The Best Social Media Platforms for Video Content in 2024 [Consumer Data]

Social media has become practically synonymous with video content. As of 2024, the average person spends over an hour per day watching online videos, with a large and growing share of that happening in social media apps.

But which platforms are actually capturing the most attention and engagement for video? While TikTok tends to grab the headlines, the reality is more complex. To get a clearer picture, we surveyed over 300 consumers to find out where they most commonly watch social media videos.

The results reveal that YouTube remains the dominant destination for video, but TikTok is a growing force to be reckoned with. Meanwhile, Meta‘s Facebook and Instagram are working hard to catch up in the video game.

Here‘s a deeper look at the state of social media video in 2024, along with some tips on how to build an effective multi-platform video strategy.

YouTube Holds On to the Top Spot

Our survey found that 37% of respondents still name YouTube as the social platform where they most commonly watch videos. That‘s no surprise considering the incredible scale that the platform operates at.

According to YouTube‘s own statistics, the platform now has over 2.6 billion monthly active users worldwide watching over 1 billion hours of video every day. 500 hours of new video content is uploaded every minute.

Other eye-popping YouTube stats for 2024:

  • 74% of US adults use YouTube
  • Average US user spends 29.5 hours per month on YouTube (nearly 1 hour per day)
  • Average session duration is 40 minutes, up 50% from 2020
  • 250 million hours per day spent watching YouTube on TV screens

While long-form video remains core to YouTube, the platform has also seen explosive growth in YouTube Shorts, its short-form TikTok competitor. Shorts now average over 30 billion daily views, quadruple the total from just a year ago.

TikTok‘s Surge Continues

The biggest disruptor in the social video space continues to be TikTok. The app saw meteoric growth during the pandemic and hasn‘t slowed down since. Our survey found that 22% of respondents now say TikTok is their top social app for watching video.

TikTok‘s scale is quickly catching up to the incumbent social media giants. The app now has over 1.2 billion monthly active users and is still growing rapidly in the US and Europe especially.

Even more impressive is TikTok‘s incredible engagement metrics. Check out these 2024 TikTok stats:

  • Average user session is 10.85 minutes
  • Average user opens the app 19 times per day
  • Average user spends 95 minutes per day on TikTok, surpassing Facebook (74 minutes) and Instagram (51 minutes)
  • 167.5 million videos are viewed on TikTok every minute

TikTok‘s engagement is off the charts compared to other social platforms. The app‘s personalized "For You" feed algorithmically curates an addictive, endless stream of short videos ideally suited to each user‘s interests. Once TikTok has you hooked, it‘s hard to stop scrolling.

Meta‘s Video Catch-Up Efforts

The popularity of TikTok has forced incumbent social platforms, especially those owned by Meta, to quickly shift focus and invest in short-form video.

According to our survey, 18% of respondents still mostly watch videos on Facebook, while 12% say Instagram is their main app for video consumption. While these numbers trail YouTube and TikTok by a significant margin, both Facebook and Instagram have massive scale as two of the world‘s largest apps.

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the company would "double down" on video and declared it a "massive opportunity." The company‘s TikTok-clone Reels has become the fastest-growing content format on both Facebook and Instagram.

Check out these Facebook video stats for 2024:

  • 47% of all time spent on Facebook is watching video
  • Facebook videos receive over 4 billion views per day, with 70% coming from mobile
  • Facebook Reels engagement up 220% since 2022 launch

And these Instagram video numbers:

  • Instagram users spend 53% of their time on the app consuming video
  • Reels make up over 20% of the total time spent on Instagram
  • 91% of active Instagram users watch videos weekly

While Instagram is increasingly becoming a video-first platform, our survey shows it still lags behind YouTube, TikTok, and even Facebook as consumers‘ go-to app for video content. But with Reels‘ rapid growth, that could change in the coming years.

Emerging Social Video Trends

Looking beyond the current leaders, the social video space never stays still for long. Here are a few key trends marketers should have on their radar:

Social Commerce: Live shopping videos, where creators showcase products in real-time and interact with viewers, are seeing fast adoption especially in Asia. Startups like Whatnot and Popshop Live are bringing the concept to US audiences.

