The emergence of video as a leading part of the social media experience is having a profound impact on mobile data. Mobile data volume will grow 8-fold over the next 5 years, with video occupying three-quarters of the volume in 2022.
Video driving mobile data consumption
Ericsson’s Q3 2016 Mobility Report forecasts a massive growth in the consumption and use of mobile data. In just the last year, worldwide mobile data consumption has increased from 5.3 ExaBytes per month (EB/mon) to 8.5EB/mon. By 2022, the company is expecting it to reach 69EB/mon. By comparison, Ericsson says fixed broadband is driving 70EB/mon today, reaching 170EB/mon by 2022.
In North America, average data consumption by each smartphone user is 5.1GB/mon. This will grow to 25GB/mon in 2022. Western European smartphone users are expected to consume 22GB/mon by 2022.
The fastest growing data application category over the next 5 years will be video. Ericsson says it will grow an average of 50% per year between now and 2022. Today half of the 8.5EB/mon people consume on mobile is video. By 2022, three-quarters of the 69EB/mon consumed will be video. In other words, mobile video traffic volume will increase over 12 times by 2022.
Social driving video consumption
Social media will be the second fastest growing mobile application over the next 5 years. Ericsson expects mobile data absorbed by social media to increase 39% year-over-year through 2022. Since social isn’t growing as fast as video, its share of data traffic will decrease from 15% today to 10% in 2022. However, the total volume of mobile social data will more than quadruple by 2022, to reach 7EB/mon. This number is even more remarkable because Ericsson does not include video plays inside social apps in the social category. They are counted in the video total.
There are several reasons to believe that social media will drive a bigger increase in mobile video than it experiences itself.
Both Facebook and Twitter are investing heavily in live content. Facebook’s expansion is driven primarily by the average user sharing the events of their daily lives with their friends. This, according to Matthew Corbin of Facebook, has led to an 88% growth in video posts over the last year. The site now delivers over 8 billion videos per day, of which three quarters are on mobile.
Twitter’s approach is different. It is focusing on premium events. The site has been broadcasting Thursday night football games, political conventions, and presidential debates.
Bringing video and social media together is proving to be dynamite combination. Anyone posting a video or broadcasting a live event can take full advantage of social media to publicize availability.
The tablet emerges as video powerhouse
Even though tablet sales have declined, many people are finding the devices are a great way to enjoy web video. Ericsson says that almost 60% of traffic to tablets is video. This is significantly higher than other devices. For example, 42% of data traffic to mobile PCs and smartphones is video. Significantly, social media generates the second most mobile data traffic on all three devices.
Why it matters
The growth in use of mobile data continues to be driven by consumption of video.
Video growth, in turn, is driven by social media.
Facebook and Twitter are making video a central part of the experience.