Ask yourself a question: do you prefer reading a passage of text or watching a video? If you prefer the latter, you’re not alone. According to Cisco, by the year 2017, video will account for 69 percent of the total volume of consumer Internet traffic. Additionally, two-thirds of the world’s mobile data traffic will be video by 2016. As a growing number of individuals choose video content, it’s not surprising that the marketing world has brought it to the forefront of its strategies.
Video is not just the future of content marketing, but is fast becoming the present. Video remains unsurpassed when it comes to potential reach and the last twelve months have really seen it take over the social channels.
Initially, YouTube was the leader in terms of social video content, but now platforms such as Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram and Vine have superseded it in terms of video traffic. Snapchat views are up in the billions; more minutes are being spent watching videos on Facebook than on YouTube daily; and video on Twitter is now being used on a much more personal, one-on-one level. Brands need to consider the success these content-fuelled platforms are having with consumers and make sure they are distributing content in the places where their audiences are spending a majority of their time.
Originally a platform that was used to connect with friends and family, Facebook has now advanced into a multi-faceted platform that enables easy sharing of content. With a good balance of video and text, it provides brands ample access to their target audiences, especially with its new video ad products for sales and direct response features. It is fast becoming a supreme data bank for marketers, which is reflected by the higher investments that brands are making in Facebook video ads and video content. Brands creating video content can increase visibility by posting those videos natively on Facebook, which increases the chances of reaching target consumers like never before. Understanding the importance of video content, Facebook has added features such as video embedding options, view count and mobile optimization. According to the Vuclip Global Video Insights (GVI) report for 2014, 66 percent of respondents in the Middle East stated an inclination for watching long and short-form videos on their mobiles, and another 78 percent anticipated an upsurge in the quantity of time they will spend watching videos on mobile platforms.
Mobile use among consumers is one of the leading factors in Instagram’s success. Predominantly used through the app, the social platform has quickly become one of the most popular social media channels since its inception, thanks to its visual imagery that differentiates itself from text-based platforms such as Twitter. Gaining rapid momentum in the Middle East – which comprises 34 percent of Instagram’s entire user base – the platform is one of the most important marketing tools for regional brands . Instagram’s photo and 15-second video feature has powered social media with a visual way to connect with consumers and followers in a brief yet compelling manner. Brands have witnessed a great amount of success on the channel, and are often more popular on Instagram than they are on Facebook, thus embracing this social network and the ‘Instaconomy’ culture.
Snap it up
The growing sharing culture among social platforms led to the introduction of Snapchat that has evolved from featuring just images, to videos as well, with Forbes estimating that 50 million people currently use Snapchat. Snapchat’s ‘stories’ feature, managed by brands and media outlets, has struck with consumers. Earlier this year, Daily Mail and WPP partnered with Snapchat and invested a great amount of money in it by launching a new digital content agency together called Truffle Pig.
Word of caution
Video is indisputably one of the best tools to enhance social media campaigns and SEO exercises, however, there are some important things to consider in order to be successful with social video.
Firstly, choose the right platforms. Don’t feel that you need to be on every social channel, but be sure you are on the right channels – the ones where your target audience lives.
Second, don’t take a one size fits all approach. It’s crucial to consider the subtle differences in each platform, and ensure that your content matches the style that the users of that platform expect. Generally, short-form, emotive, awareness driven content will perform best on social.
Finally, take time to map out the path that you want viewers to take as a result of watching your videos. Always use clear calls to action and aim to guide the viewer back to your website, where you have full control of your branded experience.
Ultimately, 2015 has been a year of progression for video. Looking forward to 2016, video marketing will continue to gain momentum as viewership grows and online users become more accessible, and brands must not underestimate the catalyst that is social media. It’s time to either jump in with both feet, or get left behind.