Social Video Views Pass 1 Billion for Quarter for First Time, 40% Rise Over Last Year

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Social video viewership jumped 40% in the first quarter of 2012 over last year, driven in large part by the popularity of the “Kony 2012” video and also by Super Bowl ads online. Videos created by brands generated 1.3 billion views for the quarter, which is also a more than three times gain over the first quarter of 2010, said Visible Measures in its latest social video quarterly report.

The first quarter is typically a strong one for branded video viewership because of the influx of new Super Bowl spots online, but viewership was also strong across the board, and in particular for “Kony 2012,” which launched in March and garnered more than 170 million views, the most of any branded video campaign. Visible Measures said even without the Kony video, the quarter would still have set a record and topped 1 billion views for the first time. For comparison, in the fourth quarter of 2011, Web users viewed online video ads for brands more than 745 million times.

In the most-viewed video category for the first quarter of 2012, Super Bowl spots largely followed “Kony 2012.” M&M’s “Just My Shell” racked up the most online views of any Super Bowl ad online with more than 41 million views. Visible Measures said M&M’s viral success with that spot came from imitation — more than 80% of the social video views were for copies or derivatives, which underscores the high level of interest from a range of sources.

Volkswagen’s “The Dog Strikes Back” landed third with 37 million views, followed by the non-Super Bowl spot Rovio’s “Angry Birds Space” with more than 30 million views, then “Matthew’s Day Off,” with more than 25 million views.

When measuring by brand, the most successful social brand for the quarter was Invisible Children, because of “Kony 2012,” followed by Volkswagen. Interestingly, Volkswagen not only enjoyed success from its Super Bowl spot this year, but also continues to amass viewers from last year’s hit “The Force.” Google slid in as the third most watched brand, with nearly 60 active campaigns collectively driving nearly 45 million views. In Google’s case, the company is going for a consistent availability of videos, rather than a big bet on just one. Its 45 million view count is also 10 million higher than last quarter, Visible Measures said. Old Spice and M&Ms rounded out the brand list.

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