YouTube anchors most social video
In some cases, social sharing has resulted in ad campaigns vastly exceeding their original audience targets. A Visible Measures report showed that user-initiated, English-language social video ad views served on its network reached 1.33 billion in Q1 2012, a 77.6% increase over the previous quarter’s total of 747 million.
David Segura, CEO of social video company Giant Media, said, “The difference between this and the previous online video model, which revolved around pre-roll, is you move from looking at the media to focusing on consumer behavior … So every form of advertising becomes an advertorial that accomplishes the brand’s goal but at the same time has a realistic chance of exciting the consumer to share content.”
Most social video campaigns use YouTube, Facebook and other sharing destinations as anchor points, and provide sharing buttons for users to disseminate clips through other means, including Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, email contact lists and embed codes.
Because of its dominance in the video space, YouTube remains the leading venue for social video campaigns. The site attracted more than 150 million unique viewers in the US in August 2012, according to comScore. By comparison, Facebook, the second-most-popular US social video destination, had nearly 48 million unique video viewers that month.
Wherever marketers decide to start their campaigns, the majority of sharing activity takes place on Facebook—a natural consequence of the site’s huge user base. Nearly three-quarters of Sharethrough’s native ad shares occurred through Facebook in mid-2012, according to company data. Other venues, including Twitter, email and URL shares, accounted for less than 10% each.
One of the added benefits for marketers that seed branded content through social channels is a rich set of metrics that often exceeds what they might get from site publishers for a traditional campaign. These include video views, a breakdown of venues where the clip ran, clicks to websites, visits to Facebook, store locator usage, coupon download information and softer metrics like consumer sentiment on social channels.