Mobile video has expanded drastically since 2015, and it’s only expected to continue its exponential growth. The Ericsson Mobility Report estimates that by 2021 video will account for 70% of total mobile traffic.
Twenty years ago, we never would have imagined that we could have access to any type of video whenever and wherever we wanted, with just a touch on a box we keep in our pocket. Now, mobile is so widespread that we can’t imagine a life without it. And the future for mobile video is only at its launch.
The Internet Trends Report of 2017 found that American adults spend over 5.6 hours per day on the internet, 3 of which are on mobile. In 2011, Americans spent only an average of 1 hour per day on mobile. Moreover, Cisco’s Visual Networking Index estimates that, by 2021, each person will own approximately 1.5 mobile-connected devices with a connection speed of 20Mbps. They predict a 65% increase of mobile usage between 2016 and 2021.
Mobile is increasing quickly—and this has, in turn, spurred a new form of mobile video viewing.
Why Is Mobile Video Growing?
“The spread of mobile technology has given a boost to overall media consumption by allowing users to access more media, in more places, and at more times than ever before.” –Stated in Zenith’s third annual Media Consumption Forecasts
One of the major reasons for the change in video is a new wave of television viewing. With the boom of Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, and other streaming services, people are beginning to move away from traditional TV. It has become common to instead stream on-demand television on tablets, laptops, and smartphones. In fact, according to Mobile World Live, 29% of all video watched today is video on demand (VOD), like Netflix and Amazon Prime video.
This is especially true for teens. The Ericsson Mobility Report found that between 2011 and 2015, teens’ viewing of entertainment on smartphones increased by 85%, while they cut their time watching traditional TV by over 50%.
Moreover, a Nielsen 2016 VOD survey found that 65% of global respondents watch some form of VOD programming, long or short form. 77% of those respondents report that they do so because they can have access to television when it’s most convenient for them.
With a change in the types of content people are watching comes a change in the way people watch. Video on demand means viewers can watch video at any time they want. Mobile allows them to then watch that VOD any place they want as well.
Social media platforms have taken on video as a key means of sharing information and content. With Facebook Live, Snapchat, Instagram Stories, and more, users are able to easily create and share videos of their lives and businesses.
Facebook has become a hub for videos. You can click on one video and it instantly brings up a queue of similar videos you can scroll through. With over 2 billion active monthly users, Facebook has become one of the largest video hosts in the space. Tubular reported that the top 10 Facebook publishers alone accounted for nearly 17.5 billion video views in just May 2017. Moreover, nearly 50% of Facebook users access the platform from mobile devices. The number of mobile video views on Facebook is tremendous.
That’s just Facebook. Snapchat has over 10 billion video views per day and Instagram Stories has more than 250 million active users. As mobile social media continues to expand, mobile video advertising and content will expand in tandem.
Our society today is driven by efficiency and convenience. We want instant gratification with everything we do. If we want to know how old Bill Clinton is, we can find out in seconds on our phones. If we want to order a car, one can show up in four minutes from the mobile. The same is true for video. People want to watch video when and where they want. Whether it’s VOD, social media content, or advertisements, people want to have total control over their viewing.
Beyond that, mobile isn’t just for on-the-go viewers anymore either. Mobile video viewing is becoming increasingly more popular in the home as well. In fact, in “The Future Of Mobile Video” by Mobile World Life, 35% of respondents ranked the smartphone as the top device on which they view video content when at home.
Your phone is always on you. Having videos directly on your mobile device is convenient no matter where you are or what time of day it is.
New technologies are making it easier to watch video on the phone. Networks are getting faster, moving from 3G to 4G to 5G in just a few short years. Mobile connections are speedier, which makes streaming faster and more efficient. “Buffering” is quickly becoming a thing of the past. Moreover, smartphones are becoming more compatible with video viewing. The screens have increased in size and resolution, making for a more enjoyable viewer experience.
With the introduction of the iPhone X and other future mobile platforms, we expect that technologies and mobile video will only continue to improve.
Today, it’s easier to post videos on web pages and social networks than it was in the past. Anyone can make a post a video; it no longer takes special coding skills or intimate internet knowledge to be able to upload a video to the web. Viewers want to see “everyday” content; after VOD, advertisements and music videos on social platforms is the most popular form of video content.
It’s also a lot easier to share videos with one another. With the click of a button, you can disseminate a video to all your friends on all social networks. The ease of posting and sharing creates a low barrier to entry that is saturating the internet with mobile-compatible videos.
Businesses have started to realize the value of the short burst of information. As companies have begun making shorter and shorter videos, viewers have begun to watch this “fast content” on their phones. Mobile users are looking for something to watch quickly and conveniently, and shortened content and advertisements fits the mobile criteria perfectly.
Despite the growth in mobile video viewing, there are still some barriers that are hindering the full-force takeover of video on mobile smartphones.
The first is that mobile phones aren’t comfortable. In Mobile World Live’s report, 67% of respondents said that one of the top three reasons they don’t use their smartphone for video viewing more is because it’s “uncomfortable to hold for a long time.” This was followed by 63% who said it was a lower quality audio and video experience.
46% of those respondents said it is because they prefer to watch video as a part of a group. Mobile video is highly individualistic, which may pose challenges for longer form content moving forward.
Moreover, mobile phones simply aren’t perfect yet. Primarily, smartphones still have short battery lives, which can make consuming VOD especially challenging. 15% of respondents said the device’s storage limit was a concern; however, this low number demonstrates people are likely streaming as opposed to downloading content. Lastly, 31% said that mobile data charges is a factor. This number will likely decline as “worldwide WiFi” becomes more prominent.
The Bottom Line
Mobile video is on the rise with no expectations to decline any time soon. If you have a video marketing campaign, it’s time to ensure that your videos are compatible with mobile viewing. With mobile video, you walk alongside your customers—and their social network—wherever they go.
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154 Grand Street, New York, NY 10013