The last few years have seen some remarkable changes in the ways that the average Internet user interacts with online content. Touch screens and mobile devices are more popular and affordable than ever, which means that more content than ever before is being consumed on mobile devices, as compared to desktop computers.
Trends in Mobile Traffic
Recent reports estimate that mobile devices account for around 40% of all Internet traffic. What this means is that more and more websites, companies and brands are adopting what’s come to be known as a mobile first approach. It’s no secret why, either; most of us are, for better or worse, inseparable from our smartphones and tablets. When one of your Facebook friends shares a YouTube video, you’re more likely to come across it on your smartphone than you are on your desktop PC. It’s for that reason that YouTube has joined the throngs of websites out there that have adopted a mobile first approach.
Big Changes for YouTube
Interestingly, emerging trends in YouTube usage mimic larger Internet trends. Just as mobile use accounts for 40% of all Internet traffic, 40% of YouTube traffic is from mobile devices. YouTube is no doubt aware of that parallelism, which has certainly informed their push onto mobile devices.
What this also means is that content creators and online marketers are finding new ways to interact with customers, fans, and viewers, as well as making use of new guidelines for providing the best possible experience for mobile users.
It’s Not Just About Smartphones
First and foremost, YouTube’s increasing focus on mobile devices demands a better understanding of the types of devices out there right now. Smartphones are only one type of mobile device; tablets are also excellent tools for content consumption, and in many cases are superior to their smaller counterparts.
The video viewing experience on a tablet is in many ways superior, given its larger screen. In either case, though, content creators will want to be sure they’re providing content that best takes advantage of the great screen resolutions and pixel densities of the latest devices. Viewers now expect high definition content, and when it’s not available from their preferred brands and entertainers, they may very well turn their attention elsewhere.
No matter how artfully crafted your mobile content is, YouTube remains an excellent advertising tool. The experience is inherently different on mobile devices than it is on the desktop, however. Users can, for example, skip the ads that run before a given video. It might seem at first glance like YouTube’s push into the mobile world might be a blow for advertisers, when in truth the exact opposite is true. As reported by Business Insider, ads on YouTube are as much as three times more effective if users are given the option to skip them.
Make Your YouTube Channel a Destination
One of the most important things to remember when building your brand on YouTube (or any other social media website, for that matter) is to turn your main page into a destination. You want to entice would-be customers to visit your channel regularly, and that all starts with creating memorable content. Only a select few companies have had truly resounding success with this approach. Among them are Verizon Internet with their popular #fiosfootballgirl character and Old Spice, featuring Isaiah Mustafa’s beguiling Man Your Man Could Smell Like.
It’s companies like these that are not only proving instructive in how to make the most of YouTube’s forward-thinking mobile first policy, but are also earning a great deal of good will from would-be customers.
Michelle Smith is a freelance writer with a focus on social media and marketing. She can be found typing away on her laptop in sunny Boca Raton, Florida. Michelle welcomes your feedback at [email protected].