For brands invested in visual content marketing, social video is undoubtedly having its moment in the sun. Almost daily, the biggest social channels release a new video-specific feature or share statistics on their users’ video engagement. For major players like Facebook and Snapchat, it’s become a full-fledged battle for bragging rights to see who can one-up the other. And this flurry of activity will have a big impact on how your brand creates, distributes and measures the value of visual content.
Ok, slow down. What’s happening out there?
Earlier this year, Facebook claimed users were driving eight billion video views per day on their platform. Not to be outdone by Zuckerberg and Co., Snapchat made sure the world knew they reached the same number just a month or so later. Snapchat recently confirmed that number hit 10 billion video views a day.
In response, Instagram—the social network of choice for many brands due to high engagement and its simple, content-focused interface—has pushed hard to step up its video game in the past year too. In the last few months alone, Instagram began providing video views as a metric, and most recently, quadrupled the 15-second time limit to a whopping 60 seconds.
All this in just the first few months of the year.
Without a doubt, 2016 is shaping up to be the year of social video for visual content marketers.
Why is so much changing so quickly?
Social networks aren’t simply doing this because they can. They understand that users are craving video content, especially the coveted millennial crowd, and particularly on mobile. Prior to extending its video length to 60 seconds, in fact, Instagram reported that video views on the platform increased by 40% over the course of the previous six months. And what about Snapchat? Their total daily video views have increased 400%.
But what does this mean for my brand?
By releasing a plethora of video features and capabilities, major social networks are aiming to achieve one thing: to keep users in the platform longer. Social networks brag about their video engagement as a way of saying, “Hey! Look. People love spending time with us!”
So yes, video content is important – there’s a ton of value that it can add to your brand. And you don’t have to abandon the good ol’ fashioned photo just because you’re ramping up your video strategy either. After all, people process images in just 13 milliseconds. Images will continue to be integral to brands’ visual content marketing strategies.
Video is different though. We can’t process an entire video unless we actually watch the whole thing. Obvious, right? I know I’m guilty of rapidly scrolling through my Instagram feed like it’s a race to the bottom. But when a video catches my eye? Suddenly, I’m hooked. And if your post can keep a follower’s attention longer—or even for the duration of a video, whether it be 10 seconds or 10 minutes—that exponentially increases the time a user spends with your brand.
Is that actually valuable for my brand?
It’s even more valuable than you may think! This study from Adobe shows that shoppers who viewed a brand’s video are 1.81x more likely to purchase a product than those who did not view the video. Also, if brands are able to increase the amount of time they spend with followers, they can use that to their advantage, get creative, and tell longer stories.
How can I measure the success of my brand’s video content?
While it is important, setting the standard for measuring success based on video views can get tricky.
For example, Facebook and Instagram define a video view as a video that plays for at least three seconds. For Snapchat, the video simply needs to render on the screen to count toward a view, even if the user immediately skips to the next snap. And these metrics also don’t indicate whether the user watched the entire video, which brings me to my next point …
Finding the sweet spot for video length is highly important. Millennials have been found to gravitate more toward shorter videos around the 10 second range, while older generations relate to 30 seconds videos. Which makes sense! Older generations grew up with video ads in the form of traditional 30 second ad spots, but millennials helped usher in the era of Vine and Snapchat. In other words, it’s all relative.
Beyond Video Views
Thinking beyond video views will be crucial as well. Video can take more time and resources to produce, so while it may better engage a user, brands will need to measure its impact beyond vanity engagement metrics.
Ok, we need to step up our video game. What do I need to know?
Simply put, A LOT.
As social networks continue to fight for users’ attention, they’ll continue to advance their video features.
Facebook has been vocal about their focus on Facebook Live, their video streaming feature, and it sounds like they may be rolling out interactive video ads soon. And Instagram has said the video updates and releases so far this year are just the beginning.
Social networks are evolving well past the realm of what they once were and toward being digital publishers of all types of visual content, information and entertainment. It doesn’t mean static photos will be banished to the land of social media obscurity, but it certainly looks like social video’s rise to prominence is showing no signs of stopping.
Want vertical video that doesn’t disappear in 24 hours? Check out Curalate Tilt, which brings longevity and shopping to the mobile video experience. Tilt allows brands to aggregate their vertical video content on a mobile landing page, showcasing a collection of videos telling their brand’s story. Brands can even tag products within each video to make them shoppable. Learn more here.