There used to be a time when investing in video ads was a major undertaking, with minutes of airtime paid for in the thousands. Now, everybody has the ability to create and broadcast content using the cameras and mics attached to their internet-connected phones. With peak popularity in apps like Snapchat, Instagram, and Vine, the acclimation to produce and consume video content as part of everyday life has never been higher.
Video Content Rules Social Media
According to Cisco’s Visual Networking Index, global consumer internet video traffic will account for 80 percent of all consumer traffic by 2019. Take into account that product videos on ecommerce sites can increase product purchases by 144 percent, according to some, as well as the majority consensus among SMBs that video marketing is essential to business, and its easy to see the power of video marketing, especially when applied to social media.
The question is: as the majority of video content doesn’t just belong to businesses and marketers anymore, but instead is pushed aside by personal videos as well news and citizen journalism, how do SMMs stay relevant with their content? What lessons and trends are emerging from natural video content creation that SMMs can apply?
The Press Is In…
What news consumption via video can tell us might be familiar in some respects to traditional SMM–for example, many publishers will submit that the majority of their video is consumed via Facebook and other social platforms, with viral videos reaching anywhere from 75-100 million views. However, when we look at Reuters Institute’s study on the matter, it might be important to note that the most successful off-site and social videos are usually under one minute, have subtitles, focus on soft news, and have a strong emotional element.
We can also look at what news outlets are doing with video to draw insights. BuzzFeed, for example, has taken steps to split itself down the middle to accommodate more video content, into BuzzFeed News and BuzzFeed Media. BuzzFeed C.E.O. Jonah Peretti wrote in a memo to his staff during the transition that “having a single ‘video department’ in 2016 makes about as much sense as having a ‘mobile department… instead of organizing around a format or technology, we will organize our work to take full advantage of many formats and technologies.”
“Video is the language in which our audience — particularly our younger audience — communicates and it is table stakes to our storytelling. Writing and reporting will always be core to journalism — but how that writing is translated for audiences will continue to evolve through video, 360 video, augmented reality and virtual reality… the technology has made it possible to democratize video — just as the internet originally did for publishing — to allow anyone to be a video gatherer and distributor.
Gelman says so much in few words. Our younger audiences are going to be expecting video to drive content much more than any of us adults inherently realize. Writing and reporting will always be core, but new technologies will also always be augmenting the space. Finally, that democratization of video now allows anybody to be a content creator/distributor.
From Citizen Journalism to Vigilante Justice
The fact that video is now democratized means that average citizens are creating content at a rate never seen before. People are getting involved with video content, whether that means they’re reviewing your product on the day of launch, a sort of journalism-meets-social-media approach that some are calling New Media, or they’re at the site of a major newsworthy event, participating in citizen journalism. If the predictions are correct, news outlets are only going to make it easier for citizen journalists to participate in mainstream conversation with in-browser recording submissions, creating a network of content providers under one aggregate.
This newfound power isn’t without its own consequences, however. Some, like Robert Montenegro at BigThink.com would argue that New Media is responsible for the rise of vigilante justice, perhaps for better, a la Montenegro’s Bill Cosby example, and perhaps for worse. The point is that this medium is still new, and is incredibly powerful. Just ask Justine Sacco. The Internet Hive Mind will be swift to dole out justice if you do something they perceive wrong.
This means that whether you’re an Internet or Social Media Marketer or you’re a News or Content Executive, that you should never doubt the power of the people. It can be harnessed for good, but it can also ultimately destroy you.
- Consumers of video prefer the videos to be short. SMMs should strive to keep their videos under one minute in length to ensure that consumers stop to watch it, instead of scrolling past it because it’s too long.
- Not everybody is scrolling with sound on. Some people are deaf or hard of hearing. Make your videos consumable without sound by including subtitles.
- Focus on a strong emotional element that users can connect with, and track emotional interactions in-app or via Facebook. People will tend to remember things they have emotional connections to, not logical.
- Wield the power of people. In the same way citizen journalists bring the news to media outlets, utilize New Media to spotlight those who review or otherwise take videos with with your product.
- Beware the power of people. In the same way that mobs form to dole out vigilante justice, so too can your media efforts become the focus of social ire. Make sure you know your customers and what they want (not just what you think they want), because posers are outed the minute they open their mouths. Think before you speak… er, record.
So while it could be said that marketers really pioneered and pushed the envelope with video on the web, that is no longer the case. Wielding the power of the selfie-video, the average consumer is now also a self-branded marketer, citizen journalist, and smiling, online personality all-in-one, while the wider web has somewhat democratized “airtime”. With this new realization comes new sets of rules, as well as new sets of consequences, and it’s up to social media marketers to wield video power correctly–or risk falling victim to mob rule.