New research shows video is rapidly shifting to mobile devices, phones and tablets. In addition to the platform shift, video is becoming shorter for ‘social sharing’ efficiency and to appeal to short attention spans. According to comScore, in April 2012 the average duration of an online video was 6.63 minutes. In April 2013, the average duration was 5.62 minutes. Attention is waning, and video is being cut to keep pace with attention spans. Patience is gone, audiences have options, and people will give you 5 seconds before moving towards other content or another site. Your objective as a content owner is to capture their attention, keep it, and increase your audience.
Since Google catapulted YouTube into the vernacular in 2005, going viral means having a massive hit. People are watching and interested, which means you have unique viewers and new audiences you don’t have to pay for to reach. While there’s no formula for making a viral video—It doesn’t stop marketers from trying to develop video specifically to make a video become viral. While this may be inauthentic, and a change in tactics, it still means they are trying hard to speak to the modern viewer. In addition to shorter durations, today’s online video viewers demand authenticity, which means steering your production away from a marketing or corporate ambiance or vocabulary, and not shying away from real emotion.
The influence of social video and the brand impact of viral video have led to an influx of digital video advertising. Data from comScore shows that 85 percent 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.
Another interesting point is that YouTube, for a while the hub of all online video, is in a lull. Since 2011 Facebook’s video viewership numbers have catapulted up, growing 18 percent in the last ten months to 63 million unique visitors. YouTube’s audience is still twice the size of Facebook’s at present. The day they are equal to each other in terms of audience is not far off.
One thing is true of all of the social media sites: mobile is an enormous opportunity for audience growth and making money with your video. Tuning in to the TV is becoming less and less part of our social fabric; we watch TV and movies streaming from our tablets and phone from anywhere; we’ll watch at the gym, in a bus, waiting in line at the grocery store. Here’s the point:
Studies are showing that video content is shifting to mobile devices, phone and tablets. Video is evolving to shorter pieces for attention spans and also so it can be shared.
Social media is also not just a place to view and share digital video; it also actually influences the content that we watch. Studies are showing that audiences enjoy video more that has been recommended via their social network, and also more likely to finish watching a socially recommended video in the first place.
What all of this means for production companies, distribution companies, folks with large video archives like universities, is that social media continues to open up more and more opportunities for them to build audiences and credibility via the social networks. But their video content can’t be just any old re-purposed commercial or marketing collateral; it has to be authentic, resonant and it must meet the guidelines set down by the potential audience with regard to content.
So we’re watching a whole new generation, the ‘digital natives’ grow up and become accustomed to short, shareable video excerpts. We’re watching a whole new generation learn to interact with computers by touch and voice. We are in the midst of a change, and we can’t wait to see what’s next.