Digital Bytes: Video ad consumption rises

Welcome to FWM Digital Bytes, where we discuss all the biggest digital marketing and digital media news doing the rounds. This week, video ads dominate, Facebook launches Graph Search and CEOs struggle to get social…

Video ad consumption rises

Internet users watched 11.3 billion hours of video adverts last year, according to figures gathered by comScore. This is a growth of over 4 billion views on the figure from December 2011 (7.1 billion) and represents more than 22% of all videos viewed online. The comScore report reads: “Americans viewed 11.3 billion video ads in December, with Google Sites ranking first with nearly 2 billion ads. Time spent watching video ads totaled 4.1 billion minutes, with BrightRoll Video Network delivering the highest duration of video ads at 966 million minutes. Video ads reached 53 percent of the total U.S. population an average of 70 times during the month. Hulu delivered the highest frequency of video ads to its viewers with an average of 65, while Google Sites delivered an average of 20 ads per viewer.” Despite these impressive statistics, however, only 1.9 per cent of all minutes spent watching video online were spent watching video ads, so there’s still plenty of work to be done.

Facebook launch Graph Search

Facebook’s latest update is an internal search engine that will allow users to better navigate the site’s wealth of data. Announcing Graph Search at a highly anticipated press conference this week, Mark Zuckerberg explained that the search engine will use natural language to find photos from or data about users based on criteria such as location and interests. “We’re not indexing the web,” said Zuckerberg, who also dubbed the search engine the site’s “third pillar”. “We’re indexing our map of the graph – the graph is really big and its constantly changing. We look at Facebook as a big social database.” Zuckerberg was quick to allay privacy fears, saying that information would only appear if users let it, and insisted that rollout will be slow, with Graph Search becoming available “over the coming weeks and months”. As Graph Search does not search the web, only Facebook, it poses little threat to Google and PPC advertisingd, but Zuckerberg did admit that while the current focus is good user experience, Graph Search “could potentially be a business over time.”

CEOs fail to get social

Only 18 per cent of CEOs are on social networks according to figures released by global PR firm Weber Shandwick. The stat makes for poor reading especially when compared with similar research from 2010, which showed that only 16 per cent of CEOs had accounts – a measly 2 per cent rise in two years. Speaking to Mashable, Weber Shandwick’s President of Digital, Chris Perry said that fear is keeping the CEOs off Facebook and Twitter. “There is a risk with off-the-cuff commentary,” he said. “There are lots of examples of that hurting CEOs and the companies for being seen as undisciplined. These chief executives understand that their role does not change as storyteller-in-chief in the social age, it’s just a matter of how do you participate through company-owned properties rather than personal properties. They understand they have to be a leading voice, but they don’t think they have to spend their time amassing followers.” Weber Shandwick have put together an infographic featuring statistics on the social behaviour of the world’s top 50 CEOs.

Blowing bubbles with voice blogging

Voice-based blogging service Bubbly has launched in the UK with help from Manchester United star Rio Ferdinand. Bubbly allows users to create and share short voices messages called ‘Bubbles’ that can then have various filters (such as ‘Helium’ and ‘Synth’) applied; it is being dubbed Instagram for voice. “I love showing support for my fans, and Bubbly lets me connect with them in a way that I’ve never been able to before,” Ferdinand said. “Voice updates bring a fresh way for me to have a dialogue with my fans and I’ve been having a lot of fun posting recordings.” Thomas Clayton, CEO of Bubble Motion, Bubbly’s parent company, added: “We’re excited to bring such a fun and useful way of communicating with friends, family, and followers to Europe for the very first time. Having popular celebrities like Rio Ferdinand joining the service early on is great, because users will get to experience the Bubbly difference in the celebrity/fan connection right off the bat.”

Tablets create surge in new consumption

The consumption of online news rose over Christmas thanks to the wave of new tablet devices that were given as presents during the festive period. New research from YouGov shows that 12.2m adults now own a tablet, with four out of ten revealing that they use the device primarily to read news. “The UK tablet market is exploding,” Newsworks CEO Rufus Olins said. “These devices haven’t been around for long but after an extraordinary Christmas this research shows nearly 30% of the UK population now owns one. With intense competition driving down prices, more people are treating themselves to a tablet, across all ages and socio-economic groups. And they are spending a lot of time reading newspapers on their new gadgets. It is very good news for the news industry.”