The increase in video-based features on social media in recent years makes it an increasingly critical element in brands’ social strategies. And no wonder, with 80% of all internet traffic predicted to be video by 2021 (Cisco).
Here are some of the biggest trends to watch out for in 2019.
1. Stories format
There’s no denying that the Stories format has exploded in popularity over the past few years. Pioneered by Snapchat in 2013, it’s now an integral feature across many of the main social platforms, from YouTube to Instagram, as well as in search via Google’s AMP Stories.
With more than 500 million global daily viewers (Statista), Instagram alone is a force to be reckoned with. Offering full-screen, playful content with a 24-hour lifespan, it differs greatly from the more polished and permanent content we’re used to on-feed. And with the option to link out of Stories when you have a business account with 10,000 followers or more, it offers an opportunity for conversion that on-feed lacks (unless you point to a link in bio).
In 2017, Mark Zuckerberg predicted that Stories would overtake the News Feed in terms of growth and user experience on Instagram and Facebook. At the end of 2018, Instagram was allegedly spotted testing the format on-feed, later dismissing this activity as a bug. Either way, Stories is likely to continue in its rapid growth and domination of the social landscape.
Key take out With 56% of people in the UK going to Stories for unfiltered, authentic content (Facebook), ensure that yours offers a personal, ‘in-the-moment’ experience. Make the most of the discoverability features like hashtags and location stickers to attract new audiences, and add links where possible to drive conversion.
2. Vertical video
Vertical video is nothing new – enter Snapchat again. But thanks to advancements in smartphone technology (large screens and top-notch cameras that rival DSLRs) and the shift in how we consume video, it’s growing in popularity.
Last year, eMarketer forecasted that UK adults spend 59 minutes watching digital video each day, so it’s unsurprising that social platforms are responding with new formats that champion and prioritise vertical video.
Vertical is also proving more effective when it comes to engagement, with Wibbitz reporting that it generates four times more engagement than square video on Facebook and two and a half times more on Twitter.
Key take out Remember that not all video is created equal – users consume it differently across various social media platforms. For example, 15-second clips showing a quick outfit how-to on Instagram Story versus long-form interviews with a stylist on IGTV. To ensure your video fulfils the needs and expectations of the user, and plays to the platform’s strengths, create and prioritise mobile-first content.
3. Immersive and interactive content
Whether it’s AR filters on Snapchat and Instagram, gamification interaction via Facebook Live’s quizzes and Q&As, or 3D VR videos on YouTube, the social giants are constantly opening up new formats and features for small and big brands alike to create content that augments or transforms the audience’s environment.
Neuroscience research shows that interactive content can heighten attention and motivation, meaning that users are more likely to stay engaged with it from start to finish (Inc).
Key take out Your audience doesn’t just want to sit back and watch – they want to be at the centre of your content, making the decisions. Maximise the potential of gamification and interactive content by playing to the strengths of the platform and experimenting with the features they offer.
Due to the growth in the number of social platforms now offering it as an interactive format, Live video will be even more important in 2019. Quite simply, it’s a highly effective strategy for generating engagement: Zuckerburg announced in his 2018 statement that it gets six times as many interactions as regular video. Plus, it’s prioritised by channels, with Instagram pushing Live videos to the forefront of Stories and Facebook using Live push notifications to alert users.
Key take out Whether you need to find new ways to showcase a product, host a Q&A with an influencer or gather deeper insight into user behaviour, Live can help you tackle the algorithm and get directly in front of your audience in real time.
5. Video-first social platforms
Gen Z – the ultimate video addicts – are shaping the future of video. This mobile-dominated generation has grown up with smartphones, and watching video on their phones is second nature. They also thrive on the micro-moment and act impulsively, preferring short-form, in-the-now content (MoFilm). Enter more video-only social media platforms like TikTok, Lasso and Byte.
Despite some controversy – it’s unregulated, leaving its young users vulnerable – TikTok was the most downloaded non-game app in the App Store in Q1 of 2018, and now has more users than Twitter (Influencer Marketing Hub).
Key take outs First, keep an eye on Gen Z. They may not be your target audience, but apps are scrambling for their attention because they’re the hungriest consumers of video content and have the power to rocket an app to the top of the charts. Second, take note of how these apps are responding in terms of video lengths, formats, sound and so on, and continually optimise your content in line with channel best practice.
Sources: Cisco, Statista, Facebook, eMarketer, Wibbitz, Inc, Live, Influencer Marketing Hub, Mo Film