One trend that has been consistent across basically every mainstream social media platform over the past year is the meteoric rise of video content. This is not to suggest it hasn’t always been important, but the prevalence it now holds in the user experience on basically every network has increased exponentially.
Facebook currently boasts in excess of 8 billion video views daily with Snapchat not far behind at 7 billion. Instagram recently extended their video upload limit from 15 seconds to 60 in a clear effort to increase the amount of video content populating its user’s feeds. Meanwhile, Twitter in a surprise move secured the rights to stream Thursday Night Football on the network this season. The logistics of what the presentation will look like is anyone’s guess at this point, but it will be crucial that Twitter makes the most of leveraging their investment. The purchase signifies another move by Twitter towards a more video-centric user experience, something also addressed in the January updates to Periscope integration on the network.
Purchasing externally created video content is one thing, but obviously, the logistics of in-house production are a completely different animal. Authenticity seems to be the buzzword in branding right now, and for good reason. Users are becoming savvier all the time, and trying to present yourself or brand in a dishonest fashion is simply not tolerated. Those that attempt to do so run the serious risk of being exposed and ridiculed by their followers, however, marketers should not let this deter them from existing in the video marketing space.
Video content is an exceptional tool for executing one of the most important features of effective social media marketing. It has the ability to provide the audience a level of depth and insight that simply cannot be achieved through text and images. Obviously edited, production heavy content still plays an important role, however Periscope, Snapchat and most recently Facebook Live have ushered in a new era of live and almost live content.
This style of video content brings with it a whole new set of challenges for brands most notably a significant loss of control over what is seen and heard by the audience. Live video is terrifying for many brands for the simple fact that there are no do-overs or opportunities to censor content deemed inappropriate. If an employee streaming a company event or announcement happens to capture unwanted language or behaviour, it is now live online for anyone to see and even worse potentially capture and re-post. This being said the potential benefits far outweigh the negative aspects, and it is a form of content that should be embraced as an important component in the digital marketing strategy of many brands.
While live video will certainly have a prominent role to play moving forward, edited content is not going anywhere either. While Facebook has been aggressive in its improvements to native video hosting on the platform, YouTube is still the preeminent home of video content on the web. Among the advantages afforded by its design is the emphasis on channels, encouraging users to subscribe and be served with consistent content from their favourite creators immediately when visiting, in addition to optional email notifications when new videos are posted. Contrast this with Facebook’s algorithm fuelled news feed where there is no guarantee that users will be exposed to fresh content without regularly visiting the creator’s fan page.
Everyday “YouTubers” are finding their niche audiences and creating content that inspires intense loyalty from their subscriber bases. The YouTube partner program continues to expand and as more and more barriers to entry are removed by cheaper cameras, editing software and partner initiatives, this growth shows no sign of slowing down.
The new YouTube space in downtown Toronto is a prime example of just this. The 3,500-foot space mirrors similar facilities in New York and Los Angeles and is home to several studios featuring professional quality production equipment. Creators with subscriber bases exceeding 10,000 are able to use the facility free of charge. This includes Digital Media Summit speaker Sara Lynn Cauchon “The Domestic Geek” who’s cooking focused channel currently boasts over 700,000 subscribers. On May 5th, Sara will be discussing not only her tips for creating fantastic content, but also her success working with brands to create sponsored content that resonates with her audience while driving results for her brand partners!