A while back, Mark Zuckerberg spoke on a quarterly earnings call with investors and was bluntly clear: Facebook was going to become a ‘video first’ company. In those simple terms, Zuckerberg was outlining not just the strategy of his company but pointing the way forward for marketers and brands without distinction.
Fast forward to 2018, the social platform has already made (and is still making) some changes to adjust to what it perceives as the most important ‘megatrend’ around – video marketing. For anyone paying attention, Facebook’s move is hardly surprising. Video’s reign in the marketing landscape has been coming for a long time and this seems to be the year that it finally happened.
People love videos – what do we do with that?
From predictions talking of video making up 80% of all web traffic by 2019 to reports of billions of hours worth of video being watched every day, it’s safe to say that video is more than just a passing fad: it’s marketing’s most valuable tool today.
Like Facebook, a lot of companies have realized the immense love their audiences have for videos – and most of them are already betting on that. However, many of those same brands don’t go beyond the understanding of video marketing’s importance. This translates into poorly-devised strategies where a company unloads video after video onto its unsuspecting audience.
Of course, that’s certainly not the way to go. As with any marketing medium that has reached its maturity, video has gone from the ‘you have to use it, even if you don’t know how’ mentality to a shape-shifting dynamic that needs experts to understand all of its subtleties. And in 2018, video is changing more than ever.
What you should keep an eye on
If you’re to make the most out of your videos, you need to understand some underlying facts about its marketing. The first is almost a given: video nature is always changing and evolving. What worked yesterday might not work today and it may even seem counterproductive tomorrow. You need to keep up and flow with what audiences are telling you with their video consumption habits.
And what’s that, precisely? Well, modern audiences (as in “2018 audiences”) are showing some interesting trends in the following:
People are listening (and watching). The billions of videos that are watched throughout the world every day aren’t just about random dudes parkouring the hell out of a skyscraper – a lot of people are watching brand-generated videos! It’s strange to think that, in the age of adblockers, people are actually spending some serious time watching ads, but that’s precisely what’s happening.
The key – ads are more about stories and less about the product in and of itself. Reports show that 76% of people are willing to share branded videos with their friends as long as they are entertaining. So, video ads haven’t gone out of style. You just have to fit them into people’s expectations: they are paying attention as long as you keep them entertained!
The revolution will be streamed. It’s fair to say that the Internet is the kingdom of instantaneity. So, it’s no wonder that live videos are becoming more and more popular with each passing day. Live videos allow people to interact in real time with the brands they love, making it all feel more like a conversation rather than one-way communication.
In fact, these videos allow viewers to control the content and even make their voices heard through questions and reactions. Any video marketing strategy without live videos lacks a human and spontaneous touch people have come to expect, so you’d better include these videos in your marketing strategy.
Forget about reach – it’s all about engagement! Well, engagement has always been a key goal in marketing but many companies have chosen to sacrifice it to the altars of reach. The logic had sense: if your message reaches more people, chances are more of them will pay attention. However, that’s not true at all in 2018.
Today, engagement is an essential objective, as people that reach, comment and share your videos are paying more attention than those just passing by. It’s better to have less people watching the whole thing and commenting on it than to have thousands of viewers just dropping out after the first few seconds.
The people that stick around are more likely to continue the conversation with you. That’s why you have to create videos for all the stages of your buyer’s journey, from ads to how-tos. Anyone paying attention and willing to know more will always move on, especially if you offer videos to keep them on their way.
Prepare for flexibility. In other words, be open-minded enough to unlearn what you’ve learned as a universal truth. A clear example – video formats. There are countless videos, articles and whatnot about how filming vertical videos is a heinous crime that should be punished to the full extent of the law. Mobile devices had all of us going for horizontal videos.
However, thanks to Facebook, more and more people are turning to square-shaped videos. And, what do you know, there are some brands using vertical videos. The reason for that change is simple: platforms and screens are different now, as are user habits, so videos have to change to fit them. Videos are becoming more flexible – as should you.
Embrace the new trends. I’ve mentioned the incredibly dynamic nature of videos above, so it’s no surprise to see that new kinds of videos are popping out of nowhere. Technological advances, perception changes and new features are putting video in the limelight. The clearest examples are 360 degree videos and customized videos.
360 degree videos’ popularity is skyrocketing, thanks to their ability to show places, experiences and products in a more interactive way. They are clear examples of new videos that come from a technological advance (360 degree cameras). Customized videos, on the other hand, showcase a new perception about the capability of videos. With them, sale and PR professionals are appealing to prospects in what may be understood as “video voicemails”, presenting themselves to their audiences and talking to them in what feels like a private conversation.
What to take from here
2018 isn’t just another year in video marketing’s history. It’s a year that deepens some of the trends that we’ve already seen while also introducing some new ways for people to use and consume video. But what’s most important isn’t the type of videos you should be using or the new features that are appearing here and there (though they are extremely important). The essential point is the attitude you need to have towards videos.
Facebook has led the way in that respect. Understanding the writing on the wall, the social media giant has put video first, adapting its algorithms, offering new interaction instances and even encouraging marketers and content creators to follow the same path. In the same sense, you should understand that video is the first thing you have to put your mind to in order to tell your brand’s story.
Its multipurpose ability and its ubiquitous presence should be enough for you to understand why you need to do this. But even if you fail to acknowledge that, you’ll soon be forced by companies like Facebook and its billions of users to understand something: we had to reach 2018 but it finally happened – video is now our primary way of digital communication, so you either jump on board or drown in oblivion.