of support. In more direct public education, targeted to those without affordable access to good education, the nonprofit Khan Academy has raised millions for its YouTube educational videos, which provide free instruction in math, science and technology.
Questions to consider:
- Are any of your organization’s initiatives appropriate to an entertainment format, like the ALS Ice Bucket challenge?
- Are there videos of people using your product in creative or offbeat ways that you can promote?
- What messages do you see in the media about your target audience? Are there negative messages (such as girls aren’t good at math; fathers don’t know how to cook healthy meals) that you can counter with positive ones?
- If education is part of your organization’s mission or corporate social responsibility plans, what kinds of educational resources could you create or sponsor?
Almost six out of 10 mobile users watch video daily, with the highest proportion in Latin America and the smallest in South Asia. While users are more likely to view shorter videos, 36 percent watch videos lasting five minutes or longer, at least once daily.
Mobile viewers are most likely to watch music or comedy videos: 49 percent of viewers report that they’ve seen at least one in the previous three months, for both categories. Movie trailers, with 41 percent reporting they’ve seen at least one over the last month, are close behind. Music, comedy and trailers are all vivid, self-contained and an ideal distraction while waiting for something.
Questions to consider:
- If comedy or music videos are consistent with your organization’s image, what content creators could you collaborate with to create original or parody material? If people are watching videos for a quick distraction, how can you make a message linger?
- The best movie trailers create an atmosphere and share enough detail to entice a potential viewer to look for more information or decide to see a movie. If viewers consistently watch your content on a mobile device, are there specific actions that you want them to take and that you can make easier for them? For example, should there be a link to find a nearby location, sign a petition, get a coupon or join a mailing list?
- Are your videos mobile-friendly? In YouTube, you can automatically make a video available on mobile, but you also want to make sure that the videos effectively deliver content on any display, whether phone, tablet, desktop or television. Is the thumbnail or splash screen simple and vivid on any size display?
- If mobile users are watching your video for help with products or services, are the circumstances likely to be different from somebody watching on a desktop, laptop or television? For example, would somebody watching a do-it-yourself video be watching while doing a project? Should timing or close-ups be structured differently?
Variety of platforms
While YouTube is vital for spreading most video content, smaller, specialized video platforms can play an important role. In addition, social networks are vital distribution points.
Vine‘s short format works particularly well for visual comedy, so it’s no surprise that all top ten Vine creators (as of August 2015) produce comic shorts. Vimeo was designed as a film platform and promotes itself most aggressively to professional and amateur filmmakers. Also setting it apart from the crowd, it relies on subscriptions rather than advertising revenue. As of November, 2014, it had 170 million viewers and 25 million members.
Facebook is the only platform where news producers (NowThis News, AJ+, part of Al Jazeera, and the Huffington Post) are among the top 10 content providers.
On Twitter, 82 percent say that they watch video on that platform, almost entirely from mobile devices. Seventy percent of users say they discover video content from timelines (only 11 percent say that they always or usually search for video, compared to 63 percent saying they use search on YouTube). Among video watchers on Twitter, 64 percent say they would like to see more breaking news on Twitter, with 54 percent saying they’d like to see more sports clips and 50 percent wanting more clips from television shows. Fewer than half say that they’d like to see more celebrity video (45 percent), other users (40 percent) or from brands (37 percent).
Questions to consider:
- Aside from YouTube, what video platforms are appropriate to our content?
- Which Twitter influencers should we approach to share our video content?
- Given Twitter users’ interest in breaking news, do we have appropriate video on likely topics? For example, content that ties into movie openings, upcoming elections or sporting events?