Social video saturation—and evolution

Social video saturation—and evolution

“Over the next few years, the much bigger driver of the business and determinant of how we do is going to be video, not Messenger,” says Mark Zuckerberg.

It’s easy to see the growth potential of video. According to GlobalWebIndex’s latest data on social video adoption, audience demand continues to grow.

  • 56% of internet users watch videos on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat or Instagram each month.
  • 81% of 55 to 64-year-olds are watching videos online each month.
  • One in three social video viewers watch videos made by brands every month.

As more mobile-first consumers in emerging markets come online, we’ll see even more growth in this area. For countries with low literacy rates, the video is a much easier medium than text to learn about products and communicate online.

And with the rise of messaging—a medium where people type less and increasingly use audio snippets, live video messages, and augmented reality filters—the opportunity of the social video has only begun.

But by 2020, marketers will face video saturation. As we found in our 2018 Social Trends survey, 46 percent of respondents said they’re already implementing social videos, with another 26 percent planning to implement in 2018. This means that social video is quickly moving from being an algorithmic advantage to a table-stakes tactic.

While most brands use social videos to boost traffic and reclaim a bit of organic reach, the impact of social video will be broad. Here are a few areas to expect to see the radical transformation with social video content.


Social e-commerce

Nearly every consumer is primarily using a mobile device. And the video is a much easier medium for learning about products. Companies like MikMak are working to figure out what native commerce experiences look like for “the social video generation.”

With fun, short-form product videos, they help brands directly convert viewers on social channels. Expect to see more companies shorten the path between awareness videos and direct purchases on social platforms.


One-to-one communication


Whether chatting with an investment advisor or getting a sales agent to walk you through cell phone plans, there’s a lot of opportunity for one-to-one videos between businesses and consumers.

For example, teens are typing less in messaging apps and using videos and audio snippets more. Over 100 million people use WhatsApp’s in-app video calling to connect with friends and family. Over 200 million people use the video messaging and augmented reality app Snow.

Marketers will need to adapt to these new highly personal uses of video. In other words, the social video will need to become social—an experience that builds a customer community rather than broadcast-style content and product teasers.


Passive networking

Globally, online consumers spend one-third of their time on social media. But as people spend more time on social, we’re seeing new behaviors emerge.

People are sharing less personal information on major networks. Instead, they’re watching videos, killing time, and sharing things to connect with friends.

Video’s impact will be broad here.

As GlobalWebIndex puts it in their latest social video report, “video positions social media as the go-to destination for anything from music consumption to online shopping and live sports broadcast and commentary.”

What to do to prepare:

Social videos can boost traffic. But chasing traffic and adapting to the whims of social algorithms isn’t a winning strategy.

“Only two firms can monetize traffic at scale—Facebook and Google,” says Stern School of Business professor Scott Galloway. “Everyone else needs to build a group of loyal followers.”

If you’d like practical tips for using video in 2018, I analyzed the state of social video in Hootsuite’s 2018 Social Trends report.