Do you post videos online? 31% of American adults do

Posting videos online is one of the fastest growing areas of user-generated content and social media sharing. Between 2009 and 2013, the proportion of US adult internet users sharing videos online has more than doubles from 14% to 31% according to research from the Pew Internet & American Life Project. And 18% of US adults are sharing videos that they themselves have created.

Tools like Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook, as well as the rise in feature and smartphones with cameras, have helped to make image sharing much more ubiquitous and real-time. But video is more difficult – it is harder to make a video that looks good and it requires a better data connection to upload video. We are seeing this trend change as tools like YouTube and Vimeo make mobile upload and sharing of video easier and apps like Vine and Instagram allow sharing of short videos.

So it is easier to create and share video than ever before. And the significant rise in US adults doing just this shows the power that video can have.

According to Pew’s research, 27% of US adults have uploaded a video that they have not created and 18% have uploaded their own videos. Younger adults (aged 18/29) are almost twice as like as those aged over 50 to share video. And those from households with higher incomes are much more likely to share video – possibly related to the need for devices that can shoot video and data connections to upload content.

When examining why 18 % of adults share videos that they themselves have created, most reasons are quite domestic:

  • 58% are sharing videos of their family or friends doing everyday things
  • 56% are sharing videos of themselves doing funny things
  • 54% are sharing videos of events they have attended

It is interesting, however, to explore the other reasons people share. 35% of those who share video online (11% of all US adult internet users) hope that is will be seen by many people (that it will ‘go viral’¬†as they put it). Whilst it is unlikely that most of these videos will reach such a high level of popularity, it is interesting that a significant minority of internet users is specifically creating video content that they think will appeal to a large number of people.

This shows a level of maturity in our creation and sharing of video online. We have moved from just sharing video content that we have taken from elsewhere, and from sharing content of our family and events, to becoming video producers. We are starting to craft and share content with specific aims – notably that it will appeal to a wider audience than people that know us.

This maturing of the video sharing market looks set to continue for consumers, and is a trend that brands and organisations should be understanding and working with.