How Social Media Is Revolutionizing Online Video

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Television is no longer the only game in town for distributing and watching video.

The Internet and the social web have provided content creators and advertisers with a cost-effective way to distribute video.”Social” video  is video that is influenced — in any part of the pipeline, from production to distribution — by social media. For audiences, discovery is no longer about flipping through channels or a TV guide, it’s about listening to friends’ recommendations and glancing at social media feeds.

Just how big is social media-influenced video? It’s big, having eclipsed non-social video on the Web in audience size (see chart, top right). And it’s only getting bigger.

In a new report from BI Intelligence, we look at the general state of social video, examine social video audiences and their demographics, analyse how marketers and advertisers are getting into the mix, compare the major social video platforms, and detail how social is influencing video as a content medium.

Here’s an overview of the rise of social video:

  • Social media-influenced video has eclipsed non-social video on the Web in terms of audience size: Online video audiences are expected to double in 2016, reaching 1.5 billion globally, according to Cisco. A majority now , and an increasingly significant portion of them in the future, will discover or watch video and TV content on social media platforms like YouTube, Facebook, and new mobile-focused social video apps like Vine. comScore found that 63 million U.S. users watched a video on Facebook alone during April 2013. In the U.S.,Facebook had the fastest-growing online video audience of major Web properties over the last 10 months, and is only second to Google in terms of video audience size.
  • Social media is having a profound effect on this content medium: Video length is shrinking, in part to accommodate the preferences of social media audiences who like to snack on video. The intersection of mobile devices and social media will likely be crucial to video’s future. Videos are increasingly discovered and shared on mobile devices, but through social media channels. Video content that is well-suited to small screens and social contexts will do well.
  • Advertisers want to be next to social video: 85% of the U.S. Internet audience viewed online video in April 2013, and video advertising is now up to 13.2 billion monthly views in the U.S. alone. Data shows that consumers are more likely to enjoy a brand video and remember the brand involved if they come across it thanks to a social media recommendation. Also, socially-referred video starts are more likely to be completed than non-social video, according to Adobe.
  • And social is key to the all-valuable viral video: Brands are keen to spur video virality. The push for “earned media” is driving this. For a brand, a video that goes “viral,” and earns millions of views on YouTube means that a brand has earned millions of impressions that it didn’t have to pay for. Brands are experimenting with cracking the code to videos that will tap the right emotions and trigger mass sharing.