Modern consumers live in a sea of content. User-generated content and on-demand entertainment services means there's always something to capture someone's attention online. The flip side of this situation is that it has become harder for business owners and marketers to break through the noise to reach their target customers. A recent study found that globally, using mobile video is one of the best ways to reach consumers.

Ooyala, a global video creation and promotion service, recently released their Q4 Global Video Index Report 2017. The study found that mobile video plays topped 60 percent globally for the first time during the fourth quarter of 2017. The study also found that mobile videos were garnering a 60.3 percent share of all video starts.

It's important to keep in mind that this is a global study so the results can vary depending on the region a person is examining. For example, Europe/Middle East/Africa (EMEA) had the greatest level of engagement at 63.5 percent. In contrast, North America lagged most of the rest of world at 57.6 percent. But though North America lags behind the rest of the world, the growth mobile video is within the region is promising, seeing engagement jump 11 percent from the Q4 2016 report.

The results of the study suggests that marketers should take into consideration video length and the device the audience is most likely to be using when preparing their content. While viewing time for medium- and long-form content grew to over 50% of all content across all measured devices (including smartphones, tablets, connected TVs and PCs), there were some meaningful variations that depend on the device.

According to Oolayah, one of the biggest viewing shifts occurred on PCs, where time spent watching long-form content dropped to just 37 percent in Q4 -- its lowest point since Q1 of 2016. On the other hand, time spent watching short-form content on PCs climbed to 50 percent, the most of any device.

As was mentioned before, mobile video had an impressive showing in this report, but even then, not all mobile devices are equally effectives. Smartphone views were more than three times that of tablets. However, tablets' share of all video plays at 12.8 percent represented a 68 percent increase from the same time last year. Oolayah researchers estimate that mobile plays could soon reach a 70 percent market share or higher, driven by more premium sports assets moving online

"The primary screen is definitely shifting. All devices are not equal for video viewing," said Jim O'Neill, Ooyala principal analyst. "Consumers are as comfortable watching a sporting event, TV show or movie on a smartphone as they are on a connected TV, but not on their PC or tablet."

Part of the shifts we're seeing in media consumption is related to dramatic increase in available media to consume. On average, OTT services doubled their hours of content offerings over the last 12 months, with long-form content increasing 159 percent. Similarly, medium-form content offerings increased 87 percent and short-form content increased 112 percent.

"Content is experiencing a flood unlike anything the industry has previously seen... and there is no end in sight. It's the lifeblood of an over-the-top provider and the key to keeping users engaged and coming back for more, especially if you maintain regular contact with your customers, letting them know in advance that new content is on the way," O'Neill added.

The Oolayah report shows some of the ways the modern changes in mobile communication will drive the way people interact with media and content in the future. Business owners and marketers need to ensure they're using a diverse range of content and making it available to all platforms to ensure they're reaching as many members of their target audience as possible.

For more recent studies about online marketing, read this article on the new trends that are affecting Millennial consumer decisions.