I want to start by extending congratulations to this year's winners of the Nobel Prize in Physics. They are recognized for achievements that enable the web revolution you and I know today. I also want to extend a special recognition to George E. Smith, a University of Chicago alum (my alma mater). His half of the achievement, awarded to Willard S. Boyle as well, is the development of CCD, the base technology for digital images. Digital images, especially digital video, can contribute a remarkable value for web engagement.
Focusing on the role of video in the online experience, I want to share provocative data from an OVEC survey, found here.
Most Consumed Media: The web represents the most consumed media per day based on the survey. Accounting for 29% of a day's consumption, the web just eclipses TVs 27% and significantly surpasses all others; radio is next at 11%.
In Short Format: Of the time spent online, watching video represents a full third (32%)-an individual's primary activity-just behind reading/writing email (29%). Social networking and news cover the rest at 24 and 15% respectively Even deeper, videos watched are broken down into type. Not surprisingly, short clips dominate viewer time.
. . . and to Entertain: We can also gather what perceived benefit users are getting from these videos. It's certainly not all work with as much as 70% of video viewing being related to entertainment (I included categories called "Entertain Me", "I'm a Fan", and "My Time" but recognize overlap exists). Follow that by a measly 13% of viewing behavior that's identified exclusively for research, i.e. folks "Need Info".
Spread Socially: Of video viewed online, the survey suggests nearly 1 in 5 views are influenced through social media. People are using the web to share their interests and opinions with their network through video. That's good to know if you're looking to tap into that valuable form of marketing.
Another telling data point on the role of video is provided by YouTube, which became the number two channel for search at the end of 2008 – and it still holds that position. According to conScore's September 2009 search engine rankings, YouTube represents 16% of total search traffic, behind Google's 43% and ahead of Yahoo's 13% (if you were wondering, MSFT with Bing still only has 6%). People are seeking out video to learn from the web.
So if that's the user's side of the story, what are companies doing about this? To begin understanding this, I want to quickly reference McKinsey's latest web 2.0 survey, How companies are benefiting from web 2.0. First, the survey's general takeaway confirms the benefits of web 2.0 technologies:
69% percent of respondents report that their companies have gained measurable business benefits, including more innovative products and services, more effective marketing, better access to knowledge, lower cost of doing business, and higher revenues. Companies that made greater use of the technologies, the results show, report even greater benefits. . . Despite the current recession, respondents overwhelmingly say that they will continue to invest in Web 2.0.
For video, survey results show video sharing as the leading web 2.0 technology in use. They even call out the increasing trend, "respondents report using Web videos more frequently since the previous survey; technology improvements have made videos easier to produce and disseminate within organizations." Given the forecasted increase in web 2.0 investment, we might project a further increase in spend on web video.
The takeaway here, besides a congrats to Smith and Boyle for development of CCD, is that video is here, it is in high demand by users, and it is already a significant portion of many companies web 2.0 strategies. Given all this, you'll want to ask yourself, "Am I using video as strategically as I can?"