With all of the buzz around the growth of online social media this year, the expansion of online video usage is frequently overlooked. In 2009 online video consumption in the United States increased by 31% from 2008. To put that into perspective, 8.9 billion videos were viewed by 120.3 million U.S. citizens in September of 2009 alone. This is more than 60% of the working population of the US. Given these numbers, it's essential that career sites and recruitment initiatives begin to incorporate more video content in order to conform to these trends in user behavior.
This growth in video consumption can be attributed to 3 primary technology changes that have reached critical mass over the last several years:
- Improvements in the Speed and Growth of Broadband: In 2009, year-over-year use of home broadband increased from 55% to 63%. As the internet speed that broadband provides increases, so does the frequency with which users are able to view streaming video, which is the single largest source of bandwidth usage in homes. The ubiquity of broadband has greatly facilitated the ease with which streaming video can be viewed and has greatly promoted the growth and use of online video. For the majority of internet users streaming video has evolved over the past several years from an infrequent and inconsistent experience to an integral part of most online sessions.
- Improvement in Mobile Devices: The proliferation of the iPhone and its competitors now allows easy access to streaming video via mobile devices. As a result, mobile video usage in the U.S. has grown an astounding 70% in 2009. Today, 7% of mobile users in the US consume video via smartphones. The mobilization of streaming video offers up an entirely new audience of video users that is only going to increase as smart phone technology improves and mobile users become more acquainted with viewing video on mobile devices.
- Social Media Video Usage Increase: Facebook had nearly 20.5 million unique video viewers in the month of July, nearly ¼ of its entire US audience. As Facebook continues to grow, so too will the number of users that utilize Facebook to view video content. Moreover, as video capture technology improves on mobile devices, social networks will continue to see a steep rise in uploaded video content and presumably a correlated increase in video views.
What does this mean for recruitment? Obviously such a massive shift in user behavior has far-reaching implications. One thing is clear: digital recruitment solutions are going to have to expand in order to include accessible, sharable video. YouTube is currently the largest source of online video views, commanding 41% of the video market share in the US (no other video site has over 4%). With more than 100 million unique monthly viewers who average more than 5 video views per day, it's apparent that developing a presence on YouTube is essential to finding and engaging online audiences. The challenge that this presents is capitalizing on the growth of viral video in a manner that is consistent with viral video culture. Over 40 million people were "RickRolled" this year. If you know what that means, then viral video culture has already permeated your digital lexicon.
Career sites are going to have to feature more video content in order to conform to these emerging trends in online video usage so that career sites can meet user expectations. Many users have to come to rely on streaming video as a source of information. Integrating video into career sites in a way that is conducive to promoting the apply process presents both a challenge and an opportunity to advance the usability of career sites and ensure that digital recruitment provides the same accessibility and ease of use as the consumer experience. Recruitment videos are going to have to be more informational and didactic in order to amalgamate with the apply process. To this end, career videos are going to have to borrow from consumer and viral video trends and provide onscreen links and interactive content that is integrated into the application process.