With social media's ever-changing collection of platforms and communities, it has always been hard to predict what the next big thing will be. But one entrepreneur is pretty certain he has it figured out. The future of social, he writes, is video.
In a post on AllThingsD, Richard Raddon, the co-founder of Zefr, a company that manages YouTube content, stresses that as users get increasingly bombarded by social media, video will become the preeminent message form and the best way to engage and interact with customers.
Even now, video is engaging users on a level Facebook and Twitter aren't, Raddon notes. One example he cites is the outpouring of social media messages after actor Paul Walker’s recent death. Although Facebook and Twitter were full of condolences and remembrance posts and tweets for 48 hours after the news broke, activity on YouTube continued to grow after it petered out on the other platforms. According to the post, more than 6,000 tribute videos were uploaded to YouTube, and received more than 170 million views.
Why are videos better at delivering a message than other social media methods? Raddon gives three reasons in his post, summarized here:
The shelf life of a video far outstrips that of posts on Facebook and Twitter. Raddon notes that more than half of a YouTube video’s lifetime views will come three weeks after the video was uploaded.
With all the different elements that go into a video--images, sound, and motion--videos have the capacity to reveal more about a topic, person or event by engaging a broader range of senses.
Raddon cites a study from web analytics company Kissmetrics that found that the average time spent on YouTube is four minutes and 49 seconds, with 5.13 pages viewed per visit. This means that YouTube outperforms Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest for user attention. Instagram videos, he writes, create two times more engagement than Instagram photos.
Clearly, the entertainment value of individual videos is subjective, but the viral potential of online videos is unmatched. According to Raddon, the Top 10 YouTube personalities have a whopping 103.9 million subscribers.