Four reasons why the rate of video-sharing has doubled
A view from Sarah Wood

Four reasons why the rate of video-sharing has doubled

For any brand hoping to launch a successful online video campaign, the first few days has never been more crucial, says Sarah Wood, chief operating officer, Unruly.

New data from the Unruly Viral Video Chart, which has been tracking video sharing since 2006, has found that the number of social shares that successful brand videos attract in their first three days of launch has almost doubled in the last 12 months.

The last 12 months has seen shares of brand videos increase by more than a fifth (22%) as more consumers start to engage with branded content.

Back in April last year, Unruly found that a quarter of brand video shares occur in the first three days following campaign launch. A year later that percentage has almost doubled to 42%, making the first few days even more crucial for marketers hoping to make their ads the talk of the web.

The average percentage of shares taking place on the day after launch, when most sharing usually take place, has also almost doubled from 10% to 18% over the last 12 months, while shares in the first week have also risen from 37% to 65%.

And it’s not just individual brands which are making a splash. The last 12 months has seen shares of brand videos increase by more than a fifth (22%) as more consumers start to engage with branded content.

But what has caused the speed of sharing to increase so quickly in the space of a year? Here are four reasons - we’re sure there are more so please do share your thoughts.

1. Brands are investing more heavily in paid media at launch

Digital videos are emotionally engaging and easy to share.  When they’re well branded with a clear call to action they can also drive sales.  So it’s not surprising that video advertising continues to grow apace.

In fact, digital video ad spend is set to reach $22.5 billion by 2017, up from $8.3 billion in 2013 (Source: Magna Global). Bigger spend means that better ads are being produced, but it also means that advertisers are experimenting with their distribution strategies, using a mix of formats to get their videos shared online.

The savvy brands are investing in a range of ad formats across in-feed, in-stream and in-page placements to deliver campaign KPIs. The speed of social sharing has, in part, been fuelled by investment in video ads at the launch phase of the campaign cycle - as more brands invest in paid media to ensure their content is ubiquitous and discoverable on Day One, more sharing is happening in the early days of a campaign lifecycle.

2. The rise of the mobile consumer

The number of people watching video on their smartphones or tablet is predicted to increase 25-fold between 2011 and 2016, accounting for over 70% of total mobile data traffic by the end of the forecast period (Source: Cisco).  A recent report from Business Insider forecasts that tablets and smartphones will account for a majority share of video ad views by 2016.

Why would the rise of mobile video consumption affect sharing patterns? Because our smartphones are always-on devices, social content is literally at our fingertips, and we tend to flick through social feeds on a regular basis, rather than holding off until a lunch break or waiting for the kids to go to bed. The pulse of social is quickening and the shift to mobile is a big part of this trend.

3.We are all armchair taste-makers now

Our social media usage is constantly evolving - it’s heavier and more frequent than ever before. It’s predicted that in the UK digital media consumption is set to overtake TV consumption for the first time this year (eMarketer). This has radically changed the way we interact with content online.

For example, you’ve seen a video you really like and want to share it with your friends. Only problem is, they’ve already seen it.

Indeed, the competition to be the first to see a trending video in these connected times has never been fiercer, certainly among younger demographics.

There was a time when sharing anything more than a week old would make you look desperately out of touch. These days, it’s a case of hours not days.  And many of us don’t like sharing content that’s already reached a certain number of tweets - that could be 10, 100 or 1,000 but with more people sharing than ever before those numbers are reached much faster and as a result viral decay sets in far sooner.

This flood of content has resulted in "content shock" for internet users, who are bombarded with a continuous river of news, updates and videos.

4. Proliferation of social networks and fragmentation of the video ecosystem

Five years ago it might have been enough to stick your video up on YouTube and watch the view counter go up. That’s no longer true. With so much clutter, YouTube is widely regarded as the place where a lot of good videos go to die.

With 74% of video views now happening outside of YouTube and its player (source: comScore Video Metrix, January 2014), there have never been more places for consumers to discover, watch and share videos.

The introduction of auto play video ads on Facebook in March, as well as the explosion of short-form content platforms such as Vine and Instagram Video, has meant there’s more choice for advertisers wishing to engage their audience and amplify their video content.

This proliferation of social networks and short-form platforms, as well as the hundreds of millions of sites across the Open Web where brands can advertise their video content, means that the speed at which video content is being watched and shared is continuing to increase at an exponential rate.