It amazes me that so of the content I see on Instagram are actually videos. You might be thinking – yes, but you can post videos on Instagram. I don’t disagree. It simply surprises me that so much of the content that’s being uploaded is video. Maybe it shouldn’t be a surprise because according to a new report by Ericsson, three-quarters of all mobile traffic will be used for video by 2023. Today, video only accounts for about half of the mobile usage. Not only will that number increase, but it’s also expected that people will be watching the video on their smartphones. Overall, worldwide mobile data traffic will increase to 110 ExaBytes per month by 2023, according to Ericsson. We currently use only about 14 ExaBytes per month.
What does this mean, though? Well, if we are going to start consuming more videos, then we are going to need data plans to support that change. At present, the average amount of data that a smartphone owner uses per month is about 2.9 GB. Keep in mind that this is the average. I know people who use very little data per month and others who use an obscene amount. That average is expected to rise to 17 GB by 2023, which means that bigger or unlimited data plans will end up being necessary.
Now, from a consumer perspective, this doesn’t necessarily mean a lot. Just that we will need to watch out for larger plans. However, if you’re a business owner, or you’re Facebook for example – this is huge. If you’re scratching your head and asking why I will spell it out for you – this is a huge opportunity for advertising. It seems that people are watching more videos because they’re convenient. That’s not to say that they aren’t watching TV, but people tend to watch them because they’re short and can be easily viewed anywhere anytime. This is likely why Facebook is wanting to get into the original content business, by producing their own TV shows.
From a consumer perspective, there seems to be a greater sense of communal sharing and engagement when people share videos. According to a study that Facebook conducted in the summer:
“Our survey showed that people are also drawn to mobile video on Facebook and Instagram because compared with traditional TV, it’s 2.9x more likely to help them feel connected to friends and family and 1.9x more likely to give them something to talk about. In other words, it makes them feel part of an engaged community.”
Which is an interesting thought, don’t you think? They view a video and therefore they feel like they are part of something. To me, that suggests that they can discuss these kinds of things with their friends. You can say “hey, did you see that video?” and it can start a conversation. If I go back to the marketing angle for a moment, online videos are a great way to target your message to the right people at the right time. Buying ad space on television is extremely expensive. And you can’t narrow in on who you should be advertising to. But with social media platforms, there are ways to know who are dog owners, for example, and then only send them the videos about the latest and greatest dog food.
While video consumption is increasing, I think we still need to keep in mind that the industry is going to use us to make more money. I am not saying that to sound cynical, but I think it’s worth keeping in mind. But we can’t stop the future from arriving, and 2023 is just around the corner.