Video advertising through the websites and mobile apps of social networks is about to become big business, as the number of Snapchat videos watched every day has tripled in six months to six billion. The video-sharing platform is closing in on Facebook, which has eight billion daily views.
Facebook's figure has doubled from four billion in May, although these figures include views on both desktop and mobile apps – Snapchat's are purely from the company's smartphone app. The six billion figure initially came from a source of the Financial Times. Snapchat later confirmed it, but refused to comment further.
These huge (and growing) numbers will be welcome news for advertisers, as video ads are more valuable than static images or text. There is a balance to be struck, however, as website and social network users are extremely sensitive to invasive video ads, like those which automatically play with sound when they appear on the screen.
But what advertisers pay differs wildly depending on the platform. YouTube tracks video viewing in hours per user, while Facebook counts a video as viewed when it has played for just three seconds. Snapchat reportedly chargers advertisers for videos which are played by users for fractions of a second, owing to most of its videos being much shorter than those on other apps.
What advertisers produce will also change as their attention shifts from long-form television adverts to ads which last just a couple of seconds. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg acknowledged this recently, adding that traditional ad firms must work to cut their products up into bite-sized chunks.
"The more interesting question is not in the near term what we're going to do to develop ways to consume long-form content, but what traditional media and content producers who have traditionally produced long-form content, are going to do to chunk their stuff up better... that way it can be more easily consumed by this big community online." Looking ahead, Zuckerberg added: "We're just so early in this right now. It's pretty amazing how quickly it's growing, but there's a lot more to do."