With smartphone penetration and 4G availability both on the increase, it comes as no surprise that digital video consumption is soaring, too. Thanks to the public’s hunger for engaging, snackable video content, each month one billion viewers come to YouTube – the second biggest search engine on the planet. According to David Black, Managing Director of Branding at Google UK, this adds up to an incredible opportunity for marketers and brands.

October 2015

While heads are turned by the ratings battle between X Factor and Strictly, another shift in the media landscape is gathering pace. Audience behaviour is changing. People don't just go online - now, they live their lives online.

Digital video consumption is soaring thanks to the growing penetration of smartphones and the ongoing roll-out of 4G that aims to make buffering a distant memory. No wonder that YouTube has become the second biggest search engine on the planet.

People are turning to online video every day looking for inspiration or information, to discover new things, or make decisions. These are ‘moments that matter’ to consumers as they live their lives. There are the ‘I want-to-watch moments’, ‘I want-to-do moments’, ‘I need-to-find moments’, and ‘I need-to-buy moments’. These moments matter to brands, too, because they are where decisions are being made and preferences are being shaped - lean-in moments when we expect our needs and wants to be fulfilled instantly.

Over one billion viewers come to YouTube every month. In the UK, nearly 60% of web users use YouTube when trying to find out how to do something and 83% of under 35s believe they can find out absolutely anything they need to learn via YouTube channels, according to a new Ipsos study.

The ‘how to …’ habit is becoming ingrained with people turning to the relatable guys at Sorted Food to learn how to make their first lasagna, or to Pixiwoo when they need tips on a great Halloween make-up. These are moments when brands can be highly relevant to consumers, and use intent signals to deliver the right message, at the right time.

Add entertainment to the mix and you’ll see the huge transformation afoot in media consumption. The perception that online video only offers clips of cats doing crazy things is as outdated as a dial-up modem.

People are tuning in to watch great content from their favourite creators and, as a result, the number of hours people spend watching videos on YouTube is up 60% year-on-year. If by now you haven’t heard of vloggers like Zoella and PewDiePie with their millions of loyal fans, you’re probably missing a trick.

High profile names familiar from television, like Jamie Oliver, have also set up channels to reach audiences and devised original, innovative programming ideas for the video generation. And yes, there is plenty of Strictly and X Factor content on YouTube as well.

This hunger for engaging, snackable video content offers marketers an incredible opportunity. The Ipsos study shows 66% of UK consumers who researched a product on their phone have thought about purchasing a brand they would not normally consider because they received relevant information at the right time - and 23% said they discovered new products or brands while watching online video.

It’s when brands use data based on a customer’s intent that the full power of video for marketing can be unlocked. For instance, if someone is looking up a video on island holiday destinations, travel companies can serve relevant content - maybe a ‘things to do’ or ‘best beaches’ list - at that precise instant. Brands can focus in on the moments that matter to people with the right message.

Consumers are willing to accept a brand coming into their lives if it can offer something entertaining, something useful, or both. That’s the power of online video - to connect brands with consumers is new ways.