In recent years, Facebook has lost ground to other players.
Norway is relatively far ahead in digitisation, and the development is clear here: Figures published by Ipsos Norway show that during the third quarter of 2022, 67% of people used Facebook daily, 53% Snapchat, 30% YouTube, and 20% TikTok.
The fastest growing social media platforms, Snapchat and TikTok, have one thing in common: They are far more video-driven, and they can offer a particularly good user experience.
When it comes to video use, traditional media is lagging behind. In the 2022 Reuters Digital News Report, the authors noted the following: “It is surprising to find that all age groups, on average, say they still prefer to read news online rather than watch it — and we have seen little change in underlying preferences since we last asked the question in 2019. Younger audiences, however, are significantly more likely to say they watch the news, perhaps because they are more exposed to networks like Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok.”
Bad user experience
The same Reuters report also investigated why users still prefer text to such a large extent. Users who would rather read text than watch video give the following reasons:
- 50% say reading is a quicker way to access information.
- 35% say pre-roll advertisements put them off.
- 34% say reading offers more control than playing videos.
If you compare traditional news media users’ experiences of video with players such as Snapchat and TikTok, there are big differences in those user experiences.
Most news media content is still delivered in wide format on mobile and not the height format that is required on mobile. Additionally, the advertising experience is perceived as significantly more intrusive. Poorer user experience seems to be a very important reason why video has not seen the same development here as in social media.
Mobile vs. desktop
We experienced something similar when users started to move from desktop to smartphones. Other players quickly adapted to the new screen.
However, it took a surprisingly long time before many of the traditional media outlets managed to create a good user experience for text on mobile, which required something completely different from what we offered on desktop. The screen size, format, and usage situation on mobile are fundamentally different than on desktop.
It’s also pertinent to ask whether traditional media are sufficiently suited when it comes to content production itself.
Many traditional media have long created video content similar to what is broadcast for television, but digital video must be created differently to work. Talking heads may have worked when the user was sitting on a sofa watching TV.
Digitally, the user needs to get to the core much faster. Getting to the point and showing action, confrontation, and emotion is what is most important when it comes to digital news consumption on video.
Development is necessary
Traditional media have lost ground against the tech giants for a long time, both commercially and editorially. Trust in traditional media is still high, but user habits are drastically changing, especially among young people.
Many news media are skilled at arranging their video content on social media such as TikTok and Snapchat, but one of our biggest challenges will be the ability to create an equally good user experience of video on our own platforms going forward.