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Social Becomes Major for Video

Facebook more common than Netflix, Hulu for digital video

January 7, 2015

It’s primetime for video in social media. 2015 will see a rapid increase in video advertising on Facebook and other social platforms, according to a new eMarketer report, “Video Advertising: How Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr and Snapchat Are Changing the Rules.” Facebook in particular is coming on strong and has the potential to put pressure on YouTube, which we estimate captures nearly 20% of US video advertising spending right now.

Top 10 Online Video Properties Among US Internet Users, Ranked by Unique Viewers, Oct 2014 (millions)

Facebook isn’t the only one angling for a slice of the video advertising pie. Twitter is beta testing Promoted Videos, Instagram is rolling out video advertising, and Tumblr and Snapchat have new video ad products.

Cisco Systems predicted in a June 2014 report that video would account for between 80% and 90% of global consumer internet traffic by 2018. If Facebook, Twitter and others have their way, they will be the conduits through which a significant portion of that video moves.

Facebook already ranks as the second-biggest online video property in the US, according to comScore data from October 2014. The ranking only includes desktop viewers, not mobile.

Types of Sites/Apps Used by Internet Users in Canada and the US to Watch Digital Video, 2014 (% of respondents)

While platforms such as YouTube and streaming video players still attract many internet users, a greater percentage use social networks for video than other types of video platforms, such as news sites. According to a 2014 survey by Google and TNS, 73% of internet users in Canada and the US used a video site or app to watch digital video. Social networks ranked second, at 30% of respondents in Canada and 29% in the US.

A study like TNS and Google’s might be perceived as biased, considering that Google owns YouTube, but a June 2014 survey from Frank N. Magid Associates had a similar finding. Here, 33% of US digital video viewers used Facebook, trailing YouTube’s 75%, but a greater percentage than other well-known video services like Netflix and Hulu.

Streaming Sites/Apps Used to Watch Digital Video Among US Digital Video Viewers, June 2014 (% of respondents)

Social properties provide a different viewing experience than YouTube or a TV network’s streaming player. A key differentiating element is the ease with which users can share and comment.

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge typifies this difference. It showed that Facebook users were not only willing to upload video of themselves being doused with ice water, but also that they would use Facebook’s sharing and tagging features to encourage others to view and participate.

With the groundwork laid for social media to become a common place where consumers view and share video and where marketers distribute video, video advertising is poised to grow as well.

Get more on this topic with the full eMarketer report, “Video Advertising: How Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr and Snapchat Are Changing the Rules.”

This report answers these key questions:

  • How much video is consumed on social platforms?
  • How is Facebook redefining video advertising, and how much of a threat will it be to YouTube?
  • Will Twitter’s strong ties with the TV business lead to success in video ads?
  • What role will Instagram, Tumblr and Snapchat play?
  • Will TV ad budgets shift, and how are the social platforms complicating the viewability debate?

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