Why Online Video Will Win the Decade

19/08/2016 10:35 | Updated 19 August 2016

When Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg, talks, people take note.

Delivering a keynote at Facebook's F8 developer conference this year, tech maestro, Zuckerberg, opened by stating that in the next decade, "video will look like as big of a shift in the way we all share and communicate as mobile has been."

His key takeaway was this:

"Give everyone the power to share anything with anyone."

And therein lies the power of video.

It may seem like an old phenomenon, but digital video is set to take the world by storm.

Consumers are becoming less interested in interruption-based marketing; that is, the type of marketing we didn't ask for: cold calls (obviously); television adverts between our favourite TV shows; and online messaging we didn't sign up to.

What we are interested in is: content marketing. Valuable, targeted information about the things we care about.

And online video is the future of content marketing.

More customers view, watch and share videos on the so-called Buyer's Journey - awareness, consideration, decision - than any other content.

And with a Microsoft study claiming that the human attention span stands at a paltry 8 seconds, compared to the 9-second hold of a goldfish, time is of the essence.

The attraction for early-adopters, is getting in early.

Online, or 'digital video', is set to disrupt a series of different industries, from football to entertainment to education - and many others.

The British broadcaster, BT Sport's live broadcast of the Europa League final, between Liverpool and Sevilla, and the Champions League showdown between Real Madrid and city rivals, Atletico, is an example of mainstream media beginning a new era of "live mass broadcast for major sporting events". The live broadcast was beamed to an online audience of 3 million people alone.

The move follows Twitter's coup in winning the rights to live stream ten Thursday night games from the US's National Football League (NFL).

To underscore how much interest there was in this, Yahoo and Amazon lost out in a bidding war.

As Vayner Media founder and serial entrepreneur, Gary Vaynerchuk, expounds: "Where you have an audience, you have an opportunity to sell to that audience."

And with 320 million active users worldwide, Twitter has an audience.

The games will be live-streamed on its app, Periscope.

Facebook, YouTube and SnapChat, which has been eating away at Facebook's younger user base in recent months, are the modern-day equivalent of CNN, CNBC and Sky News. The great thing about these platforms is that you don't need to rely on a filter to deliver the story; you, your brand and business, can be the storyteller.

On a recent trip to the UK recently, I attended three live football matches. But what I was gripped by after was the preponderance of videos being shared; Twitter videos of fans on the turnstiles, particular songs that have picked up resonance and player misdemeanours not caught on TV.

Even a cursory glance at the level of engagement will tell you that the public loves video.

When hundreds and thousands of people are commenting on an incident before the media - or incidents that broadcast media cannot or will not show - it becomes a story that mainstream media cannot ignore.

We live in an inside-out world, where a growing impulse to share every nuance of our lives - text, pictures but, increasingly, video - is taking centre stage.

Three reasons why video will change the way we communicate in the next decade:

1. Availability of Tools:

Mark Zuckerberg - yes, the guy who created a social sharing platform that became the third largest IPO in US history at $104 billion - believes we are entering an era where video will be the primary form of content we share. Current engagement of video underscores this and his Facebook Live creation, means Zucks is putting walking his talk.

Twitter boasts 320 million active users worldwide. In Africa, where infrastructure is developing, it's not always possible to get to a 5 or 6pm event across town because of traffic. In some markets, such as Kenya, 4G is becoming readily available. Live streaming your event, therefore, on a platform such as Periscope could double or triple your in-person audience.

Think about the huge sponsorship opportunities and synergies this presents for businesses hosting events.

2. Online Courses...

Is already a $100 billion+ industry, according to market research firm, Global Industry Analysts.

We are living in an age of unprecedented access to information. Sites such as Teachable and Udemy, have tapped into the growing trend for experts to showcase their skills online.

These courses rely heavily on video tutorials and the rise in connectivity - not just in the developed world - will radically change how we access education, jobs and healthcare.

3. Huge access to Mobile Technology

Even in developing markets, the mobile phone has become a status symbol. Not just in cosmopolitan capitals such as Nairobi, but the rural countryside, too. More people are watching Kenyan rapper Octopizzo's music videos in the relatively rural city of Kisumu than in the country's urban capital.

What's more, Cisco predicts that there will be a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of some 59% in the Middle East and Africa, from 2014-2019. In numbers we trust.

On a trip to the UK recently, I was watching a live football match in Switzerland, whilst walking in the south of England. Cool, right? This is the future of mobile consumption.

Kevin Widdop is a marketer, storyteller and speaker, based in London and Nairobi. Read more from him at