VR/AR: As virtual and augmented reality tech goes mainstream, expect to see more immersive social video experiences. Snapchat and TikTok already offer popular AR filters and lenses. Meta is investing heavily in its ‘metaverse‘ vision centered around VR.

AI-Generated Content: Advanced AI image and video generation models like DALL-E are quickly making it possible for anyone to create unique, professional-grade video content from simple text prompts. This could be a game-changer for smaller creators and brands.

Participatory Video: Twitch pioneered a more interactive, real-time engagement model for video live streams. Other apps like YouTube, TikTok, and Instagram are now adding more features for creators to interact with fans and incorporate their feedback into content.

Building a Winning Social Video Strategy

With both short and long-form video now essential on every major platform, brands need a comprehensive and tailored approach to social video. Here are five key elements of an effective strategy:

1. Plan for Each Platform

Each social platform has a unique audience, feature set, and content style. To maximize your impact, create a distinct video plan for each major channel, taking into account:

  • Ideal video length and format
  • Popular content categories and trends
  • Audience demographics and intentions
  • Platform-specific features and optimization tactics

For example, on TikTok, your plan would focus on short, entertaining videos incorporating trending music clips, hashtags, and challenges. On YouTube, it would revolve around longer-form tutorials, product reviews, and thought leadership content.

2. Stay Short, Snappy, and Specific

Regardless of the platform, keep individual videos short, punchy, and targeted. Aim for 1-2 minute lengths most of the time. You can, of course, go longer for different video types like interviews. And these brief videos can come together to form longer series that you can link to each other.

"The optimal length will vary by platform, but a good rule of thumb is to keep it under 30 seconds, especially for short-form-first apps like TikTok," advises social video expert Jon Youshaei. "People‘s attention spans are shorter than ever online."

3. Hyper-Target Your Content

Effective social video is all about giving people exactly what they want to see. Use personas and surveys to find out what content your key audiences crave, then develop a slate of topics that cater to each interest group or market segment.

Once you have a target viewer in mind, make every video clearly aimed at them, from the thumbnail image to the content to the caption. Speaking directly to a specific audience creates a feeling of intimacy and community.

One metric to watch closely is Average View Duration (AVD). "Chasing vanity metrics like views is less important than the amount of time people give you in a session," says Russ Caditz-Peck of Lemonpie. "Optimize for longer and longer AVDs to know you‘re building a loyal audience."

4. Collaborate with Creators

Influencer partnerships should be a key component of any social video strategy. Creators are invaluable for both developing original content and spreading your brand message to relevant audiences.

When choosing creators to work with, prioritize engagement rates and audience alignment over vanity metrics like follower counts. Incorporate them authentically into your campaigns rather than being too heavy-handed with brand messaging.

5. Invest in Quality and Be Consistent

With so much competition for views, brands can‘t afford to be sloppy with their video production. While you don‘t need Hollywood-level budgets, professional lighting, sound, and editing go a long way to building credibility.

Consistency is also crucial. "Commit to a regular video posting schedule – usually at least 3-5 videos per week," says Mae Karwowski of Obviously Social Talent. "Platforms and audiences reward consistency over time."

Key Takeaways

  • YouTube remains the dominant platform for video in terms of total users and time spent. The popularity of YouTube Shorts also makes the platform viable for short-form.
  • TikTok is the most addictive and engaging video app, especially for Gen-Z, and is forcing other platforms to copy its short-form format.
  • Meta‘s Facebook and Instagram are making video, especially Reels, a bigger priority to keep users‘ attention as TikTok rises.
  • A multi-pronged social video strategy tailored to each platform‘s unique audience and style is now essential for brands.
  • Emerging trends around social commerce, VR/AR, AI content generation, and interactive video could reshape the landscape in the coming years.

The data is clear: social media users can‘t get enough video content. By developing a robust, platform-specific video strategy incorporating the latest trends and best practices, brands can capture their attention and drive real business results. Just remember, keep it snappy!