The future of video is short
Back in 2011 we discussed how the use of online video was booming. Early adopters of the medium, particularly in ecommerce, were starting to reap the rewards of using it as part of their brand and content strategies.
The intervening years have done nothing to dent the power and reach of online video and the trends we noted at the time have continued apace. But a pesky little thing called social media has dramatically altered the face of digital content in recent years. Just when brands were getting their heads around using video to engage customers and increase conversions, along comes the concept of shareable, ‘social’ content. It’s no longer enough to put your heavily produced million pound TV advert onto YouTube and expect it to ‘go viral’ (unless you’re John Lewis of course), or add your corporate-comms produced 20-minute long history of the company video to Facebook, sit back and wait for the ‘likes’ to drip in.
Clever brands need to look at where their customers are playing and engage with them there, with the content they want to consume. Recent research from Forrester has found that “emerging short-form social video platforms, such as Instagram and Vine, have a combined global reach closing in on 200 million users and growing quickly,”, and “apps with short-form video functionality are one of the next places into which we can expect to see brands making forays.”
For brands still mired in traditional marketing techniques, short-form video has its pitfalls. Creating an account on either Instagram or Vine isn’t enough.
In the research referenced above, Forrester’s James McDavid gives some sage advice for those wishing to give short-form video a go:
- Keep content snappy and on brand
- Build a consumer path for continuous engagement
- Make use of the built-in social functionality to facilitate two-way communication
In other words, keep it simple and utilise the power of these emerging platforms rather than trying to reinvent the wheel or be overly clever. Brands need to think about what their customers want and need, not what they want to tell them. There’s so much choice out there people will soon abandon ship if they’re not being offered some value. And marketers must also remember these are social channels, which means they need to be sociable…
The idea of encapsulating brand messaging, business needs, customer needs and satisfying your CEO in 15 seconds of video may be terrifying for some. But pre-2006 who’d have thought some brands would be making great strides with brand engagement in less than 140 characters or less? Twitter is a fine example of using short form content for brand and customer engagement.
We’re likely to see some great content, and some poor content on channels like Instagram and Vine over the next few years as brands take their first tentative steps into the short-form world. It’s likely the more savvy marketers will look into how short-form videos can become more interactive and how brand communications can be augmented with user generated content to provide a completely immersive experience for the customer.
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 Delivering Brand Engagement With Short-Form Social Videos,Forrester Research, Inc., September 2013. By James McDavid, with Luca S Paderni and Emily Kwan.