5 min read

The State of Video in 2018

As consumers become oversaturated with content and grow wary (and weary) of fake news, it’s more important than ever for brands and media…
The State of Video in 2018

As consumers become oversaturated with content and grow wary (and weary) of fake news, it’s more important than ever for brands and media companies to tell authentic, meaningful stories. It’s not enough to just publish videos focused on the hard sell — you need to focus on powerful storytelling. We’ve gathered statistics from multiple studies to analyze where digital video stands in 2018.

Digital Video in a Social World

Our social media feeds are inundated with video on almost every platform, and over a billion hours of social video are consumed every day. In this visual and social world, it makes sense for companies to invest more money in the medium.

FACT: 50% of companies increased their video budget in 2017. (Vidyard)

In our State of Video in 2016 analysis, we reported that over 650 million hours of video is watched on YouTube every day; that number is now over one billion. And with Facebook’s daily video view count rising to 10 billion, it’s a safe bet that your audience is watching video on social media. This is good news for both brands and media companies, as social platforms evolve and create even more opportunities for publishing video. Facebook has been testing pre- and mid-roll advertisements in videos longer than three minutes and implemented a “Discover” feature for videos and series that they hope will compete with YouTube. Along with Instagram Live, Instagram Stories, Snapchat, Facebook stories, YouTube stories, and more, creators and companies have more places than ever to collaborate and publish.

In 2016, we found that the majority of the most successful videos on Facebook and other social media platforms (minus YouTube) were short and that viewers preferred shorter content (less than a minute long). However, that trend appears to be changing. According to Ooyala’s Q3 2017 video index, content longer than five minutes now makes up 61% of watch time on smartphones and 59% on PCs, whereas 2016 showed that these longer videos made up only 45% of smartphone watch time and 55% on PCs. Furthermore, short-form video viewing on smartphones has gone down 25% from Q3 in 2016. A move to longer-form content means that viewers are invested in story, so if you’re producing video content, you should be invested in the story as well.

“In 2018, content marketing is about creating interesting content people actually want to engage with. Stop talking about your brand, and start creating content people want to read, watch, or listen to. Look at what the big brands are doing. Apple recently committed to spending $1 billion on original content for its streaming platform. PepsiCo opened a brand new content creation studio in downtown NYC with the aim of generating revenue and creating a vehicle for advertising their products.” — Gary Henderson, Forbes Agency Council

Despite a shift to longer content that favors storytelling, brands mostly produce videos that are product-focused, demos, and explainers. A study from Vidyard shows that social media videos only make up 38% of branded videos. That being said, when we looked into the impact of branded videos last September, we found that 84% of consumers have been convinced to purchase a product after watching a video and that 91% of consumers have watched explainer videos to learn about a product or service.

Digital Video in a Mobile World

When was the last time you left the house without your smartphone? You probably can’t remember. People spend a large amount of their internet time on their smartphones and are using them to watch more video than ever before.

When Ooyala started measuring the percentage of video plays occurring on mobile devices in 2011, it was only 1.4% of all video plays. Today, it’s at 58.3%. And videos that are optimized for mobile viewing (vertical or square), receive higher engagement rates. At Animaker, they found that vertical videos reached 58% more people than horizontal videos. This most likely means that viewers are favoring vertical videos because they are more convenient to watch on their smartphones.

Digital Video in a Virtual World

At this point, most of the major video platforms (YouTube, Facebook, Vimeo, etc.) and many news websites support 360° video. With Google Cardboard and an increasing number of cheap virtual reality headsets making virtual and augmented reality easier to view, it’s clear that 360° video production will continue to grow. Cisco estimates that VR and AR will represent 1% of all entertainment traffic on the internet by 2021.

Digital Video in a Content-Saturated World

Publishers have been worried for a few years now that they’re losing viewers’ attention to an online world over-saturated with content. And with video expected to start making up the majority of internet traffic in the next couple years, it’s a valid concern.

FACT: Video will represent 80% of all Internet traffic by 2021. (Tubular)

Reuter’s Digital News Report showed that audiences struggle to remember the name of the news brand that told a story, but that they could recall the story and how they found it (search or social media). It’s not the brand name that people are engaging with and remembering — it’s the content. And the number of video content produced by both brands and media companies each year is rising. In Vidyard’s study, they found that 59% of publishers produce more than eleven videos annually. They reported that 88% of large companies and even 80% of small companies produce more than five videos every year, with the average amount of videos produced per company in 2017 coming in at 38 videos. Plus, these companies are finding that video converts better than other types of content.

Source: Vidyard

So how do you cut through the noise to reach your audience? Produce quality over quantity by focusing on engaging, empathetic storytelling. When thinking about your video strategy for this year, consider stories that will humanize your brand and create a connection between your brand and your viewers. Visual storytelling can be extremely powerful if you evoke emotion, are authentic, and provide some value for the viewer — whether that’s entertainment, information, or a unique experience.

If you need help scaling your content strategy or finding stories that will resonate with your audience, Storyhunter has professional freelance filmmakers in over 180 countries ready to pitch you story ideas or fill your production needs. Find your next story with us today.


Animaker, Cisco, Facebook, Forbes, Ooyala, Reuters Institute, TrackMaven, Tubular, Vidyard

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By the D. Simone Kovacs, Storyhunter Editor