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The explosion of the 'social' Internet has provided content creators, marketers and advertisers with a cost effective way to distribute and share online video. And unlike traditional advertising, online video lets them target their audience and measure its impact through analytics.

Social video is content that is influenced by social media and intended to be shared from person to person. If we find something relevant, informative or entertaining, we pass it on, and the cycle continues. This is essentially how content goes viral.

Content and news discovery is becoming less and less about searching out the information you are looking for. Instead, it's being shared via social network recommendations – likes, shares, Retweets, Pins, +1, etc.

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If you're already knee-deep in social media, you're exposed to this type of sharing behaviour on a daily, or minute by minute basis, depending on how often you frequent such platforms.

BI Intelligence recently examined the social video landscape, taking a closer look at how advertisers specifically.

Some of the main takeaways include:

• Online video audiences are expected to double by 2016, reaching 1.5-billion worldwide ( Cisco)

• Social media video has trumped non-social video as far as views/audience size.

• The majority of people now, and an increasingly significant number in the future, will discover and watch video content on social media platforms like YouTube and Facebook.

• Video length is shrinking. Social media audiences seem to prefer to "snack" on video.

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• In the U.S., Facebook had the fastest-growing online video audience of major web properties over the last 10 months, and is just second to Google in terms of video audience size. In April 2013 alone, 63-million people watched video on Facebook.

The phenomenon isn't showing signs of slowing anytime soon. So if you're a business owner, now is the time to start thinking about integrating social online video into your marketing and advertising budgets, before your competitors do.

Need another reason? According to the study mentioned above, "consumers are more likely to enjoy a brand video and remember the brand involved if they come across it because of a social media recommendation."

It may still be early in the game, but it's better to stay ahead of the curve than work to catch up when it might be too late.

Lisa Ostrikoff is a TV journalist and anchor-turned-creator of BizBOXTV, a Canadian online video production, advertising and social media marketing agency. You can find her on Twitter and Facebook .

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