Earlier this year I attended The Brand Film Festival, a day conference dedicated to celebrating the best in branded video content with an awards ceremony in the evening. This, paired with my understanding of the changing video marketing landscape, has inspired me to write this post.
So what are the latest video marketing trends and how can you start to think about adopting some of these in your strategies?
Top 5 video marketing trends this year
The adoption of emerging technology
It’s no surprise that emerging technology features in this list given its’ increasing presence in all aspects of our lives. We’re living in a truly digital world which is growing exponentially, meaning we are having to adapt to and embrace this change. What’s exciting is the opportunities open to our industry.
For me, emerging technology in relation to video marketing is all about 360 video and virtual reality (VR). Facebook 360 video is probably the best-known example, I see them in my feed all of the time! Using 360 videos gives brands the tools to create immersive content and put the user at the heart of the experience which is key. Engagement rates are higher as more users are likely to share and comment on a 360 video vs a standard format if done well. I see it used well by B2C brands but it would be great to see more B2B examples coming through. Understandably 360 might not work for everyone, and you’d need the right use case, however, it is definitely something to consider to add a new dimension to your video marketing.
I also really like the idea of using VR for marketing. I was recently at a conference, Digital DNA, in Belfast and heard an interesting talk from Rock Jacobs, a director, writer and producer at Rebel of America. He spoke about VR as a means of extending the life of a film or tv programme and as a way to reach new audiences in his world. I loved this point that he made…
“People are so busy in their everyday lives that there aren’t many who have the time to sit down and watch a full-length feature film or tv series, so we need to find ways for them to buy into an idea/franchise and still experience the story.”
VR provides a new platform to enable interaction and engagement with your audiences and can be successful if used in the right context, to add value.
Later in the day, Raquel Bubar from T Brand Studio, The New York Times talked about a really interesting use case where they delivered Google Cardboards to 1m subscribers across the US so that they could interact with news stories in VR. I think this is a really simple yet smart way to add value to your customer experience.
I would love to experiment with VR more and would encourage others to do the same, although you’ll want to avoid anything gimmicky. Like with all technologies, you should start with the challenge or need at hand and then figure out if there is a technology solution that fits.
What’s the difference between storytelling and social storytelling you might be thinking? Bringing to life a story for social media channels is a very different approach and with comes the need for a different mindset. For example, a piece of content for your website might not necessarily resonate across different social channels so it’s always a good idea to think about formats and channels up front, rather than retrofitting content to social.
So what are the key things you need to consider when planning a social campaign?
- On social, you have an audience ready and waiting for content but there is also a lot of noise so you need to find a way to stand out
- It’s important to get to the hook very quickly in a social video, so much so that sometimes it’s worth considering putting this up front
- Try to include a mixture of quality in your campaign for authenticity (user-generated vs professional)
- Instagram stories are all user-generated. The audience feels more of a connection with this style and so it’s worth thinking about how to include this in your strategy.
- The role of different social channels varies so again it’s important to think specifically about your objectives and the best use cases for each channel, rather than thinking generically.
I think my advice here is to just think about how you use social media channels yourself, the type of content that you engage with and then think about how that might translate to the story you’re trying to convey.
Vertical video / mobile strategy
At the brand film festival, I heard from Jeffrey Lee, founder of Userfarm, a crowdsourced video production company specialising in vertical video. When I heard what he had to say, it all just clicked into place.
Here is what he had to say.
By 2019 72% of all digital viewing will be mobile and if you think of the ergonomics of using your mobile phone, you hold it upright 98% of the time you’re using it. So, therefore, why create video content that doesn’t fill the screen? So often brands create video content in a horizontal format, which means that there is an opportunity for viewers to be looking at other parts of the screen and clicking on links rather than being immersed in the content.
A whitepaper that Userfarm released earlier this year brings to attention the impact of adopting a vertical strategy. As I said before, it’s something that I hadn’t necessarily thought about but it makes total sense – in the past, I’ve probably spent more time thinking about the content but it’s key to add in user experience here.
If you’re still not convinced…
- Over 50% of Youtube views are already mobile.
- Vertical fills the screen and allows interactivity
- Facebook has 1.75 billion mobile users seeing content vertically
- 75% of the time vertical video is sound on as opposed to 15% of standard video content
- According to Facebook’s own research, vertical video increases brand lift and is 5x more likely than traditional video to be watched with the sound on.
There are already a lot of well-known platforms supporting vertical video, so have a think about how you can start being creative in the way that you shoot your content. And remember to plan mobile/vertical first!
Long-form content is back (or perhaps it never left)
As we spend more and more time on social media platforms consuming content there has been a move towards creating short-form content, sometimes as short as 5 – 10 seconds. Attention spans are at their lowest and it’s increasingly harder to engage an audience for a prolonged period of time.
But what about those who are looking for answers to more complex questions or want to delve into a topic in more detail? I sometimes think that long-form video has been forgotten about by brands but this shouldn’t be the case – for the right audience, there is still a need for both short and long-form video content.
There is a lot of research that suggests business leaders still consume long-form content such as videos and webcasts to understand topics in greater detail. Depending on the message you’re trying to convey, and the audience, you might find that producing a piece of long-form video works and there are some really interesting ways to do this. You could think documentary style (a rising trend) or team up with someone to co-create a piece of content as a start. The key thing is to figure out the purpose of the piece of content and then you can figure out the best format, length and treatment.
So just to clarify I’m not saying develop a 20-minute talking heads video but have a think about how to tell your story in a compelling way, which might be through long-form video.
Authenticity in branded film content
Authenticity isn’t a new concept however sometimes when people are creating content this can be forgotten. Audiences are smart; they can see through brands and are less trusting now than they have ever been, therefore it is even more important to bring truth and authenticity to the stories that you’re telling.
Words of wisdom from the experts:
- Tell a true story
- Use real people
- Don’t trick your reader/viewer, be transparent
- Align your film with the brands’ core values.
It may sound simple but when I look at some adverts or branded film content online you can see where they’ve perhaps missed the mark. You want to connect to the audience and give them something worth watching, so stay true to the brand and this will show.
In conclusion, the video marketing landscape is changing and brands need to really think about why and how they are creating content to develop something meaningful and effective. Especially in B2B marketing, let’s make it more interesting and unexpected for the audience, that’s the only way we’re going to stick. I think I can say that because I work in B2B.
For more info on The Brand Film Festival, click here.
Also, awesome venue if you’re looking to host a large event that’s a bit different – Hawker House.