Mobile device owners are a tremendously important—and rapidly growing— portion of the video viewing population. Mobile video viewers buy more, share more, and watch more videos than desktop viewers. With the prevalence of video in universal search results (currently comprising 60% of Google search results), one can easily assume that search and SEO/SEM are the best paths for discovering video on mobile devices. However, the data from a recent Telly/Harris Interactive Poll shows that social sharing, not search, is what drives mobile video discovery (BizReport). This means that if business videos aren’t optimized for both mobile and social sharing, then a large portion of consumers are excluded from viewing those videos.

finding video

Finding through friends

The Telly/Harris Interactive study examined the ways in which mobile users discovered videos on their mobile devices. The study revealed that only 41% of mobile video viewers discovered videos via traditional search engines, such as Google and Yahoo, while the majority of mobile video viewers (64%) discovered videos through traditional mobile video apps, like YouTube and Vimeo. Most notably, a significant portion of the viewing population (45%) discovered videos through social networking apps, such as Facebook and Twitter, and via email from family and friends (36%).

So while mobile users do discover some videos through search, videos that aren’t mobile optimized, sharable to social media websites (e.g. Facebook, Twitter), or posted to a social network page, are less likely to be found or shared by mobile users.

Strategic and tactical implications

Don’t abandon SEO or blogging efforts

This set of data does not suggest that SEO/SEM video tactics are useless for discovering videos. Rather, the aforementioned study merely highlights the fact that mobile users consume media differently than desktop users. Since mobile and desktop users discover videos differently, businesses should consider both avenues of media consumption when creating a profile or product video.

Consider a new kind of “showrooming”

One of the trendiest mobile-shopping buzz words is “showrooming”: the practice of going into a store (with an internet-connected mobile device) and shopping for bargains online, while in the store. A recent post in Online Media Daily highlights the need to transform the notion of showrooming, from one of threat to opportunity. Showrooming can be beneficial for retailers who have YouTube videos for their products, because consumers can learn about products before their purchases.  When shoppers learn more about products during their retail visits, they are likely to stay longer in the store and buy those products. Online Media Daily alludes to this practice in the following post:

About half of mobile users begin their retail shopping on a mobile device, while 1 in 4 mobile shoppers rely on their device throughout the purchase process. Some 55% of mobile retail shoppers ultimately make a purchase. Immediacy is important, with more than 30% of smartphone users and 25% of tablet users intending to make a purchase within an hour.

To make the most of the showrooming advantage, retailers can provide easy access to online product information. Taking this one step further, retailers can also display QR codes on products, so shoppers can scan product codes to easily access product information online.

Changing the notion of mobile shopping

It is important for businesses to understand the ways in which mobile/ desktop users discover videos so they can apply this knowledge to their marketing strategies. A video marketing strategy that focuses solely on SEO/SEM fails to consider the other ways in which mobile viewers discover videos.

In order to attract more video viewers, businesses must ensure that their videos are mobile optimized and sharable on social networking sites. This will increase the likelihood that mobile users will not only find the video easily, but also share the video with friends and other connections.

Chart from Marketing Charts: Social Recommendations Drive Mobile Video Discovery.