Another year is done and dusted! And we are back here again drafting our marketing plans. But! This year is different! This is the year videos can make or break your business!
With every major social platform like Facebook, Instagram, and Quora doubling down on videos, it is important for you to stay ahead of the video marketing game.
In case you haven’t noticed, 2017 was the year when digital ad spending finally beat TV to take the lead. The gap between the both increased further in 2018 and 2019 is going to be the year when every major brand will invest a majority of their ad dollars on the digital arena!
So what does this mean for small and medium scale businesses?
For one thing, promoted ads are going to get a lot costlier due to the spike in demand. The other is that their decision on where they spend their video marketing dollars will have a major impact on their revenue.
As people working with thousands of video creators day in and day out, it has also been our duty to closely monitor what’s been working well in the digital space.
Here are 10 Video marketing trends you should look out for in 2019!
1. Watch out for the “Facebook watch”
Last year this time, Facebook started testing what was then hyped to be the YouTube killer.
In Aug 2018, Facebook rolled this out to all of its mainstream users around the world.
So what does this mean for businesses?
Similar to every major update that has been thrown at us before, like the Facebook Live feature or the Facebook stories the organic reach for those who jump aboard the Facebook watch ship will skyrocket.
According to Facebook, more than 400 million people monthly and 75 million people daily see videos on Facebook watch for at least a minute. So, creating video content for Facebook watch might benefit you tremendously.
To give you some perspective, it’s like joining YouTube as a creator during its first year. There is no better time than now to climb the bandwagon.
Another way for businesses to take advantage of Facebook watch is to look out for collaboration and sponsorship opportunities.
There is one important thing to note before you jump headfirst into content creation.
While Facebook watch was originally created to serve users from all age groups. Facebook’s own cousin, Instagram has started taking away all its younger audience!
Hence Facebook is now pivoting its plan to target users who are post-college millennials with its investments in creating exclusive online shows and news programs.
So make sure your content or the content you sponsor resonates with the 30+ year olds.
2. The “Facebook watch party” will add life back to Facebook
During the initial years of Facebook, it acted as a platform where people hung around and had loads of fun together. Over time that has changed. Today it’s more of a place where people come to consume memes and snackable video content.
Yes, Facebook did introduce features like Facebook Live and Stories in the last couple of years but none of them really brought back the feeling of community that existed during the initial days of the platform. Facebook’s newest feature “Watch Party” is one of the promising original updates the platform has seen in a long time and is an absolute breath of fresh year!
While Watch party was initially available to be used only inside groups, Facebook announced on Nov 27, 2018 that it is officially expanding it to all the profiles and pages on the platform.
The Watch party feature seems to be already making a big impact as it saw 12 Million watch parties being hosted in its groups alone. Only time will tell what kind of sky-high numbers we’ll see once its open to all profiles.
If you are a company that cares a lot about community building and engagement, the Facebook watch party is something you should definitely take advantage of.
3. Look beyond the horizontal (I mean the videos)
We have come a long way since the creation of the first electronic TV back in 1927. Information can now be accessed and consumed from the palm of our hands.
While the adoption of the new devices has been fast, the adoption of mobile friendly video content needed a boost from the likes of Snapchat and Instagram who can be credited with the rise of Vertical videos and Square videos. While the effect of square content is well known through its usage on Instagram and Facebook, the Vertical video arena is still pretty much fresh and unexplored.
Go Vertical or Go Home!
People who argue against the vertical video claim that Horizontal videos are a natural fit as our eyes are aligned horizontally.
But one thing they fail to recognize is that today, Smartphones are the no 1 place users go on to consume any form of content.
Infact, Smartphone users hold their phones vertically 94% of the time. And a horizontal video makes the users flip their phones to view it properly which is completely against a person’s natural instinct!
This is a major reason why platforms like Snapchat were able to quickly gain clout when it launched earlier this decade. People were blown away by the more immersive form of content they were able to see naturally from the palm of their hands.
Infact, Snapchat even says that the vertical videos on their platform have 9x times more completion rate than horizontal videos! This is the major reason why Instagram launched IGTV. To give access to video content that is more immersive.
4. Stories are the new Newsfeed!
Remember the time when we eagerly logged on to Facebook to see what our friends were up to?
Well those days are gone! Apart from the occasional profile pic update from our friends, the Newsfeed has now become a place you go to check out memes and get bombarded with ads!
