In 2010 the ubiquity of smartphones was at its all-time peak followed by an influx in user-generated content (UGC). Today, mobile video is at an inflection point where premium video content is dubbed a social currency — especially by the likes of Millenials and Gen Z. In fact, according to a new report from Snapchat in partnership with the National Research Group, global mobile viewership is on the rise 6 percent year-over-year (YoY).
With mobile content that allows Millenials and Gen Z to stay informed and initiate conversations about what they’re engaging with, these experiences continue to find significance for their convenience and, most importantly, their role to allow younger demographics to be key contributors to cultural conversations as opposed to passive observers.
Here’s a breakdown of the report’s main findings:
Mobile is the main event
Per the report’s findings, mobile has officially secured the top spot for where we spend our time. Specifically, between 2014 and 2020 screen time on smartphones has multiplied by more than 1.5x — that’s an increase from 2.5 hours per day to 4 hours and 18 minutes. Of this, 47 minutes, or 20 percent, of time is allocated towards video viewing.
How does this stack up to traditional TV viewing? Despite added TV time for Gen Z and Millennial consumers while isolating at home, younger generations are still prioritizing mobile video. This is supported by a comparison between TV and mobile viewership in just the last two years which shows that mobile lagged behind TV by two minutes until recently, where it now leads it by a whopping 29 minutes. This growth is undoubtedly led by younger consumers, 73 percent of which claim they watch more video on their smartphones than they did just a year ago — up from 65 percent.
The big takeaway here to note? Premium mobile video is shaping a new viewing standard of storytelling. This is underscored in mobile’s dominance over desktop viewership as seen in spikes on OTT, gaming consoles, and other connected devices. In 2020 alone, we’re experiencing a 40 percent increase in daily engagement across both short-form and long-form content.
Key elements of engaging mobile video content
Snapchat outlines three fundamental principles to bear in mind to ensure you’re providing an effective mobile experience: personal connection, share-worthiness, and relatability. When combined, it leaves viewers feeling informed, better connected, and motivated to express themselves and participate in the dialogue.
Aside from the physical vertical video creating a sense of intimacy and being immersed, successful mobile content has emotional through-line to the story it’s sharing. They contain characters or narratives that feel relevant and open the window of opportunity to discover and share their own experiences as part of a larger, meaningful community. According to Snapchat’s findings, 3 in 4 Gen Z and Millennial consumers associate short-form premium mobile video with moving characters/personalities, and storylines that give them a sense of excitement, adventure, or suspense.
Whether in the form of a tutorial being used to overcome a specific obstacle or a simple but quirky video good for a laugh, mobile experiences are choices that are intentional and of the moment. This hyper-relevance ultimately drives hyper-connection as it becomes fuel for navigating day-to-day life.
Short-form as a social currency
Perhaps the biggest takeaway laid out in this report is the fact that yes, short form as a format is convenient and more easily accessible — but its intrinsic value goes beyond entertainment. Particularly in the context of the global pandemic, the social currency afforded by mobile video has enabled Gen Z and Millenials to cope by helping them practice personal growth and wellness (77%), stay connected to family and friends who they can’t see face-to-face (76%), and staying informed (59%).
No matter the length, people will share things that represent them, and that enables them to grow and thrive. With mobile video continuing to serve a range of needs every day from practicing mindfulness to mastering a new skill, Snapchat anticipates the number of viewers to grow to 2.72 billion by 2023. The connection and self-expression viewers seek in mobile video experiences will become even more central in the future and met by expansion in areas including AR delivering next-level social participation and immersion.
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