Recently I was asked a question:
Is video the future of communications?
It’s a fair question to ask with recent developments in social shaking up the industry. In case you haven’t been paying attention, here’s what I’m talking about:
LinkedIn recently announced that they are now supporting video in their feed, Instagram Stories has surpassed Snapchat for monthly active users, and Facebook video is quickly becoming a real competitor to the likes of YouTube and Vimeo.
Simply put: The world of social video is heating up.
So I get why this question was asked, but I do have some hesitations. You see, the future of communications will be a combination of many different formats—some we’re familiar with and some we’ve never seen before. That’s why I have a hard time suggesting that the future of marketing is video. Yet, I do believe that video marketing is one of the most important and fastest growing trends in social media and digital marketing—at the moment.
Thus, a better question might be:
What does the future of video look like in comparison to today?
Here are a few video trends that I think will continue to shake up the industry:
- 81 percent of people mute video ads (Mary Meeker 2016)
- 85 percent of Facebook video is watched without sound (Digiday)
- Facebook videos have increased 360 percent across everyone’s newsfeed (AdAge)
- Millennials prefer YouTube to TV by nearly two times (ComScore)
- LinkedIn is investing in video (LinkedIn)
Now when you combine those trends with these more macro trends…
CTIA reports that U.S. mobile data usage is up 35 times since 2010:
IAB / PwC reports that the only key digital ad format that showed more than 100 percent growth year-over-year is video.
China leads the way with people spending nearly 350 million hours on mobile livestreams:
Cisco predicts that live video will grow 39-fold by 2021 for mobile:
And overall Facebook video content grew by 450 percent over the last two years:
The writing’s on the wall.
Brands need to start embracing video before they get left behind.
When I think about video content and how brands can start including it in their marketing mix, I get excited about the potential. I’ve talked in the past about the different ways that brands can leverage Instagram Stories, but this goes beyond the temporary videos and livestreams on channels like Periscope or Meerkat (RIP). This is about rethinking video as a whole and investing in new opportunities and strategies when bringing your videos to life.
The Death Of Commercials & The Rise Of Compelling Content
Opportunity exists in rethinking your brand’s video strategy and creating content that moves away from the traditional TV ad. Between DVRs, streaming, Netflix and branded clips on Facebook, cable TV networks are in trouble. The metrics are showing that the writing’s on the wall for them as well:
When you think about your communication efforts through video, it’s no longer about creating a TV ad that shocks your audience in order to stand out from all the boring commercials. It’s now about delivering a compelling video that is entertaining, engaging or insightful enough to share (or search for). It’s about creating content that competes with trending cat videos on Twitter, a livestream of the local film festival and the weigh-in for the next UFC fight.
Brand content no longer competes only with other brand content. Brand content is now competing with the very content it’s spent the last 75 years interrupting in the form of ads.
Invest In Creating Online Videos With Captions
If you have a Facebook page and aren’t adding captions to your videos, you’re missing out.
People are watching videos on silent so they can consume the content in bed without waking their spouse (guilty). People are watching videos on silent when they’re bored in class. People are watching videos on silent while tuned in for an unnecessary conference call (also guilty).
Offering this secondary option for consumption is a great way to drive more engagement and a longer viewing time. In addition, captions allow people with hearing impairment to consume your content and get entertainment or insight from what you’ve created.
Cross-Promote Your Video Content On All Platforms
YouTube has dominated the video space for years, with sites like Vimeo slowly chipping away at their market share. Unfortunately for Google, the biggest player YouTube has to worry about now is Facebook. As Facebook invests even more time and resources in a searchable video library, the video assets found on Facebook will become more important than they are today.
As Facebook continues to grow and their technology continues to improve, the opportunity to reach your audience (especially millennials) increases too. I’ve talked about the importance of content distribution in the past, and when it comes to video, a robust distribution strategy is key.
On YouTube alone there are more than 81 million videos available for viewing. That’s 81 million videos that you have to compete with for your audience’s attention. If you think that uploading your video and walking away will suffice as a distribution strategy, you’re going to be in for a rude awakening when your views are stuck in single digits. Here’s why more brands need to invest in distribution:
Once you begin to recognize the importance of content distribution, apply that thinking to your video content. Embed your videos on various landing pages, spread them through email and give them additional love through paid media. If you’re unsure of the right distribution channels, I’ve put together an extensive checklist that highlights almost every distribution channel for brands looking to help their content soar!
TL;DR: Video content isn’t the ONLY medium you should care about, but it’s going to play an increasingly important role in the marketing mix.
I’ve shared some of the stats and insights that are shaking up the world of video. It’s my hope that you can leverage these facts about the future of video to develop and plan a better content marketing strategy.
Keep in mind that the hottest growth hack and distribution channel change every single day.
You have to be consistent.
You have to be persistent.
Success in video isn’t going to happen overnight, just like a six-pack doesn’t appear after five situps. You need to put in the time. You need the right plan. And you need to stay committed to the strategy you’ve set out to execute even when things get tough.
What’s currently holding you back from investing in video content?