It would take you more than 5 million years to watch the video content that will cross the Web every single month in 2019. 

Most of us don’t have time for that, but it’s clear that the majority of us are consuming more web-based video than ever before. The average time spent watching online video leaping from just 6 minutes in 2010 to 55 minutes last year. Netflix and YouTube alone gobble up more than half of today’s total Internet bandwidth!

So why has there been such a surge in the popularity of online video content?

According to the IAB, it’s down to a combination of changing consumer behaviour and the growing library of TV quality content online. With larger screens, better video quality and high-speed wireless connectivity, more people are watching video on their mobile phones, while 90% of consumers are said to be open to ‘cutting the cord’ and cancelling their cable and pay-TV subscriptions in favour of over-the-top (OTT) video services.

From a marketing perspective, we’d emphasise an additional factor. Simply put, online video content is more able to engage, entertain and educate because it’s easier to digest. As such, brands can convey ideas in a faster and more impactful way, while making viewers more likely to retain them. That’s no bad thing in a world where audiences are increasingly time-poor, attention spans are shrinking and it’s common to consume content on the go or while multi-tasking.

Video is the future of content marketing

Among brands and marketers, video is no longer regarded as an optional extra; it’s seen as a crucial driver of traffic, leads and sales. Already 87% of content marketers use video, while 64% expect it to dominate going forward. In the not too distant future, you may be more likely to watch a blog like this than read one.

Reach is a crucial part of this equation. Consider for a moment that YouTube has over one billion unique users, watching six billion hours of video every month, in 75 countries worldwide – then compare that to “good” results from traditional broadcasters or subscription services. No contest, right?

Video is easier than ever

Another reason for the astonishing growth of video content is that it’s no longer complex, time-consuming and prohibitively expensive to produce. Today, most laptops are powerful enough to handle video-editing applications and often come with the bundled software to do it. If not, excellent video-editing and special effects packages can be picked up for nothing if you know where to look.

Social and mobile take video skyward

The growing dominance of video is also deeply linked to two other rising content stars: mobile and social. Realising the potential of video means making it easy to find and share, but fortunately there are many new avenues to explore. YouTube may have been the first to jump on this trend, but new social video platforms are springing up all the time – with 100 million people now watching Vine’s micro-videos each month.

Video is also fantastically suited to the small screen format of mobile devices, as well as the need for clear, bite-sized content that can be consumed amidst other distractions. In fact, more than 40% of all time spent watching YouTube now takes place over a mobile device. With 98% of 18-34 year olds using smartphones to watch video content in a typical day, it becomes a fantastic medium for reaching younger audiences who are increasingly resistant to traditional marketing channels.

Make the move

If we’ve excited you about the potential of digital video and you’re ready to dive in, here are our top tips to help you make the leap successfully:

  • Identify where video can help your brand: Video content has some clear strengths. It lets you create accessible, engaging, bite-sized content – so consider where that can help your brand. Are there complex topics you need to explain clearly? Are visitors to your website skipping those detailed case-studies, but ready to watch a three-minute film?
  • Exploit search: Did you know YouTube is the second largest search engine on the planet? You did? Well, that must mean you recognise the value of video search optimisation.
  • Maximise bang for your visual buck: Remixing your existing video content to create shorter edits or highlight videos can really catch people’s attention. Videos can also be refreshed with a new animation, a new soundtrack, or even a voice-over that puts a different spin on the original. 
  • Capture data: Every piece of digital video content you create should become a source of invaluable marketing insight – who’s watching your content, why and when? 

Do you have your eye on the world of digital video? Let us know what you’re doing and what worked for you:

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