The rapid rise in online video and engagement

By Kerry Butters

Online video has been a growth area for some years now and is threatening to take the place of images as the most popular way for people to engage with brands on the web.

The emergence and growth of image-based engagement has gone some way to proving that more people are ‘visual learners’ than those who enjoy reading articles and blogs, although of course these still have their place and will continue to do so.

Content is diverse these days and the most popular and the incredible growth of video is winning the content race. This is nothing new, marketers and small business owners have known for some time of the value presented by video when it comes to driving traffic to their site.

Many of the large brands continue to get it wrong (although far from all of them) by approaching web video as they would traditional TV advertising; this is no longer enough for the web audience, viewers expect quality, quirkiness and preferably, a lack of advertisements that they have to sit through in order to get to the main event.

Video growing at a tremendous rate

According to technology leaders, Cisco, 1.2 million minutes of video content will cross global networks by 2016. Consumer internet video traffic will account for 55% of all data and all forms of video, including TV, streaming movies online video services such as YouTube and P2P sharing will account for a massive 86% of global consumer traffic by 2016.

These figures don’t include enterprise traffic, which is also seeing an increase thanks to VoIP services and corporate video, webcast, online seminars and so forth. Cisco also predict that video-on-demand will triple by 2016, becoming equivalent to 4bn DVDs per month.

What does this mean to the popularity and engagement with web video then? Well, YouTube has recently changed the way that videos are ranked on the site. Rather than ranking video by the number of clicks it receives, they are now ranked depending on how long a viewer watches the video, in other words, by engagement.

Bearing this in mind, whilst you don’t have to be an audio-visual expert to make a web video, it’s firmly in a business’ interest to ensure that the video is worth engaging with. This can be achieved with good graphics, comedy elements, great accompanying audio and some luck.

Getting it right and sharing across social channels can then seriously increase a fan base, a site’s worth in the eyes of Google and of course traffic to a web site and increased sales. This is because people no longer simply consume images and videos online, they interact with them, by sharing, commenting and discussing.

Creating and curating

According to a recent survey, 41% of adult internet users take videos or images they have found online and share them to various social mediums. These people are officially known as curators, whilst the people who make the videos are called creators. The survey found that “photos and videos have become key social currencies online”.

“Overall, 56% of internet users do at least one of these creating or curating activities and 32% of internet users do both creating and curating activities,” the survey said.

Of course, the explosion in mobile and tablet devices has increased the phenomena, especially in countries where 4G is available, and we can expect to see an increase in web video consumption and interaction when the technology is rolled out in this country.

What does it mean to the online marketer? Fail to use web video as a part of your marketing plan and you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to increase traffic to your site. It doesn’t have to be limited to YouTube either, sharing the videos you create on all available social channels can be the difference between a successful campaign and a massive flop.

About the author

Kerry Butters is the Content Manager at MySocialAgency.com, a specialist Social Marketing Agency in the UK. Leaving university with a BA Hons degree in English with Creative Writing, Kerry is passionate about all things technology and everything to do with the written word.

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