2016: A Year of Changes For Social Video
Who would’ve thought that hashtags and filters would become mainstream parts of society? Or that we could store our entire lives in pocket-sized gadget? These are only a few snippets of our fast-changing digital world. Sites are constantly releasing new features. Posts, snaps, and videos get millions of views a day. Within this whirlwind, it’s hard but utterly rewarding to keep up with all the changes in the digital world.
One important innovation to track, though, is the social video revolution. In fact, all of the top social media sites have innovated their video user experience in the past year. Social media and video marketing go hand in hand: Videos are engaging, quick, and suitable for mobile screens, and social media is a fast way to spread video content widely. Social media is making it easier for companies to track video progress and interact with customers, and brands should take note of these innovations. Let’s look at the latest video marketing features from four social media powerhouses: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat.
Twitter ups its Video Length to 140 Seconds
It’s hard for anyone, especially brands, to explain their thoughts in 140 characters. But now, imagine what you can say in 140 seconds. That’s right, Twitter users can now upload videos that are up to 140 seconds long. Select users will even get 10 minutes, according to Twitter’s blog. While Twitter is all about quick and current, this extended length allows for richer content, such as branded mini-series, product tutorials, or even short movies. In the end, these new Twitter video innovations will help your company capture the attention of your followers, and connect these followers with your brand’s account.
But how can you measure the success of your video marketing campaign? It turns out, the new video length was released along with Twitter’s new analytics platform, Engage. Engage is a great on-the-go analytics platform that aggregates your account’s basic Twitter engagements and follower demographics.
Engage’s features allow brands to
- craft future tweets that fit their target audience,
- partner with their brand ambassadors,
- and to improve their Twitter video strategies when needed.
A key component of Engage is the ability to see the most “important” interactions: These include people labeled as influencers, or frequent interaction partners.
Instagram Counts On
In the first half of 2016, Instagram has made some very visible changes, both to their brand image and to their video platform. Since February 2016, Instagram videos have visible view counts. In March, users were able post videos up to 60-seconds long. These two innovations are obviously advantageous for advertisers and brands. View counts are the number one basic metric of video engagement for branded instagrams, and longer video means greater flexibility to catch your audience’s attention.
But the biggest change to Instagram is the addition of Stories. While the feature’s similarity to Snapchat got some major backlash from Twitter, it is highly advantageous for brands who find most of their audience on Instagram. Stories are displayed right at the top of the feed. That means when you make a story, your viewer won’t have to dig through photos of puppies and selfies to find your product. Here’s a tip: Keep it short and simple until you can find what your Instagram audience wants from your story.
Similar to Twitter, these video changes were packaged with a new analytics tool called Insight. Insight can show businesses how many other users have seen their posts, how many times people have clicked on links they posted, and how many times each post has been seen. That means that companies can can aim their Instagram video content at people who they know will pay attention, at times when they know they will be online, instead of wasting energy spreading their videos widely and as often as possible.
Snapchat may be known for silly selfies and crazy filters, but it is quite conducive to video marketing. Its main marketing feature is the Discover section, in which certain companies post their own snap stories. Over the years, the number of views on snap stories has exceeded the views of snaps, with over one billion stories viewed per day. Within stories, advertisers choose what they want to promote, instead of relying on clicks or likes to dictate what’s most important. Since snap stories are so widely viewed and easy to watch, companies should use the Discover feature to increase their brand’s exposure.
Snapchat, by nature, creates urgency: People have only 24 hours to view a story, and snaps disappear within seconds. With this urgency, Discover stories gain views at a much faster rate. Customers can also swipe up to view more content or to reply to snaps in a story, enabling immediate feedback and customer interaction. Overall, Snapchat’s Discover allows brands to control what they post and present it in a fast-paced, interactive manner.
Facebook Live Drives Authentic Connection
While social media users thrive in interacting between computer screens, nothing beats talking in person. Facebook Live brings face-to-face authenticity into the social media site, which companies should strive for in advertising. Think back to the viral moment of Chewbacca Mom, who was not paid to promote Kohl’s, but has true enthusiasm for the mask she bought there. Her candid moment garnered over 150 million views, according to Forbes. If brands want to harness the power of Facebook Live, they’ll have to explore how to communicate the genuine voice of their fans.
With Facebook Live, users can interact with followers in real time. Instead of just posting commercials or tutorial snippets, businesses can make an immediate connection to their viewers. Now, brands can share exciting events with their followers, from product launches to gallery openings. Friends can post reactions and comments during the live event, so businesses get immediate feedback. They see what customers think every step of the way, instead of relying on reviews written long after the fact.
Facebook is working hard to promote its new feature. Its algorithm favors video that’s currently live versus formerly live, and it intends to place the live video icon in the toolbar in place of the messenger icon. And, with Facebook recently changing its algorithm again to push branded content out of the newsfeed, companies will need to take Facebook Live’s algorithm advantage to increase their organic reach.
Amidst all the changes happening in the digital world, it’s important to pay attention to how social media is shaping video marketing. Social media sites make it easier for video marketers to receive feedback, tailor videos toward audience’s preferences, and build relationships with customers. With these innovations, advertising continues to move forward, and companies should be on the lookout for what will happen next.
Kristen Lee is a Content Creation Intern for Green Buzz Agency. She reports on the latest video marketing trends in the digital industry. Kristen thinks Instagram should just back off and let snapchat live.