Monday, June 14, 2010

Online video tips, trends and things to try

Online video, still the strongest social media trend, keeps breaking records and establishing itself even more strongly in our culture.  Here's a flood of new data and trends to keep you up-to-date on this enduring habit and how you can make use of it as a strategic communications tool.  Read this before your next big move in online video:
  • It's bigger than ever. Facebook has now passed the 2-billion-video-views-per-month mark, with 20 billion videos uploaded to the site every month.  While it has a way to go to reach YouTube, where 2 billion videos are viewed every day, Facebook's video growth outdrew and suggests it will become as popular for this purpose as it is for photo-sharing.  You can read more about the latest online video rankings here.  Overall, more than 30 billion videos were viewed in April alone.  And Cisco predicts that online video watching will help Internet use overall to quadruple by 2014.
  • But who's really watching?  New research from Pew suggests we all might be watching online videos by 2015, based on current growth rates. More than half of all Americans and 69% of American Internet users do it.  The Pew report includes this useful infographic (at right) breaking down who's more likley to watch online video, including men, young adults and those with more income or education.
  • Will we watch longer videos? This New York Times article shares data from this Nielsen report suggesting that a slight dip in number of videos watched, but nearly level numbers of viewers, may add up to an emerging trend of longer-format videos.  YouTube wants to be ready for that.  It's working on the ultimate social-media conundrum: How to turn its normally "lean-forward" audience into one that leans back and watches video for longer periods of time.  One option reportedly under consideration at the online video giant: making live-streaming a regular feature on YouTube, instead of the special-case basis on which it's run now.
  • Keep it private, or link to other sites and videos:  YouTube has launched "unlisted" videos, an option for keeping them private, and John Haydon shares how to embed interactive links within your YouTube videos, helping you drive the next stop your viewers make.
  • We're not just watching anymore.  Once an experimental option reserved for White House interviews, YouTube has now rolled out Google Moderator for anyone, starting with such partners as Stanford University, celebrities and others to help them engage viewers of videos. (A Stanford cardiologist, for example, uses it to take questions about heart disease.) 
  • Want to boost visitors and make sure they spend more time looking at your video? It appears that referring folks to your video via Twitter has that effect--it's growing as a powerful way to promote not only views but their length as well.
  • Using, rather than creating, a video?:  News Videographer blog looks at how to figure out whether the video you want to use online is in the public domain, and where to find more like it (a hat tip to NiemanLabs for the pointer). 
  • Does all this mean you should run out and creating even more online video?  Before you decide, read the 10 myths of creating web content, from a founder of College Humor.  (While his focus and expertise is online video, this is a useful list for all kinds of content.
  • Speaking of great content, the video contest gets a new twist in the art world, as YouTube partners with the Guggenheim museums to search for the most creative online video. They are "looking for animation, motion graphics, narrative, non-narrative, or documentary work, music videos and entirely new art forms—creations that really challenge the world’s perceptions of what’s possible with video." Details here.  As with its partnerships leading to the YouTube Symphony Orchestra, this will be one to watch.
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