A while ago, people would simply browse the internet to read news articles, read what their friends have been up to, or even just read interesting information that they could find on various websites. The key word that ties those activities together is read. People are using the internet, social media in particular, much less to read these days, and more to view. It is not text that people are interested in as much anymore; it is the images and videos that are posted all over the place. With cameras coming standard with any mobile device that you will find today, everyone has access to a photo-taking device. With that said, photos and videos seem to be taking over the web these days, and according to eMarketer, it is becoming a very noticeable transition.
First I must quote eMarketer’s most recent predictions for the young but gigantic social network, Twitter;
eMarketer forecasts that US adult Twitter users will reach 31.8 million in 2013, up 14.9% from the 27.7 million users in 2012. As the base grows, the way consumers use the site and what they share is also changing.
To say that, “what they share is also changing,” is almost an understatement, according to their research results. eMarketer reports that a couple months back, in July of this year, Diffbot, a website analysis company, did a study of over 750,000 Twitter shares, better known as Retweets of course. Rather than simply examine the Retweets though, the company examined the links that lied within them. They found that of these links, 36% were images. Articles only accounted for 16% of the links, and video followed those at 9%. With videos and images accounting for 45% of sharing on Twitter, written content is losing its place in the top ranks. Also important for marketers is the fact that products were only shared in 8% of Retweets.
So, since images are flooding Twitter streams everywhere, it is important to know where these photos are coming from. Luckily Diffbot did not stop their research at examining links. They also found where most of these image and video links were coming from. So, leading the way in places that people are sharing photos from on Twitter is Twitter itself. Retweets account for 40% of the image sharing on Twitter. Behind Twitter, though, was Instagram. Instagram has been rapidly growing in popularity, and continues to grow still. Being based on the sharing of images, it is easy to understand why it accounted for 15% of image sharing on Twitter. For video, with no surprise to anyone I’m sure; YouTube led the way, accounting for 60% of video links shared on Twitter.
For Twitter, it seems that images and videos will soon be the majority of what is seen in the live feed. Clearly, to the average social network user, these are the types of content that are most appealing. What does that mean for written content though? I’m sure it will stick around, but it may need an image to accompany it if anybody is to read it.