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Top 5 Social Video Trends Of 2012

It has been a momentous year for social video advertising. The last 12 months have seen the hottest trend in digital advertising reach heights usually reserved for Austrian space-jumpers. The type of videos people share is a powerful indicator of global sentiment, and in 2012 emotions certainly ran high, as viewers swept aside their cynicism to be moved to tears by P&G, inspired by human endeavour and outraged by atrocities in Africa. But how has social video advertising changed in 2012? Well, using data collected by the Unruly Viral Video Chart, here are some of the significant trends:

1. Shares in Video Ads Increased By 67%

Advertising has changed from a 30-second slot you avoid on TV to a piece of video content which you’re willing to share with your friends online. In 2012, such sharing hit record levels.

The number of shares across the Top 10 ads rose from 16.8 million in 2011 to 28 million in 2012 – an increase of 67% and a signal that media consumption habits are continuing to evolve rapidly.

It’s not surprising, video consumption is rocketing, thanks in part to faster video streaming and a surge in tablet and mobile ownership. According to ComScore, 181 million US internet users watched more than 39 billion online videos in September 2012 alone.

And it’s only going to grow: Cisco estimates that we will consume three trillion Internet video minutes worldwide per month by 2016. That means that the world will watch the equivalent of 833 days of video every single second!

2. 2012 Was ‘A Non-Event’

It was a year of missed opportunities for a lot of advertisers. What’s striking when you look at the top 20 most shared ads of the year is the content that’s NOT in there.

The London Olympics, the European Championships and the US Presidential Elections were three of the biggest events to happen in the last few years – but that’s not where the top 3 hits emerged from. In fact, within the top 20 ads of the year there is only one video each from the Olympics and the Euros, and none from the US election.

Even the Super Bowl – supposedly the ‘biggest advertising event in the world’ – only managed to fill two of the top 20 places. It’s time brands moved away from advertising around the traditional, top-down tent-pole events and focused instead on building organic, bottom-up brand engagement – and superior ROI – in social video advertising. Alternatively, brands should embrace the opportunity which big sponsorship deals offer them and supplement their media investment with social video advertising.

3. Social Video Grew Up

2012 was the year that social video grew up. Rather than chasing the next ‘viral hit’ – the strategic equivalent of throwing a lit match in a darkened room – a lot of advertisers over the last 12 months have stopped crossing their fingers and instead focused on creating content that is optimised for sharing.

With 72 hours of video uploaded to YouTube every minute, there is a lot of competition. However, recent research studies have found there is a formula. Social video success is predictable, measurable and repeatable. Just look at agencies such as Duval Guillaume Modem, who created three of the top 20 most shared ads of 2012.

4. A Change in Consumption Across Devices

Across the campaigns that Unruly runs for top brands and their agencies, we’ve seen more videos watched and shared across mobile and tablet devices than ever before due to the rise in smartphone ownership and high speed mobile broadband.

Hardly surprising when you consider by the end of 2012 there will be a staggering 1 billionsmartphone users and 5 billion mobile users. In fact, in the next three years, more consumers will be accessing the web through mobiles than through PCs, while tablet sales are expected to surpass PC sales within 2-3 years.

However, media adspend still significantly lags consumer behaviour. In the US alone, consumers watched 39 billion online content videos in September. But US advertisers only spend 3% of media budget on video advertising.

5. Measurement Became Key

More and more of our customers are asking for measurement. From analysing content before it is launched to gathering post-viewing behaviour, the social video measurement stick really kicked in this year.

That’s not surprising when you consider that our research – in conjunction with Decipher – reveals that viewer enjoyment increases by 14% when the ad has been shared with them and that purchase intent increases by 97% when the viewer enjoys the content.