By Evelyn Timson
In 2017, internet advertising spend surpassed that of TV for the first time and, as digital video continues to experience exponential growth, so 2018 is primed to be another defining year for digital video.
In this thrilling and consistently evolving space, what trends are making waves and what waves have failed to make an impact?
Increasingly consumers, particularly millennials and generation Z, are actively choosing to support brands who partner with charitable organisations or are outwardly engaging with pressing social, cultural, economic or political issues. In fact, the trends is that the more a brand can take a moral stand that chimes with that of its core market, the more loyalty it will inspire. This trend has been around for a while but in these increasingly uncertain and polarising times, it seems to be more pronounced than ever.
From a brand perspective, this is undoubtedly a fine line to tread. If cause-driven content doesn’t feel authentic, there will be negative repercussions, so there’s no room for jumping on bandwagons in the hopes of acquiring a loyal audience. Cause-driven content must stem from genuine social or moral compassion and evoke genuine emotions in the viewer. Although undoubtedly a complex marketing niche, brands shouldn’t shy away from important topics.
As Susan Wojcicki explains, campaigns like #LikeAGirl from Always and #BetterForIt from Nike demonstrate that marketing shouldn’t just be about generating impressions, but making an impression. The stats show that this can be a valuable marketing move, as women in the 18-34 age bracket are twice as likely to value a brand more highly after watching an empowering advertisement. They’re also 80% more likely to like, comment, subscribe, and share too.
Video content across Facebook easily clocks in more than 8 billion daily views. As Facebook’s own research finds, 80% of users react negatively when sound from video content starts playing unexpectedly. Sound is therefore handled by Facebook on a strictly opt-in basis. It should, therefore, come as no surprise that almost 9 in every 10 videos watched on Facebook are consumed without sound.
One of the most efficient ways for videos to communicate messages silently is through captions. Facebook was quick to realise the benefits of captioning and rapidly pushed out automatic captioning capabilities.
As well as boosting watchability, there are crucial marketing and SEO benefits to transcribed video content. Content that is easy for search engines to understand and categorise ranks better for relevant search terms. As results page competition is only set to get fiercer, it figures that more brands are recognising the benefits of creating video that can be appreciated with and without sound.
Regardless of whether you approach the medium with enthusiasm or cynicism, it’s clear that virtual reality has yet to reach its true potential. With an array of theoretically game-changing capabilities, particularly in the retail, real estate, and leisure and tourism industries, VR forerunners are simply not going to let these opportunities pass by.
Although 2018 is unlikely to be the year that new VR ground is finally broken, we should begin to get a clearer picture of how brands might soon be able to leverage this fledgeling virtual video tech space to make some seriously innovative marketing waves.
While the slower adoption of VR might be in part attributed to the headsets needed to consume it, 360-degree video doesn’t have any of those issues. Although 360 video might generate fewer overall views than standard video content, engagement and CTR is often markedly higher.
Businesses in the real estate and retail sectors are turning to 360 capabilities because it provides consumers with new and innovative ways to browse products and experience physical stores. While audiences aren’t necessarily always in the mood to watch a 360 video, its motivating capabilities and interactive qualities should never be overlooked.
The popularity of live streaming has been on the rise for several years and 2018 is primed to be the year that this inherently authentic and accessible medium unequivocally comes into its own.
It is heartening to see that the appeal of live content hasn’t been consumed by the growth of on-demand content. The range of new live broadcasts like the BBC’s Stargazing Live, Glastonbury coverage and increasing hours of live sports, alongside the expansion of streaming platforms like Twitch, demonstrate that live streaming’s appeal goes from strength to strength. It also shows that the medium is increasingly relevant in an on-demand world, competing with giants like Netflix and Amazon Prime.
Authenticity isn’t typically a word that’s used to describe marketing campaigns, but live streaming has a unique ability to humanise brands and help them to forge meaningful connections with consumers. Live streaming is also distinctively egalitarian and has somewhat levelled the playing field and allowed even the smallest businesses to create engaging content using just a smartphone and a Facebook account.
Live streaming in 2018 will become a wholly more interactive affair, and there are all sorts of opportunities available here for creative and innovative brands keen to pursue consumer-influenced content to stand out from the crowd for all the right reasons.
About the Author: Evelyn Timson is Managing Director at UK based video content agency Aspect Film and Video and has worked with well known national and international brands like Coca-Cola, Samsung, Microsoft, the British Library and the National Trust. You can connect with Aspect via Facebook or Twitter. To see a selection of their award-winning work check out their YouTube Channel.