The State of Video in 2016: Social Video, Mobile Video, Heavy Competition

The State of Video in 2016: Social Video, Mobile Video, Heavy Competition

Click on the photo or here to see the full series. Creative Commons photo.

This is a guest post that originally appeared on Storyhunter’s publication The Video Strategist and is cross posted with permission.

We are constantly being reminded that video is one of the biggest and most important forms of online media. But how big is it? At Storyhunter, we’ve gathered past, present, and predicted statistics for social and mobile video to analyze just how important video is and will be to the future of content creation.


Digital Video is Social Video

If you haven’t already begun investing in video production for social media networks, now is the time. When over 100 million hours of video on Facebook and over 650 million hours of video on YouTube get consumed each day, it’s clear that video is an integral part of consumers’ social and online experience.

Newer networks like Snapchat are even rising to the challenge — they surpassed Facebook’s 8 billion video views with 10 billion video views per day. Even though it’s important to note that both companies inflate their video view counts (Snapchat counts it as soon as a snap is opened and Facebook counts a view at three seconds), these numbers are still huge and continuing to grow. Plus, the consumers using these networks and viewing the majority of video are mostly young adults, who are many companies’ target audience.


The top video news publishers on Facebook in terms of engagement know how to do this well — AJ+, NowThis, Fanpage, BuzzFeed, The Huffington Post, and Fox News are consistently in the top ten. It’s worth looking at the type of content they produce that’s capturing people’s attention online. The good news for journalism and media publishers is that a good portion (33%) of the top video content is hard or soft news-focused. And within video news viewed on Facebook, over 60% of the most successful videos are on hard news, such as politics, current events, and the environment, as opposed to soft news like lifestyle and entertainment.

Besides captions, another key trait among the top published videos is that they are short. AJ+’s videos are only around two minutes long and Indigenous Media’s most popular Facebook page is 60 Second Docs. A Reuters study showed that the average length for a native Facebook news video is 75 seconds while 8% of news videos are over 120 seconds and 56% of them are less than 60 seconds.

Furthermore, Reuters found that emotional video storytelling, where emotions are favored over facts, sees more success on Facebook. While a video can be both emotional and factual, Reuters found that 58% of the top Facebook news videos primarily invoke emotions, such as empathy, while 42% are primarily based on facts.

“We find that the most successful off-site and social videos tend to be short (under one minute), are designed to work with no sound (with subtitles), focus on soft news, and have a strong emotional element. Given the growing importance of social media as a source of news, this very different format is arguably already affecting the content and tone of news coverage in general.”

While Facebook should be an integral part of your digital video strategy, they definitely aren’t the only platform where you should be expanding your audience. If longer form content is where you have the most experience and intent to publish, then YouTube is still the main network you should focus on. The company continues to lead the digital video world in hours viewed each day, length of consumer viewing time, and number of views (8 billion per day in 2015), despite counting views at 30 seconds. This means your longer form content will most likely perform better on YouTube, though you might think about repackaging long videos into shorter clips for Facebook as well as Snapchat, Twitter, and Instagram.

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