But there is good news. The personal connection the FB Newsfeed was able to offer is not completely dead! It has just moved to the stories section of most social media platforms.
Be it on Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram or even YouTube, it is the go-to place if you want to form a personal connection with your audience.
With unique features like Question Stickers, Location tags, Polls and Countdown, Instagram stories are turning out to be one of the most engaging forms of content that trigger action. This is a great way to organically create a loyal following!
As a feature that instinctively triggers action, it is also a great place to host ads that has a specific Call toAction (CTA).
5. Masthead Ad on YouTube will be a major competitor for TV Ads
While Facebook, Instagram, and even Snapchat are widely celebrated for their success over the years, YouTube’s success has been tremendously underplayed.
As of July 2018, over 1.9 billion users logged into YouTube each month and were watching over 180 million hours of video content from their TV screens every day. These numbers completely dwarf what has been done by every other platform.
While Facebook has just begun to shake off its image as a snackable video hosting site with the launch of “Facebook watch”, YouTube breezes through as users already see it as a long-form video hosting platform.
With these numbers and the ability to specifically target a certain demographic of users in mind, it makes sense for big brands to take a closer look at YouTube ads for their advertising campaigns.
And some brands seem to have already understood the advantages of moving their ad campaign to the online space.
6. The New YouTube Home feed can have a significant impact on your CTR
It is no secret that the last two years in YouTube’s journey have been about making the platform more user friendly as well as advertiser friendly.
While the latter move has received a lot of flak from the YouTube creators community, users have benefited a lot from the former (better In-App experience).
From the Introduction of YouTube Reels to the hover to preview option, YouTube has taken several leaps forward in providing its users with an awesome user experience.
While all of this is great experimentation, there are few being tested and a few that have been released that can have a significant impact on your video’s CTR.
- The auto thumbnail experiment
This one particularly ticked off a lot of YouTubers as thumbnails play a major part in deciding the CTR of any particular video. So instead of the thumbnails that you have set for your videos, YouTube’s algorithm will pick a frame from the video which it feels conveys the essence of what’s inside the video.
- The YouTube Homefeed update
In a more recent update, YouTube rolled out a feature called “Auto play on Home” which it tested one year ago with the YouTube premium subscribers.
So what does this mean for YouTube video creators?
Gone are the days when just the video’s Title and the Thumbnail decided whether a person will click on it or not. Today even the first few seconds of the video that gets auto-played when a person scrolls over it will make a huge impact on whether a user decides to click on a video.
So our advice for companies would be to stay wary of all the updates YouTube rolls out this year. With platforms like Facebook doing it all to steal a piece of the pie that YouTube completely owns now, it is likely that YouTube will keep testing and rolling out new features. Some will benefit us and some won’t. So try to stay ahead of the curve by closely looking for the changes.
7. Facebook is going to get creative with its ad placements
In a recent Facebook newsroom update (Dec 2018), apart from all the talk about their investments in Watch exclusive content, they also stressed heavily on their push to create more opportunities for their partners.
They want Facebook Watch to be a platform that incentivizes the creators for the work they put into making Facebook watch an essential part of their everyday life. The creator community is one place Facebook lacks when compared to YouTube but they want to change that in 2019.
Apart from rolling out Ad breaks to all eligible pages in 40 countries around the world, they are also experimenting with ad placements.
While In-stream ads do deliver on the visibility it promises, it can get a little too intrusive sometimes and end up spoiling the video viewing experience of the user. So exploring newer ad placement options will be something that Facebook will be testing widely as it plans to create more monetization opportunities for its creators.
Here’s a new ad placement location that Facebook is testing right now!
So watch out for new ways to promote your ad content on Facebook. We highly recommend each of the new options with a limited ad budget initially and make your decisions based on the results each option is able to deliver.
8. The growth in AR and VR will be user-driven
The success of any new technology doesn’t necessarily lie in the hands of the company that creates it. In fact, it’s the consumer that has the power to define how the future will look.
While Apple and Google expected gaming to be a major growth driver behind their AR and VR initiatives. It went in a direction that they did not anticipate.
People preferred exclusive VR headsets for VR gaming over the option of having a mobile phone tied to their heads. As for the AR games, it wasn’t just there yet and the world wasn’t ready for it.
But VR and AR has found great use in the field of Education, Shopping and even on Social media with their innovative stickers and animojis.
So watch out for the growth of these technologies in areas where adoption is faster and is also easily accessible.
The author is Srinivasa Raghavan, CEO & Founder, Animaker