THE SOCIAL VIDEO REPORT: Content, distribution, and monetization across Facebook, YouTube, Snapchat, and Instagram

economy

BI Intelligence

This is a preview of a research report from BI Intelligence, Business Insider’s premium research service. To learn more about BI Intelligence, click here.

The “pivot to video” is digital media’s megatrend of the moment. Globally, 47.4 minutes of online video will be watched daily in 2017, a 20% year-over-year (YoY) increase, driven primarily by mobile, where viewing times will reach 28.8 minutes per day, a 35% increase from 2016. 

And not surprisingly, ad dollars are following eyeballs online. US advertisers are projected to double their investment into social video for the second year running to reach $4 billion by the end of 2017 — representing one-third of the country’s total digital video ad sales. 

The major social platforms — Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat — as well as YouTube, the pioneer in digital video, are propelling this shift to video.

Their aim is to create a video advertising market that challenges that of traditional TV, but there’s still a way to go: Global digital video advertising is expected to reach $27.2 billion this year, up 23% YoY, while TV accounted for $181 billion in global ad spend in 2016, and $73 billion in the US alone.  

And although these companies share a common goal, there are peculiarities in each platform’s approach to digital video. Understanding the nuances is important for those who wish to capitalize on this trend, such as content creators, publishers and other media companies, brands, advertisers, and the social platform’s themselves.

In a new report, BI Intelligence analyzes the efforts taken by Facebook and its subsidiary Instagram, Google through its subsidiary YouTube, and Snap to usher in a golden age of digital video. The report maps the parallels and divergences in these companies’ video strategies and examines their relative strengths and weaknesses from a distribution and monetization perspective. It also attempts to anticipate where each platform is headed so that industry participants can plan and invest in a probable future.

Here are some key takeaways from the report:

  • Digital media companies are shifting their focus to video to attract some of the $180 billion in ad spend on traditional TV.
  • This is a big opportunity for brands, publishers, and creators, but understanding the differences between the social platforms — from strategies to audiences to ad units — is crucial.
  • Facebook was an early architect of social video through the News Feed, which set the standard for shareable content. Its new Watch tab, meanwhile, is the company’s clearest effort to compete directly with YouTube and traditional TV.
  • As the initial disruptor in siphoning viewers from TV, YouTube not only leads the digital video space but is arguably the most influential video medium overall. However, its incumbency is increasingly threatened by companies like Facebook and Snap. 
  • Although it has fewer users than its rivals, Snapchat’s mobile-first form factor and reach with younger viewers sets it apart. The platform is one of the bright hopes for the future of mobile TV.
  • Instagram is social video’s dark horse and is poised to become a major contender in the space. In particular, it poses a looming threat to YouTube, but Instagram’s prospects will require a few crucial tweaks to its platform first. 

In full, the report:

  • Assesses the evolving social video landscape, with attention to Facebook, YouTube, Snap, and Instagram.
  • Analyzes the relative strengths of each platform from a product, distribution, audience, and monetization perspective.
  • Looks at what’s next for the industry, so that media creators and brands can invest for the future.

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