Video has been on marketers’ to-do lists for years, but in recent months it has been emerging from all directions. The networks are battling over which one will dominate social video, customers are gobbling up video in a variety of ways, and brands are trying to keep up with both.
Add to that the challenge of producing quality content on a regular basis that both engages organically and resonates as paid ads, and the idea of launching a solid video strategy begins to feel overwhelming.
The good news is that the hard work of planning and producing quality videos will likely pay off, thanks to a boom in social video. There are three areas to stay current on when it comes to winning in social video: networks, customers, and content. If you can keep pace with these, you’ll do a great job of staying ahead of the pack and achieving your video goals.
KEEP UP WITH THE NETWORKS’ VIDEO FEATURES (BECAUSE THEY’RE ALWAYS CHANGING)
If there’s one thing most of the major networks have been focused on lately, it’s video. For Facebook, those updates have boosted their rankings for video plays, receiving 1 billion video views per day since June 2014, thanks in part to its launch of auto-play. Brands are shifting tactics to adjust. They’re posting more videos to Facebook directly rather than posting a link to YouTube. The number of Facebook video uploads by brands overtook YouTube videos in Facebook posts in November. Facebook’s also creating 80% of all video content interactions, up from 50% in January 2014, according to Socialbakers.
Twitter is focused on video, too, with it set to launch its native video tool soon. It reportedly includes the ability to shoot, edit, and publish to Twitter. It will include (you guessed it!) auto-play.
Video is heating up on the paid side, too:
- Facebook video ads are now collecting 20% of video ad spending in the U.S.
- Earlier this fall Twitter introduced Promoted Videos as part of its Twitter Amplify program.
- Snapchat has gotten into the paid video game – its first ad was a 19-second trailer for the flick ‘Oujia’ in October.
- Instagram also launched its first video ads in October.
- That same month, Tumblr joined the pack by launching its initial auto-play video ads.
Whether organic or paid, the networks are moving toward video. Keeping up with what’s available to your customers on these platforms will help you create optimized videos that have the best chance of reaching your audience.
KEEP UP WITH YOUR CUSTOMERS (BECAUSE THEY’RE ENGAGED WITH VIDEO)
The networks aren’t the only ones who are really into video right now. Your customers are, too. Take Facebook: Half of Facebook users who visit Facebook more than once a day watch at least one video. Plus, customer video views on Facebook surpassed YouTube views on the desktop in August. They’re uploading more, too: Facebook video posts per person jumped 75% globally and 94% in the U.S.
It’s also no secret that apps like Vine, Instagram, and Snapchat are thriving, especially with teens and elusive twenty-somethings. Both apps and innovative smartphone features are making it easier than ever to create powerful video right from their phones.
The customer response to video seems to be improving, too: 71% of marketers said their video content’s conversion is somewhat or much better than other types of content.
Knowing your audience’s engagement and consumption habits will help you strategize more effectively – and help you make more data-driven case for more social video budget dollars.
KEEP UP WITH THE CONTENT (BECAUSE YOUR CONTENT DRIVES EVERYTHING)
The success of your videos ultimately hinges on content. It’s content that will help you stand out among the videos they’re seeing across platforms.
Taking a piece of video made for TV or another purpose and sharing to social networks isn’t the best way to optimize, especially with so many options for social distribution. A few tips for optimizing your social video content:
Consider the Auto-Play Factor: Engaging video intros
A new factor to consider when creating video content is how the first few seconds will catch people’s attention – even when sound is muted. Facebook’s auto-play, and reportedly Twitter’s upcoming video features, both default to playing videos with no sound. (Twitter is also said to offer a 6-second intro feature). When airline WestJet released this holiday video on Facebook, just a third of the 1.1 million viewers watched a full 30 seconds. Facebook counts three seconds as an official view, and most didn’t make it much further into the video than that.
For brands, this means catching people’s attention quickly without sound and keeping people watching – a challenge on Facebook, where users are usually scrolling and skimming posts.
Keep it short. But how short? It depends.
You’ve got a lot of options when it comes to video. There are short-form video: 6 seconds on Vine and 15 seconds on Instagram. Then on YouTube, where users are generally more prepared to watch longer clips, up to three minutes can work. Finding an optimal video length means considering a variety of factors: the platform you’re on, the type of video you’re creating, your audience, the call-to-action, etc.
Know your customers – who they are, where they are, and what prompts them to action.
Your customers on Snapchat will be different from those on Facebook. Videos that are tailored to the platform – and the audience on those platforms – helps ensure that your content is watched and when applicable, can be passed along to their own friends. Plus, for those customers who follow you on multiple networks, customizing video content or producing content exclusively for a specific network or app means they won’t get bored with too many duplicate posts.
Tell a story
Storytelling in social media is a hot topic right now, and it applies to social video, too. Whether you’re producing a 6-second stop-action clip or a 30-second video, it’s the underlying story that prompts a reaction in users.
Lowe’s Home Improvement famously has used Vine to tell helpful mini stories about everyday life hacks, while Always used a longer video to tell a powerful story in #LikeaGirl.
STAY UP ON WHAT’S NEW TO KNOW WHAT TO PRODUCE NEXT
By staying current on how the networks are changing their video features, how your customers are using video, and how your content can adapt, you can make sure you’re giving your communities the best possible video experience. Build a social video strategy with these in mind and your team will be on track to take advantage of the boom happening in video today.