2013 brought video to dizzying new heights. More than 1bn unique visitors visit YouTube each month to watch more than 6bn hours of video. That equals almost an hour for every person on Earth, and 50% more in 2013 than in 2012.

According to Nielsen, YouTube reaches more US adults aged 18-34 than any cable network, whereas 70% of YouTube traffic comes from outside its homeland.

While all this is going on, 100 hours of video are uploaded to the site every minute, according to YouTube.

YouTube has begun identifying and ‘thanking’ their rising video stars. Last year the company bought a location in California for an undisclosed amount, simply for the use of their most popular YouTubers to create content.

It is said that the explosion of short form content has been the biggest transformation in the online video landscape over the last 12 months. The introduction of Twitter’s Vine app last January encouraged other companies, such as Instagram, to remain competitive and release their own video creation platform. The growth of online video has been exponential.

In the first eight hours of the launch of Instagram’s video application, over a year’s worth of video footage was shared on the platform.

The short form content explosion has presented brands with an excellent opportunity to create and distribute video in real-time, without the production lead-in times and expenses usually associated with longer form video content. This will only accelerate as consumption of video on mobile devices continues to increase

With the wealth of channels and video options available, content producers are able to reach bigger and different audiences more easily. Video content is no longer the domain of broadcasters, as more and more brands are getting in on the act and doing a great job by creating great content.

And so we begin (finally) the best practice tips for creating great content. So here we go.

Know your audience

Know your audience

Jeremy Stinton, Strategy Director, Buto:

Really understanding your audience and validating that you understand them, rather than just thinking you know what they want, is absolutely vital. This insight allows you to cut through the noise out there and create content your audience want to view, talk about and share. Start by understanding the problem and creating the strategy first before going anywhere near the content.                                                    

Knowing who you will be creating the videos for requires research into factors such as age, gender and lifestyle. Once you know more about your audience you can start to find out where they are – which online communities they’re part of and how they choose their sources of information.

This will be priceless when you come to thinking about how to reach them.

Choose the platform that is right for you

As tempting as it is to choose to post your company videos on the more popular sites such as Vine or Instagram, think about the relevance of the sites to both you and your customers before you do anything.

There are many other sites that may be the right one for you. Using video to increase overall site dwell time is about offering the right content at the right time. Offering a TV micro-site or ‘video’ section to your website could provide a great opportunity for deeper engagement with the brand.

There are many different factors to consider in this instance and a lot of thought is required.

Progress can mean giving the consumer more control

 Sarah Wood, COO, Unruly Media:

Technology is bringing about sweeping shifts in the balance of power and social video is fundamentally changing the rules of advertising. Long gone are the days when all an advertiser would need to do is buy the airtime, create the spot, blast it out to a captive audience.

Today consumers pick and choose what they watch and brands that succeed in the 21st century will be those that give consumers more control and that applies to their marketing strategy too!

Pay attention to the video SEO

Online Video SEo

Video SEO presents an opportunity to reach audiences for free and yet it remains the single most under-deployed tactic in online video. The video SEO process works differently to web pages in search engines and it appears to be this technical detail, along with a lack of understanding that is causing a lot of brands to miss out.

It’s easier to get on to page one of Google with a video than a normal web page but most businesses are spending funds improving their position in search engine results pages through more traditional SEO.

Very few companies are doing the same for video despite the fact it’s much simpler. We strongly encourage you to be one of the few that does it.

Focus on targeted and timely video advertising


In the last three years, video advertising spend has increased almost six-fold to 487%. Video’s share of online and mobile display grew by 50% from 12% to 18% in the first half of 2013. Mobile video advertising specifically grew sharply, up 1,260% from £1.7m in the first half of 2012 to £23m in the first half of 2013”                       

Successful advertising is targeted, timely and relevant. Google, Facebook and the other ‘sleeping giants’ of the web have had a 10-year head start in audience research by understanding not only what people are looking for, but also who they are, on an individually addressable basis.

They’ve made this data – or at least, the ability to segment it – accessible to any online video strategist with a pulse and a credit card. Use this data, along with your collected customer information to figure out how best to attract an audience. 

Sarah Wood:

According to a study by Adap.tv, 58% of survey respondents said they plan to bring online video and TV ad planning closer together in 2013, while 67% of participants see online video advertising and TV advertising as complementary to each other (up from 59% last year).

Used in tandem, they can be highly effective as the edges between TV, tablet and mobile become increasingly blurred.

Seed your content for success

How do you seed your video

Video content needs to be widely viewed in order to simply gain an average amount of sharing. Even if your company has a video with fantastic, sharable content, it’s still possible that it won’t be found and therefore won’t be shared. Investing in seeding your campaign across a variety of platforms will make it easier to deliver good sharing metrics.

Now is the time to invest and create

Sarah Wood:

The social web is growing exponentially, with over 500 years of YouTube videos watched and 4bn items shared every day on Facebook alone. There has never been a better time for a brand to invest in creating and distributing content that causes people to laugh out loud, tingle with anticipation or feel the hairs on the back of their neck stand on end. The power of the sharing economy is growing stronger all the time. 

As covered on this blog earlier this year, there’s a high chance your biggest competitiors haven’t included video in their strategy. So perhaps it’s time to get ahead of the game. 

Learn from others

Waitrose Logo

One company that is doing all of the above very successfully is Waitrose. This premium food brand has had a dedicated food online video hub with six different channels, and has been creating content since 2009. They see high engagement on both Facebook and YouTube and measure across all platforms, which they then use to plan future content.

They have learned that their audience want short-formed content, and have tailored their videos to suit their consumers. They see higher conversions on the pages where they use video, and have designed mobile sites to ensure an effective and enjoyable consumer experience.

The focus that Waitrose have is on a greater volume of content, linking with their advertising and getting to know their audience better. I am looking forward to seeing where they take their video skills in 2014.

The report, Online Video 2014, written by the very talented Steffan Aquarone can be found on our site. You can also join in the conversation on Twitter using #onlinevideo2014.