Vertical or Square? Social drives shift to mobile-first video.

Social video has been tipped as the biggest social media trend in 2016. That’s no surprise given recent announcements:

  • 100 million hours of video watched each day on Facebook
  • 7bn video views per day on Snapchat
  • ‘Hundreds of millions of hours’ watched every day on YouTube
  • 40 years of video watched per day on Periscope

The way that we consume video content has changed. TV is not dead, far from it, but the trend in overall viewing has moved from time-specific, static, single-screen long form experiences (such as watching linear TV on the sofa) to shorter, unscheduled, often serendipitous viewing experiences on a multitude of screens throughout the day — dominated by mobile video. Consumer attention spans are decreasing, exacerbated by the immediacy of social media and content ‘in the feed. Social means short-form, shareable content that provides instant value. This is both a challenge and opportunity for creators: the pressure to immediately grab attention and stay relevant (see tips on this from Emily Grabyo’s resident social expert).

In a recent survey of global rights holders by Grabyo, we discovered that 84% of respondents posted content between 30 seconds and two minutes in length to social media platforms. Similarly, 26% distributed content less than 30 seconds to Facebook and Twitter, with just 9% focusing on sharing long-form content greater than three minutes as part of their social video strategy.

The traditional approach to digital content creation is to build for the web and then think about how that translates to mobile. This is wrong. Mobile should not be a secondary consideration, but the first.

Globally, more than half of all Facebook users are ‘mobile only’, meaning they never use a desktop to access the platform, and Facebook counts more than 1bn mobile users on its platform every day. Mobile video is also the fastest growth sector in the online video market and is set to overtake desktop and connected device viewing across all measures within the next two years. The mobile (smartphone) audience is already too big and expanding too quickly to ignore.

By optimizing content specifically for mobile, organisations such as the ATP are creating videos that give the fans the best viewing experience. Square and vertically oriented content ensures a greater SOS (share of screen) percentage, meaning fans are more likely to discover the content in their feed, watch it and share it with others.

Social video’s growth presents a publishing and resource challenge for content owners as demand increases to publish content to multiple destinations at the same time. Despite Snapchat and Instagram’s video success, marketers have been slow to adapt their content output to offer platform-native experiences.

Producing a single piece of video content for all platforms is not optimal — content must be (quickly) repurposed to suit each respective social profile and target demographic. As audiences grow, and video consumption increases, so does the expectations of quality, timeliness and relevance: if sharing is the new delivery van then context is its shiny new coat of paint.

Last month, at Grabyo we had our best ever month ever for video impressions— reaching more than one billion across our platform. This continuing growth and reaching such milestones shows the significance of social video has never been greater

The Grabyo team are doing an incredible job delivering against ambitious plans to build the digital video platform of the future — creating fast, easy-to-use, efficient and powerful video capabilities for all publishing destinations. Video is leading the way on social media and its continuing growth fundamental to our success, we’re certainly enjoying the ride.