You don’t need to be too savvy on social to have noticed the influx of video content to your social feed lately.
In the ‘image is everything’ world of social media, visual-led platforms such as Instagram and Snapchat are dominating the scene, whilst other channels race to release new features in a bid to retain their user base.
YouTube has been an absolute game-changer in the way we share information online. So much so, in fact, that one third of all online activity is now spent watching video. It has also given rise to a new kind of internet celebrity, with YouTubers such as Pewdiepie and Zoella now household names. To date, approximately a third of all social media users use the platform, generating billions of daily views.
There’s no denying the millennial generation’s preference for visual content. Technological advancements to mobile devices, increased internet connectivity and an influx of social networks and media sites all go a long way to explain the rise of visual-heavy platforms and their popularity amongst the younger generations.
Ill-fated video streaming app, Vine, championed ‘snackable content’ – offering viewers a unique brand of video content in the form of 6-second looped clips. Although Vine is no longer with us (may you rest in peace), Snapchat and Instagram have picked up where it left off and are paving the way for the future of video content on social.
So why is video content growing on social media?
Besides the millennial influence, video has been found to be far more engaging and appealing to audiences. In his study, ‘How Video Will Take Over the World’, Dr James McQuivey estimates that one minute of video is equal to about 1.8 million words.
Video is able to stimulate a stronger emotional response from its audience in comparison to other media formats. This makes it a powerful medium through which to motivate an audience to take action, such as Sandy Hook Foundation’s viral video, Evan.
Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube now allow users to live stream video to their followers. Engagement with video is at an all-time high due to this ‘in-the-moment’ value, which gives viewers the ability to engage directly and instantly with the content.
Unsurprisingly, brands are also jumping on the bandwagon and using video to promote their business on social media. Statistics from 2016 indicate that the enjoyment of a video ad can increase purchase intent by a staggering 97% and brand association by 139%. Furthermore, a whopping 75% of users are interacting with online video ad per month.
Who’s doing it well?
You may recall the #TAYLORvsTREADMILL video for Apple Music featuring the singer’s antics in the gym. The amusing and relatable clip was highly successful in promoting Apple Music’s new subscription service. An endorsement from Swift no doubt went a long way in boosting the popularity of the video. However, surveys have also indicated that 30% of viewers are less likely to click off a video if the content is humorous.
Jamie Oliver is another public figure making clever use of video on social media to promote his own personal brand. He’s particularly active on Instagram, and regularly uses the platform to post videos of quick recipes, sneak peeks of upcoming recipe books and glimpses of day-to-day family life.
What’s next for video content?
Last year’s launch of Instagram Stories changed the game once again. Video is now even easier to share and consume, with brands able to poise themselves in prime position atop their follower’s Instagram feed with short, segmented photo and video ‘stories’ that disappear after 24 hours.
On the surface, Instagram Stories appears very similar to Snapchat (the meme-brigade were quick to respond when the feature launched last year). In reality, the Stories feature was a smart move for Instagram. It feels like a more natural, legitimate – sophisticated, even – alternative to Snapchat for brands.
More official than Snapchat, but less formal than a heavily stylised Instagram feed, the Stories feature sits somewhere in between the way we use social apps to communicate with our friends and the way we use social apps keep up to date with brands and influencers. It allows brands to bring out their personality with in-the-moment updates and candid behind-the-scenes snapshots. What’s more, it’s effectively consolidated two platforms into one. What’s not to like?
With the average user now exposed to an average of 32.3 videos as well as over 16 minutes of online video ads each month, it’s fair to say that video content is flourishing. As social channels continue to develop new features on their platforms such as live streaming, or 360 ֯ videos, marketers are being challenged to adapt their content strategy to these new formats or risk becoming irrelevant.
It seems we have a long way to go before video content on social media hits its peak. The only question is, what’s next?
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