Visual Content is King: Social Video Takes Center Stage


ADOTAS — In 2012, social video engagement rose from 42% to 70% the year before, according to new research by Adobe, with the viral reach of video content accounting for 77% of ALL reach via social networking sites. That compares to 55% for non-video content like status updates and confirms the fact that video is king – at least on social networks.

Adobe found that social videos also have a much higher completion rate, indicating that people are taking the time to watch the whole clip if the recommendation comes from friends. Not only is the medium finding success on social network sites, the report finds that mobile video views increased by a staggering 300% in 2012, and accounts for 10.4% of all video starts.

With Time Warner Cable now letting iPhone users stream live television on their mobile phones, the future of TV is evolving to the digital world. Why not tackle social, too?

According to a new report by Bloomberg, social media giants Twitter and Facebook are in the works creating on-demand streaming deals to deliver top television shows right on their platforms at no extra charge. This would cement eyeballs to these respective social networks and keep people from clicking off to view content on another site like Hulu or Netflix. Twitter has reportedly been in talks with Viacom and NBCUniversal about hosting video clips on its site through an ad rev-share model and Facebook has also made strides in this area, offering companies an opportunity to buy 15-second spots targeted at people in one of four demographics: women over 30, women under 30, men over 30, and men under 30.

Melting video content onto their platforms will allow Facebook and Twitter to keep their devoted users on their sites much longer and interacting with more content, and companies like NBCUniversal will be gaining yet another another outlet, other than the boob tube, to attract potential viewers.

Until the deals are inked and implemented, Facebook still has the lead when it comes to driving social referrals to video content, but Twitter is three times more likely to generate referral traffic for videos than other types of content such as text links or images. This is due to the fact that Facebook embeds videos on the social network, rather than referring traffic to an external source for viewing.

Social Video Analytics Players Emerge

With all the hubbub around social video, what about the backend analytics to support the business, to track views and virality? One company called Unruly is doing just that, creating ways to monitor the performance and popularity of viral videos across the Web. Unruly has worked with over 400 brands including Coca-Cola, T-Mobile, Volkswagen, Microsoft, Warner Brothers and Adidas to get their social ads watched, tracked and shared

Predictions are that global online video advertising spend will rise to $10 billion by 2015, with Internet ad spend expected to account for 59 percent of the growth in total ad spend between 2012 and 20151. In such a fast-paced environment, it is critical that brands have access to real-time statistics.

“We are seeing an explosion in the social video market and brands are struggling to keep pace with how to measure the medium and report the success and ROI. Four billion items are shared on Facebook every day and 700+ YouTube videos are shared on Twitter every minute,” said Matthew Cooke, CTO and co-founder of Unruly. “Unruly Analytics bridges the gap between the big data deluge and the ability to pull actionable insight from video content tracking. Brands can now benchmark the success of their individual video campaigns or calculate their total share of voice versus their competitors.”

The company recently launched a real-time analytics dashboard which allows advertisers to measure the social impact of their current and previous social video strategies versus their competitors. Released in open beta today, Unruly Analytics™ is based on seven years’ worth of historical video sharing data across YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and the blogosphere. The cloud-based dashboard has been beta-tested by some of the world’s biggest advertisers and measures content from 1,300 brands across all verticals.

“Unruly Analytics is super easy to use, has a sleek user interface and offers beautiful data visualization which updates in split seconds,” said Irène Labus, Analytics Director, Havas, who has been beta-testing the product. “What’s most valuable about the product is that the real-time data tracks such a broad spectrum of branded video content, across paid, owned and earned media.”

To date, Unruly has tracked over 329 billion video views and tracks 1.6 million videos at any one time (in real time). Some of the data used in Unruly Analytics also powers the Unruly Viral Video Chart™, which has been trusted since 2006 by advertisers worldwide to track their video content.

When asked about social video monetization, David Waterhouse, Global Head of Content at Unruly, mentioned several areas where video can drive revenue.

“T-Mobile reported a 52% increase in sales following the release of its Liverpool Street flash mob, and Old Spice reported an increase in body wash sales of 107% the month following The Man Your Man Could Smell Like was released,” said Waterhouse. “Little Caesar’s also did an ad where you could interact with it, and click to order a pizza, right from the video. It all comes down to what the brand is seeking from the video: awareness, favorability or increasing intent to purchase.”



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