2014 is the year of the horse in Chinese astrology, and digital video is set to gallop away from the field. The power and punch of short-form digital video is set for fantastic growth in 2014, and here are six key trends that I’ll be watching closely over the coming year.

  1. The digital video audience is growing and we can’t stop it. It’s bigger than all of us. In the United States, the video audience will grow from 70.8% today to 76.9% of all Internet users by 2016. Globally, consumers are devouring 6 billion hours of YouTube video every month, up 50% from the previous year.

    Increasingly, video is the language of promotion online, so it’s no surprise that advertising in digital media is set for expansion — from 19% of global advertising spend to 21% in 2014 for a total value of $110 billion.

  2. Advertisers will pay a premium CPM for targeted opportunities. There has been much debate about the future of cost-per-impression (CPM) as a valid metric. As the various digital platforms, from smartphones to tablets, become more sophisticated so, too, will marketing strategies that target selective consumers in highly creative ways.

    Imagine stepping off a plane at JFK International Airport and having your smartphone geo-targeted with an advertisement for airport shuttles. That’s the new reality.

    Consequently, I expect advertisers to be willing to pay a premium CPM, cost-per-engagement (CPE), cost-per-view (CPV), or whatever measurement metric emerges in this rapidly evolving and refined digital medium.

  3. 2014 will be mobile video’s coming-of-age party. Smartphone penetration in the United States now sits at 60%. Globally, there are an estimated 1 billion smartphones in use, a number that’s expected to double by 2016.

    Currently, more than 50% of smartphone users will view a video on their phone at least once monthly. By the end of 2013, the sale of tablets will outstrip PCs.

    This inexorable trend toward mobility is already promulgating an ecosystem of digital advertising that two years from now could be alien to what we know today.

  4. The 10-second video advertisement. Consider the possibilities as marketers in 2014 acquire a more sophisticated understanding of how consumers use their various devices, from work-focused desktops, to the sharing and sociability of smartphones, and the news, reading, and e-mail functionality of tablets.

    Ever-quickening connection speeds and increased data limits will open up opportunities for marketers, and this will result in a more finely tuned, short-form video ad — varying from the typical 30-second spot common to Internet applications, to the shorter 10- or 15- second hit, better tailored to on-the-fly smartphone and tablet users.

  5. Sports are about as brand-safe as it gets for marketers, and fans are increasingly seeking out digital video highlights and player interviews. Metrics indicate the average sports fan is more upscale than the blue-collar stereotype traditionally suggested.

    This will have profound impacts on marketers, enabling them to target their advertising campaigns based on the hyper-locality and specificity of the sports fan, from the teams he follows to the players whose stats she closely tracks.

  6. Video will continue to drive a long-anticipated newspaper correction. The freefall of print media advertising has seemed like a bottomless black hole in recent years. However, innovative and adaptive publishing companies are starting to see some light.

    In a November 2013 interview with eMarketer, New York Times President and CEO Mark Thompson made the following astonishing admission: “Currently there’s more demand for video impressions than the Times can supply.”

    This statement comes at a time when one of America’s largest newspaper publishers recorded the lowest quarterly drop in ad revenues in the past three years — and yes, that’s good news.

    This says two things.

    First, newspapers might finally be on the way to righting the foundering ship of sagging ad revenues, with a more sophisticated understanding of monetising Web content.

    Second, digital video is playing an increasing role in this correction and is set for an exciting 2014, as senior newspaper executives like Thompson re-tool their publishing efforts to capitalise on this trend.