Today Visible Measures is releasing The 2011 Social Video Advertising Report, an annual review of how well social video advertising is performing as a whole. And as a whole, it's doing very, very well. Over 500 branded social video campaigns gained more than a million views--which works out to be roughly one in every twelve social video campaigns in total. Not a bad track record.
Even the average campaign could be considered a success because the average campaign got 765,000 views.
For the report, Visible Measures looked mostly at their own data, which is pretty immense, but they left out any paid-placement performance data from campaigns they'd worked on. Every view in this report was user-initiated, which is a big part of what social video is trying to accomplish.
Social Video Is Up
Everything about this report is pretty positive on the future of social video. Total campaigns are up, companies participating are up, viewcounts are up, spending is up. And that should be no surprise. Brands are evolving beyond simple video advertising, turning increasingly toward content-as-advertising. By creating engaging and entertaining ad content, they're able to increase it's sharability, and therefore it's view count.
To date, for as long as there has been data until now, there have been 5.6 billion video views. That's a lot, but it's a mostly-fluffy number for me. Surely there were social video campaigns before we started measuring them... we just didn't know enough to call them social video campaigns. But nevertheless, it's still a huge number, and only covers a few years.
Over 500 campaigns earned a million views or more, and another 1,800 hit 100,000 or more. One in every twelve campaigns hit a million or more views, which leads me to my next point...
Get In While The Getting Is Good
The average branded social video campaign garnered 765,000 views in 2011. All but the most ambitious of brands would call that number a success. Two years ago, the average social video campaign grabbed only 460,000 views. The average number of views is going up... for now.
As more and more brands race to get in on the action, the odds of success are going to go down. There will be much more competition in two years than there is right now.
Make 'Em Laugh
Humor is the most popular choice for style of social video campaign, with over 860 brands going that route. It was also the most-liked by audiences, grabbing 770 million views (Celebs & Icons were in second with 609 million views, and musical ads were next at 544 million).
The report says humor wasn't the most effective creative approach, though, with other categories like Spoofs, Celebs & Icons, and Contests actually more consistently successful. Of course, you have to play semantics a little bit here, since I'm reasonably sure that spoofs are also humor-based. And a great number of the other categories surely had campaigns that, while "musical" or "animated," were also focused on humor.
But that's not the point. In fact, there's a really great argument to be made for splitting out spoofs--it's like its own little sub-category of Humor anyway, and data like this can be an extremely helpful guide when brands are choosing what creative approach to use for their own campaign.
The Auto Industry Is Winning The Social Video Race
Automotive brands are running away with all the ribbons and trophies in the social video Olympics. They grabbed a stunning 265 million views--averaging 910,000 per campaign. Apparel and Accessories was the second most active type of brand in social video in 2011, with 213 million views and an average of 1 million per campaign.
The most effective industry? The cell phone industry, which averaged over 2 million views per campaign. People really love smart phones, apparently.
According to the report, an age old question may have been answered. What is the best day for launching a video campaign? Most brands chose Monday or Tuesday, with Wednesday coming in third. The top performing campaigns, however, were released on Thursday:
Unsurprisingly, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday proved to be the worst days to launch, as judged by performance.
Reason for the Season?
The data even suggests that certain months, or certain seasons of the year may have greater social video potential than others. Many of the top campaigns were released in January, February, and March:
Social video may still mean slightly different things to different people, but the general idea is the same: video intended to grow and engage its audience through social media and social behavior. It's beyond obvious that this kind of campaign works, and that's why brands are rushing to it in droves. I wouldn't be surprised to see next year's report show that all these impressive 2011 numbers have doubled in 2012.
The brands that will succeed in the near future of online video are the brands that focus on giving the viewer a reason to watch, which usually boils down to this: don't sell them, entertain them.